By Carol McCracken (Post # 1,494)
Rockbridge Capital and the City of Portland are close to a deal on the sale of the Congress Square Plaza according to a source close to the situation. While city officials had no official comment on the sale, the subject is on the agenda for the city’s Housing & Communty Development Committee meeting for Wednesday, August 14, Room 209. It will be discussed during an executive session that is not public. The City Council will get the final say on the matter.
In May a committee of the Portland City Council voted 3-1 to authorize Greg Mitchell, city’s economic director, to begin negotiations for the sale of Congress Square Plaza to Rockbridge Capital. Rockbridge Capital purchased the former Eastland Hotel in downtown Portland several years ago to convert it into a Westin Hotel. At first, it was to be converted into a ballroom, but more recently it was changed to an events center and would be composed of most of the Plaza that faces on Congress Street.
It has been a long and controversial process with the Friends of Congress Square Plaza, led by Frank Turek, opposed to the loss of the park in the downtown arts district. Opponents of the sale have been vocal and visible in their effort to save the Plaza for the neighborhood. City councilor Kevin Donoghue supports the opponents of the sale because he doesn’t see any enthusiasm for the Park that would remain after the sale.
Apparently to no avail.
The Committee will meet again on Wednesday, August 21, at 5:30 at city hall. A vote may be taken at that time.