Sussman’s Hampshire Street Development Takes Shape; Mayor Brennan Announces New Initiatives

Kevin Bunker, partner, in the five year old DevelopersCollaborative

Proposed 25 Unit Condominiums to Front on Franklin Street

By Carol McCracken (Post # 1,133)

“Condominiums are best to build here and that’s what we are proposing,” said Kevin Bunker, DevelopersCollaborative, said of the current plans to develop the properties owned by millionaire businessman S. Donald Sussman. (He’s also married to US Representative Chellie Pingree and a majority stockholder in The Portland Press Herald.) Bunker was talking to members of the India Street Neighborhood Association at its monthly meeting last night.

Bunker said he has been working closely with Tom Federle, Sussman’s representative in the proposed development. An application for rezoning will be submitted soon and following that there will need to be site plan approval by the city’s planning board. If all goes as anticipated, city council approval could come in August with construction starting in September. And completion of the development could come in the spring of 2013.

Because of the anticipated changes to come to the Franklin Street corridor through the work of Markos Miller and the Franklin Street Study Group, it was decided that the 25 condominium units would front on Franklin Street – not on Hampshire Street. So far, there is underground parking for 24 of the 25 units. Although the original idea, included art studios to be incorporated in the development, it does not appear that these 25 units will include them. Bunker has met with a few city councilor members, including Kevin Donoghue, and they support the project as proposed so far.

First on the agenda at the meeting, Mayor Michael Brennan outlined some of the work he has done and will be announced in the near future: The Mayor described the city’s restructuring its committees so there are now four members of each committee rather than three. Next Wednesday at a press conference, the city will announce two new programs that place emphasis on the business community and an effort to correct problems therein. United Way of Portland will be announcing a new program to help with social concerns in the City as well.

Hugh Nazor of the Association told the Mayor that this neighborhood has no comprehensive vision or plan for our future. Allison Brown, president, said: “We were totally ignored for a long time. And we didn’t like that.” Joe Malone, who was the organizer behind the Association and owns property in the area said: “We have different issues from Munjoy Hill. The city needs to pay attention to us. We are nothing like any other neighborhood. We need to get on the city’s radar.” The Association members were encouraged to develop their own comprehensive plan to submit to the city.

One woman told the Mayor she felt “uncomfortable” passing by Milestones on India Street. Mayor Brennan, LCSW, told her that in the future that facility could become more of an “out patient” treatment facility than it currently is.

Bill Needleman, city senior planner, said that his office is currently very busy. “We like it like that.”

For more background information on the Hampshire Street Development, please visit Post # 1,080, dated 2/8/12.