The proposed 152-room hotel on Congress Street would be next to Portland City Hall. Rendering provided by Sebago Technics

The developers of a multifaceted project on Congress Street in Portland presented their plans to replace a run-down building with a 12-story upscale hotel at a neighborhood meeting that was attended by one member of the public on Thursday night.

The proposal includes the site of the former Portland Press Herald printing plant – and is thus being called “Herald Square” – and comprises three attached buildings, including a 156-room hotel, 297 condominiums, seven retail units totaling about 11,500 square feet, a 5,100-square-foot restaurant, recreation space and more than 330 parking spaces.

Thursday night’s neighborhood meeting to present the hotel aspect of the plan was held at the Press Hotel at Exchange and Congress streets directly across the street from 385 Congress St., the location of the printing plant. The Press Hotel is the former home of the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram newsroom and offices.

The 152-room hotel, which is the first phase of the project, will feature nine condominiums on its top two floors and will become an integral part of a master development plan encompassing the property between Myrtle and Pearl streets. The Portland Planning Board approved the master development plan at its meeting in August.

Tom Sepulveres, who owns two apartment buildings at 51 and 43 Myrtle Street, was the only member of the public to attend Thursday night’s neighborhood meeting.

Sepulveres said he liked the proposal. He said the hotel will improve the overall appearance of the shabby-looking printing plant, which is located next to Portland City Hall, Merrill Auditorium and across the street from Portland’s Central Fire station.

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Portland-based Fathom Companies, which will develop the hotel, is expected to present its initial site plan proposal to the planning board at a workshop on Oct. 25.

Marieke Thormann, vice president of development for Fathom said the hotel does not have a name or brand yet. She declined to specify how much the hotel would cost to build, but did say the company will attempt to open the hotel by the third or fourth quarter of 2023. Fathom Companies still operates the Press Hotel, but sold the property in December 2021, Thormann said.

Daniel Riley, vice president of Sebago Technics, which is managing the hotel project through the city review process, said the 135-foot tall hotel will provide about 70 below-ground valet parking spaces for guests. The development plan calls for not altering any of the existing metered parking spaces on Congress Street and will result in the addition of parking spaces to Pearl Street, he said.

A small public space will be created in front of the hotel’s entrance near Congress and Myrtle streets and the hotel could feature a coffee shop and restaurant. A landscaped “amenity deck,” including a public promenade and green space bisecting condo units and fitness and meeting areas, is part of the project.

Riley said planning board meeting on Oct. 25 represents the first step in the process toward getting site plan approval. At some point during the process, the planning board will likely hold a public hearing.

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