Pierce Atwood Moves Closer to a Waterfront Address; City Okay’s TIFF

By Carol McCracken (Post # 493)

Pierce Atwood, the state’s largest law firm, moved closer to getting its way on its proposed move to the Cumberland Cold Storage Property, 285 Commercial Street last night. That was because the city council voted to approve a credit enhancement agreement (“TIFF”) last night that would provide for considerable tax relief over the next 20 years.

In addition, the council approved an amendment proposed by councilor Cheryl Leeman that lifted the “marine only” restriction from the agreement. However, a review of the current zoning ordinance for the waterfront is underway and Waterfront Maine, the owner of the Commercial Street property will have to follow those ordinances. David Marshall said that Pierce Atwood “will have to live within zoning ordinances that everyone else does.”

Taxes on the property are currently $17,000. Taxes would increase to almost $216,000. per year. Over the entire period of 20 years during which the TIFF would be in effect, the city would collect $2,800,000. in taxes. Councilor Leeman said there are four reasons to approve the TIFF: the economy, job retention, rennovation of the building and new taxes for the city. “This is about a building that has been vacant for years. It has been hard to find a tenant for this building.”

The question was: “If the TIFF is not given, will Pierce Atwood move to South Portland? The city council thinks it will.