By Carol McCracken (Post # 1,765)
Shucks Maine Lobster, LLC got a step closer to opening a lobster processing facility at the Maine State Pier Building on the Portland waterfront yesterday. That’s when Owen McCullough, of Sebago Technics, presented the city’s planning board with Shucks overall plan for expanding its business at the Maine State Pier Building.
Speculation recently raised by a front page article in “The Portland Press Herald” that the iconic whale mural on the side of the Maine State Pier building might become extinct during the renovation, bore no fruit and went from zero to zilch. On behalf of Shucks, McCullough said any cutting to the whale mural would be done beneath the whale itself. The end of the tail will be partially hidden by the installation of a 35 ft. or more nitrogen tank needed to flash freeze the lobster, however. The tail will experience no permanent damage. Planning board members were particularly pleased to hear of the businesses’ “sensitivity” to this mural painted by Wyland back in 1993 as part of a national painting frenzy he initiated.
All of the commercial activity by Shucks will be performed on the western side, or the ferry side, of the building, rather than on the eastern side of the building. According to Greg Mitchell, city’s Economic Development Director, this happened because of the strong resistance by the tug boats to any activity on that side of the building. However, that decision may have created other problems such as traffic circulation for Shucks. The mix of incoming and outgoing trucks servicing Shucks plus pedestrian traffic in that area creates a unique situation that needs to be addressed more fully planning board members emphasized.
In the past, concern has been raised about the “integrity” of the deck itself. When the possibility of constructing a hotel on the Maine State Pier was under consideration a few years ago, millions of dollars of repairs were called for to strengthen the deck for such heavy construction. However, Greg Mitchell, the city’s Director of Economic Development said that the city has been assured by experts that the integrity of the deck can withstand the new equipment that will be added to the deck of the building for Shucks. That includes the nitrogen tank and a loading dock.
Board member Jack Soley said that Shucks is a “dream tenant” and a perfect use for this property. Bill Hall echoed Soley’s sentiments saying it’s a great proposal, but there needs to be caution regarding the pedestrian traffic in this busy area. The pedestrian walkway has been eliminated due to the Shucks plans.
The applicant opted to schedule a public hearing before the planning board for May 13th in order to expedite the process.
Please visit www.shucksmaine.com for more information.