More details are emerging about the plans to build 804 new housing units within Portland’s Bayside neighborhood, the first major development proposal to materialize since city voters approved new green building and affordability standards nearly three years ago.
The plans call for the construction of 603 market-rate and 201 affordable units within seven new buildings.
At the first workshop about the project before the Portland Planning Board, resident Heidi Souerwine said the project could be the most significant development she’ll see in the city during her lifetime.
“I’m thrilled to see 25 percent allocated for affordable housing,” she told the Planning Board. “I am, however, shocked to see all of it being consolidated into one building. For me it feels like it flies in the face of how the city currently does business in service to all populations. And it feels like repeated red-lining that this neighborhood has been experiencing for generations.”
The developers, Port Property Management and West Bayside Partners LLC, also envision more than 28,000 square feet of new commercial space for restaurants and storefronts, as well as a public green space.
A few Portland residents expressed concern about whether the neighborhood will have enough amenities and green space to support 800 new families. And Charles Mugabe said he hopes the developers will work with the nearby Oxford Street shelters to mitigate the construction impacts on the unhoused population.
“Just so folks can perhaps wear a mask during the daytime or being at a certain safe space or at a safe distance just to avoid health implications of construction during this time,” he said. “But besides that this is an absolutely wonderful project. We do need more affordable housing.”
The developers said the project would be built in five phases. If the master development plan wins Planning Board approval, each new building would be subject to its own site plan review.
Planning Board members said they will host several additional workshops about the proposed Bayside redevelopment project.
This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.