There IS more news than the chaos that The Donald President and his mean-spirited policies are inflicting on our country and our allies – believe it!
Responding to complaints from Portland residents about the lack of transparency in selling city-owned property, the Economic Development Committee, hosted a highly publicized pubic hearing on Tuesday,January 31, 2017 to accept feedback on city-owned properties going on the market. The meeting was mentioned on the city’s website among other forms of notification.
City Economic Development Director, Greg Mitchell, described the properties under consideration for disposition at this time. The first property he described was that formerly housing the Department of Public Works in West Bayside. The city is close to signing a contract with CBRE/The Boulos Company to sell the property – for its “highest and best” use. According to Mitchell, it has been the city’s goal for decades to relocate the City DPW to Canco Road and sell the property.
The second property to be put for sale in the future is the Thames Street Surface Parking Lot. An RFP for a broker will be issued sometime in the future. The City is looking for private investment and to allocate some space for much-needed parking in the area.
Allaying concerns about development in the former Public Works Department buildings, several city officials said that the area was not large enough for a big box store to install itself there.
Close to thirty people from both the east end and the west end gave advice and implored the city to follow it. Ian Jacobs, asked that the city not sell the property for its highest and best use, but rather break up the property into smaller plots in order to create a neighborhood. In a memorandum to the Committee, Jacob said in part: “Keeping the parcels as currently proposed will result in larger scale projects not in keeping with the neighborhood vision and will undoubtedly face resistance by the neighborhood.” On the other hand, Jim Brady, managing partner of CPB2, the developer of the near to Thames Street property, asked that the city support a private-public partnership for the development of the property.
Mitchell did respond that the properties would be easier to sell for development if they were not broken up into smaller plots as several testifiers suggested.
Hill resident and community leader Jay Norris noted, reluctantly, that City Councilor Belinda Raw did not attend the public hearing. The properties under discussion are located in her district. City councilor Spencer Thibodeau rushed to her defense when he told Norris that Rae is not on the Economic Development Committee.
The City Council will have final say on the sale of these properties.
(note: mhn.com has misplaced her notes on the meeting since it occurred and so the above is incomplete – chalk it up to the chaos imposed by The Donald President. If the notes surface, more text will be added to the above post!)