Portland officials announced Thursday afternoon that they’re poised to tap the payment processing firm WEX to develop a waterfront site in a deal expected to bring 450 jobs to the city.

WEX is one of Maine’s top employers, with about 800 of its workers based at the company’s facility in neighboring South Portland, where a spokeswoman said the organization would continue to maintain “a significant presence,” according to a previous MaineBiz report.

The City Council’s Economic Development Committee has reached a $3.3 million deal to sell a 48,000-square-foot section of a city-owned Thames Street lot along the eastern waterfront to a development team led by 0 Hancock Street, LLC, and WEX.

The committee will take public comment on the project at its Tuesday night meeting, and the larger City Council will consider the deal at its Aug. 21 meeting.

“We’re looking forward to hearing from the public regarding the committee’s selected development proposal and our purchase and sale agreement,” City Councilor David Brenerman, chairman of the committee, said in a statement. “This is truly an exciting opportunity to attract the world headquarters of a major Maine-based international business that will bring almost 500 new high-quality jobs to Portland’s eastern waterfront.”

The 0 Hancock Street-WEX proposal would include a four-story, 100,000-square-foot building with WEX occupying part of the first floor and all upper floors, with another 10,000 square feet of first-floor space set aside for retail storefronts. The project will also include the addition of between 450 and 550 new parking spaces within 750 feet of the development site to accommodate the anticipated additional parking needs in the area.

WEX is a payment processing firm which handles business for commercial and government vehicle fleets in the U.S., Canada and other countries around the world.

Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.