Riverton Park, a low-rent public housing family community in Portland, is scheduled to undergo a $62 million renovation. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

Portland’s Riverton Park public housing complex is expected to undergo major renovations next year to build a new neighborhood center, add 40 housing units and upgrade existing townhouses following approval from the city’s planning board.

The renovations will be the first substantial work on Riverton Park, located at 2 Riverton Drive, since its inception in 1972.

The planning board conditionally approved the project 6-0 Tuesday. Board member Justin Barker, who works for the Portland Housing Authority, recused himself.

The conditions include submitting additional information to the Department of Public Works prior to receiving a building permit and conducting a traffic safety evaluation.

“This is needed and a move in the right direction,” board Chair Brandon Mazer said. “I think my only real criticism is I would love to have been able to see it support twice as many families. But otherwise, I think it’s great.”

Plans submitted to the board call for the demolition of four existing buildings containing 24 units, to be replaced with a new 59-unit building; a new neighborhood center that will include social services, offices and meeting space; and rehabilitation of 123 existing townhomes.


The number of units in the park will grow from 141 to 182 total, and the bedroom count will grow by 70 to about 550 bedrooms.

The Portland Housing Authority estimates the project will cost $62 million to $67 million and plans to finance it with low-income housing tax credits and mortgage debt from MaineHousing.

Brian Frost, executive director of the housing authority, said they’re hoping to start construction next spring.

“We’re thankful for the planning board’s approval,” Frost said. “They really acted on it quickly. We’re grateful for our design partners and professionals who assisted us in getting it through and for the city’s cooperation.”

Riverton Park was built during urban renewal as an isolated, cul‐de‐sac community on the outskirts of the city. It has traditionally served many low-income and immigrant families.

Residents currently must earn 50% or less of the area’s median income – $43,900 for a family of four – to qualify for housing.


After the renovations, 90% of the apartments will be affordable for households earning at or below 50% to 60% of the area’s median income. The other 10% of the apartments won’t be income-restricted.

Portland’s Riverton Park housing community is set to begin construction next spring on a $62 million renovation and expansion. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

A development officer for the Portland Housing Authority told the board at a workshop in March that the financing for the renovations is partly why they will offer some non-income-restricted apartments.

“At this property, one of the big drivers of that is we have residents that when we go to a tax credit project, some residents may make too much money to qualify, but we want to make sure those residents have options and can remain at Riverton Park,” Tyler Plante said. “By offering market rate we have options for those residents.”

“We also want to encourage people to live at Riverton Park, too, and by having a number of different apartment types … we can really serve the spectrum,” Plante said.

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