A shot of City Hall in early March 2023. (Portland Phoenix/Colin Ellis)
A shot of City Hall in early March 2023. (Portland Phoenix/Colin Ellis)
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The Portland Planning Board was slated to hold a workshop Tuesday night on the first phase of a master development plan to facilitate an eight-story mixed-use development, with 201 housing units and retail on the ground floor.

The construction, known as 89 Elm LLC, would call for a new 162,000 square foot building in the area identified by the Bayside Master Development Plan. 89 Elm LLC is part of a larger development project by Tom Watson and Port Property Management.

The project will redevelop several parcels currently used as a parking lot into the building, and include three ground-level retail spaces along Lancaster and Oxford Streets. The development’s 201 units will qualify as affordable housing units, according to documents submitted by Watson’s company to the city, which would therefore exclude them from inclusionary zoning requirements. However, it will satisfy the city’s 25 percent inclusionary zoning requirement for the entirety of the massive project, as this is all part of a larger, 804-unit master development plan in Bayside, which Watson has presented as one development.  

Matt Grooms, a development review manager in the city’s Planning and Urban Development, said that Tuesday night’s meeting will likely focus on design standards for the development. He said this entire project “is entirely new” to the board, as they’d seen the larger master development in past workshops.

“I think there won’t need to be as much overview of the master development plan,” he said.

He said there have been other examples of developers taking advantage of “offsite” spaces to meet the inclusionary zoning requirements: Hobson’s Landing at 385 Commercial Street and the Motherhouse redevelopment at 605 Stevens Avenue.

As part of the total development Watson and his team are working toward, construction is already underway on a 171-unit apartment building nearby at 52 Hanover St., which is close to Wilson County Barbeque and The Yard, in buildings also owned by Watson.

Each phase of the master development plan for all 804-housing units will be submitted under separate site-plan reviews.

Tuesday’s meeting came after the Phoenix’s print deadline. The developers previously held a required neighborhood meeting on May 16.

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