Port Properties has bought numerous properties in Portland’s Bayside neighborhood and has presented a plan to build more than 800 new housing units. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

A project proposed for Portland’s Bayside neighborhood could add over 800 units of much-needed housing over the next several years.

Property owners Port Property Management and West Bayside Partners LLC last week submitted materials to the city for a master development plan that calls for 804 new residential units, including efficiency, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments.

The project would span 13 parcels on seven city blocks and would include seven new buildings constructed over five phases, consisting mostly of residential space combined with a mix of retail and office space, according to the materials.

Planning is in the early stages, but John Laliberte, the lead developer for Port Property Management in southern Maine, said Monday that the firm is hoping to have more details filed with the city by the end of the month. The master development plan provides a basic outline of the proposal. A site plan review and other steps would follow before construction.

In general, Laliberte said the development would retain existing commercial space – which includes properties on Lancaster, Preble and Elm streets – while also converting surface-level parking lots to multifamily housing while using garages to meet parking demands.

Port Properties recently purchased 190 and 196 Lancaster St. in Portland. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

“We understand this will be a process of back-and-forth with stakeholders and staff,” Laliberte said. “We look forward to taking a lot of feedback and implementing what we can. The master plan developed today is obviously not how it will be developed over the next 10 years. It’s preliminary at this moment, but we will work towards a more finalized plan.”


The proposal comes amid a desperate need for more housing in Portland and around the state.

Jessica Grondin, a spokesperson for the city, said staff have not yet had a chance to review the details, but “it’s exciting to see more housing proposals because housing is a top goal of the City Council.”

The project would be among the largest the city has seen in terms of the number of units, though they would be spread out over multiple buildings and phases. Other large projects currently underway include 200 Federal St., where Redfern Properties is planning 263 apartments, and 52 Hanover St., another Port Property project that will include 171 apartments.

Laliberte said the proposal would set aside some of the units for affordable housing, as required in the city’s inclusionary zoning requirements, which stipulate that at least 25% of units in new developments of 10 units or more be dedicated as “workforce housing” that is affordable for households earning 80% or less of the area median income. Developers also have the option to pay in-lieu-of fees to the city’s Jill C. Duson Housing Trust Fund, which can be used to finance affordable housing projects.

“We’re certainly planning on building at least (25%) workforce or affordable housing,” Laliberte said.

Portland’s Bayside neighborhood, where Port Properties has bought numerous properties and plans to build more than 800 housing units between seven buildings. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

The plans come after Port Property Management in October purchased eight properties in the area for $25 million, some of which are included as locations that would be part of the new project proposal in the materials filed with the city. That purchase included 197 Oxford St., which the city leases as part of its homeless shelter.

The shelter property is not listed as part of the proposed project and a spokesperson for Port Property said it is too soon to say what future plans are for that building, which the city is expected to vacate this spring when it opens a new homeless services center on Riverside Street.

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