By Carol McCracken (Post # 2,612)
Jedd Steinglass, of Woodard & Curran, told the Economic Development Committee this evening that any loss in height of a proposed 70 ft. cold storage warehouse on West Commercial Street, would prevent the project from going forward. Steinglass and two others appeared before the Committee at the invitation of the chairman, Councilor David Brennerman.
Steinglass, representing Americold, will give a presentation to the public on Thursday, November 3rd at Reiche School as required by the City of Portland. This meeting needs to be held before the proposal returns to the planning board again on November 27, for a public hearing and vote,
Steinglass appeared before the planning board on October 25 (see post herein, # 2,602) representing Americold and its request to waive the 45 ft. height limitation in favor of 70 ft. for the warehouse that will support the container shipping business of AIMSKIP. The board asked Steinglass to provide a “justification” for the required height before the November 27th meeting. Americold was one of two companies responding to the request for proposal issued by the Port Authority, according to John Henshaw, Executive Director.
The height is necessary because the warehouse and the parking around the base take up 90% of the space in the lot. That leaves no room for expansion in any other direction- but up, Steinglass said. There needs to be room for “15,864 pallet positions in order to generate the revenue necessary to build and operate the facility, he told the Committee. “There is no cushion here.” He also told Councilor Spencer Thibadeau, in whose District the proposed warehouse is located, that the 15,684 pallets are the maximum number of palletts needed here.” Chair Brennan asked if the “pallets preclude a peaked roof and require a flat roof.” The flat roof design is intended to maximize the volume inside the building. was the response. I
Underground parking was not discussed. That’s because there is concern over flooding since this space is at sea level according to a city official. Another source said that with the right engineering, flooding would not be an issue.
Councilor Thibodeau asked Steinglass several times if Americold would return to the city at a later date to expand its footprint. Steinglass assured Thibodeau several times the company would not do that. In other words, the 70 ft. warehouse met the commercial needs of Americold. The compamy will not come back petitioning the city to expand within this location, Steinglass assured the Committee and Councilor Thibodeau, particularly.
Americold has another cold storage facililty in Portland. It’s on Read Street and Michelle Brooks, is its General Manager. It services 60 local businesses and would not be affected by the construction of the West Commercial Street warehouse she said. AIMSKIP ships to the North Atlantic and is an Icelandic company. It intends to make the West Commercial Street building it’s flagship location in North America.
The proposal is expected to go the City Council for its first reading on December 19th.The second reading and approval is scheduled for either January 4th or the 18th of 2017. EIMSKIP was drawn to Portland because of its deep water port and an opportunity to be a big player in a small city,
FOR MORE BACKGROUND INFORMATION, please visit Post # 2,602, dated October 26, 2016 and is about the planning board meeting held on October 25, at city hall. The planning board asked for “justification” as to the need for a 70 ft. height rather than the 45 ft. height.