By Carol McCracken (Post # 812)
Last night the developers for The Forefront at Thompson’s Point hosted a neighborhood meeting at the Clarion Hotel, Congress Street. The meeting lasted just over an hour. Attending the meeting were about 30 interested parties, plus the developers and City Councilor Ed Suslovic, Councilor for District III.
Jon Jennings, president of the Maine Red Claws and one of the two principals at the meeting said that at the outset it was clear to the Claws that in time the team would outgrow the Expo. The team has sold out 48 straight games. A larger facility is needed. This new facility would increase the number of seats by 500. Jennings is a former assistant coach for the Boston Celtics during the Larry Bird era.
Phase l of the development includes a hotel, convention center, two office buildings, performance lab, a restaurant, and parking garage for 700 vehicles. Starwood Hotel is expected to buy the hotel and run it as “A Loft”, currently located in Lexington, MA. Jennings said they have received two letters of intent for office space. However, he could not reveal the sources of those letters yet. The development will have on site parking as well that brings the number of parking spaces up to a total 1,400.
Jennings empasized that this is a “transit oriented” development because of its proximity to Amtrak, Concord Trailways, the Jetport, Interstate 295 and water accessibility on the Fore River which this Libbytown property borders. Councilor Suslovic reminded the attendees that since the city council had just earmarked 25% of the tax revenue for public transportation in the city, that the currently unfunded, but Council approved, Congress Street Traffic Management Plan could be funded through this source. The developers are also progressing on their own traffic study and Councilor Suslovic called for another neighborhood meeting in mid-August to further discussion of the studies.
The neighborhood meeting is required by the City’s Planning Office as part of its application for the site plan. A planning board workshop will be held on Tuesday, June 28th at 3:30 pm at the city hall. Public comment will be taken at that workshop.
For more background information, please see previous post # 765, dated April 28th, 2011.