The eight-story hotel proposed for the waterfront as part of the Portland Foreside development drew some concern from planning board members at a workshop last week.
The development is proposed to include nearly 450 units of new housing. This development, at 58 Fore St., would also call for nearly 53,000 square feet of retail space and nearly 650 parking spaces.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen something quite this high,” said Brandon Mazer, the board’s chair, referring to developments on this side of town.
The proposal is part of the Portland Foreside development project, one of the largest private developments in state history. It would create a massive complex spanning three blocks on the city’s eastern waterfront.
Portland Foreside is a $1 billion development in Portland’s East End, which will create 160,000 square feet of new office space, 100,000 square feet of new ground-level retail space, a waterfront hotel and spa, residential units, more than a thousand parking spaces and a marina with capacity for 200 boat slips.
The master development plan for 58 Fore St. was approved in 2016, after Casey Prentice’s company’s purchase of the site from Phineas Sprague. It was finally approved in 2020, when its total cost was estimated at $250 million.
City staff informed the Board that while this will need to come back for a future workshop, the existing Master Development Plan is still intact. Mazer said the next meeting, which will not be until sometime in September, would need to have more discussion on traffic safety and corridors.
While it appears to be making its way through the Planning Board process, this proposal had been previously critiqued by members of the Board, who thought the developers went too fast, and made changes to the development despite neighborhood concerns.
In 2021, for example, a member of the board said the developers “blew past stop signs” while moving forward with the project.