By Carol McCracken (Post # 801)
Early this evening, the Community Development Committee met with the developers of The Forefront at Thompson’s Point – a $ 100 million proposed mixed use facility – as well as city officials and many supporters of the redevelopment from the community at large – to get their support for the proposed redevelopment.
On April 28, three principals in the development, Bill J. Ryan, Charles Thompson, and Jon Jennings, unveiled their plan for the development of roughly 25 acres from a blighted area into a “transit oriented development.” For more background on this, please see post # 765, April 28, herein.
Today the three principal developers came to the CDC looking for city support of redevelopment of this land which they received. The CDC passed two motions that would create a transit oriented TIF district zone and a credit enhancement agreement. Passage of these motions by the city council requires two readings. In order to meet this requirement, attorney for the developers, Joan Fortin, Bernstein Shur, said a meeting Monday, June 13th for the first reading. The matter will receive a second reading and public coment before the council on June 20th. Fortin said the developers needed approval for the TIF by the end of June to satisfy investors. This answer in response to several inquiries from Anton as to “why the rush?”
Following the meeting, Thompson said the decision of the council is needed by the end of June to give the investors a “level of certainity” and to keep their confidence that the city supports this project. “If the approval for a TIF is not given by June, deadlines will have to be rethought. During the meeting, Councilor John Anton asked if the additional 180,000 sq. ft. of office space in the two Class A office buildings would not undermine the city’s attempt to fill other vacant office space in the city which is high. Jennings responded that these buildings are so “unique” – that they will be built to order. The developers have already consulted with some businesses in Boston that could be interested in satellite offices in the redevelopment – the transit hub and possible expansion thereof being key in their interest.
The City’s economic development director, Greg Mitchell said this is a “unique” opportnity to bring new, out-of-state businesses into Portland.