An application for construction of a 126 room hotel at 203 Fore Street is on the workshop agenda for the planning board on Tuesday, April 10. The application is the second item on the workshop agenda and it’s anticipated to start around 6:30 pm. Public comment will be taken.
City staff recommends that the planning board approve of the application as submitted. The proposed hotel is to be sited on the parking lot currently used by the Hampton Inn, located next door. The hotel is represented by Richard Mielbye, of Miels Development Group.
The proposed building will be four to six stories high with 126 rooms, a public rooftop bar, restaurant and coffee bar for guests only and other amenities for guests. A buried, 120 space valet parking structure. is proposed in the middle of the parcel. Two decks are planned as well. The property is not subject to historic review. The developer is requesting two waivers that the city staff recommends be granted to the developer.
Emails concerned about the development of the hotel have come from the 12 condominium units next door and have expressed concern about parking, traffic, maintaining green space, pedestrian amenities, noise from the public rooftop bar, and impacts of the construction on the neighborhood.
The entire site was once the location of Jordan Meats Co., a major employer in Portland. The company was shut down in 2005 and the property remained vacant for a few years while neighbors wondered about the property’s future. Eventually, plans to build a Westin Hotel and luxury condos were approved by the city but never went forward. The property was sold to Opechee Construction, NH., that built the nearby Hampton Inn on the location, In May of 2010 an accidental but massive fire destroyed much of what was left of the original Jordans. It took 100 firefighters from all over the Greater Portland area to battle the three (3) alarm fire. It was a windy day and the stench from the smoke from the fire drifted up to the top of Munjoy Hill attracting numerous residents to the location. The firefighters were commended for containing such a large fire in the midst of many other buildings on a very windy day.
In 2012, the president of Opechee Construction told this blogger that the company intended to built a mixed use development that would be completed in 2013, Phase 2 following the construction of the nearby Hampton Inn. Planning board members were aware that Phase 2 might never happen and expressed concern about that possibility. The proposed development was to have included 18 high end condo units, office and retail space as well. The development never happened as the planning board suspected.
The application has been on the workshop agenda on two previous occasions, but cancelled on both occasions.
For more background information, please see posts herein dated November 1, 2017, January 9, 2018, May 7, 2010, August 3, 2011 and April 2, 2012.