Higher Maximum Building Height for 100 Fore Street Ok’d by City Council


Jonathan Cohen, d/b/a 100 Fore Street, LLC., in an Effusive Moment Following Tonight’s City Council Meeting.

Linda Aldrich, Named Sixth Portland Poet Laureate Reads her Poem, Bells, Bells at Meeting Tonight.

Councilor Belinda Ray in Whose District 100 Fore Street is Located.

This evening the Portland City Council voted unanimously to increase the maximum permitted building height at 100 Fore Street – from 44 feet up to 55 feet.  This zoning change will permit Jonathan Cohen, building owner the latitude to build a 600 space parking garage with office and retail space.

However, it was pointed out that the garage could have been built without this zone change.

For years, the building has been occupied by Hamilton Marine, Xpress Copy and several smaller companies.  The only company left in the building is Hamilton Marine, although it is currently preparing to move to its new location.

Councilor Belinda Ray, in whose district the waterfront garage will be located, said she was supporting the zoning change:  “By increasing the height here, we’ll get a better mixed project.”

Opponents to the zoning change spoke up on the subject: “The city is over accommodating to developers.  No one ever wants to stand-up and say no.  The city is a home to developers,” Jeremy Doxsee told the council.

In the past, Cohen has told a city committee that he would be likely to provide Peaks Island residents a special deal at the parking garage.  As he has at past meetings, Mayor Ethan Strimling asked Jonathan Cohen if he would make the building LEED certified.  Skirting the issue, Cohen said he would meet city standards which do not require it to be LEED certified – an energy saving program. (At that same meeting city manager Jon Jennings said that the LEED certification was a waste of money.)  When asked if he would provide recharging stations for electric vehicles, Cohen got annoyed.  “We are just trying to get approval for the zoning,” he said, impatiently.

Meanwhile, Hamilton Marine has signed a lease for its new rental property at 193 Presumpscot Street.  The signing of the lease was prolonged until the exact numerical address was agreed upon.   Extensive restoration work needs to be done on that property before Hamilton Marine, a Maine-based marine discount chain, can relocate there.  Currently, Hamilton Marine plans on reopening at that site in January 2019.

In an effusive moment following the meeting, Cohen said that following his obtaining permits, Cianbro Brothers will begin the process of demolishing a portion of the building at 100 Fore Street, excluding Hamilton Marine.  “We want to give people an opportunity for jobs here,” he also said.  Obviously relieved the meeting was over, he permitted a the above photo to be taken of himself, whereas he has previously been camera shy.

Councilor Spencer Thibodeau recused himself from the vote.

Please read previous post herein dated July 6, 2018 for background information.

NOTE:  This blogger has attended several Falmouth Town Council meetings in connection with the Cohen/Soley effort to further develop the Falmouth Center there.  Those meetings are so much more pleasant to attend because of the lack of grandstanding and self-puffery used by those members.  It would be a great U-turn if more members of the Portland City Council would follow Falmouth’s example!