2016-10-14 / Front Page

Plan offered for Enterprise Drive plot

By Michael Kelley Staff Writer

A piece of property between Enterprise Drive and Haigis Parkway is a dense stand of trees now, but the property’s owner is hoping it will play a critical role in the further development, and completion, of the Enterprise Business Park next door.

The property has sat vacant since it was approved as the second phase of a commercial development project first OKd in the early 2000s, but representatives from Commercial Place LLC think they have a plan that will change this.

The first phase of the project was quick to develop, but once the recession hit, development tailed off.

“We hit a wall in 2009. We have hardly had any work done there since then,” said David Miley, of Commercial Place LLC.

Concern emerged, Miley said, about the business park “losing momentum.” He said after an analysis of the market by the Boulos Company, it was determined multifamily housing may be a better fit for the property. According to Miley, Boulos determined 5,000 multifamily housing units are needed in the greater Portland area.

Miley said the amount of units needed to make the project feasible is more than Commercial Place LLC can take on by itself, so it has secured Newman Development Group as a partner.

“Their work is first class. They will deliver a quality project,” Miley said.

On Monday, Miley and other representatives for the project, appeared before the planning board to unveil preliminary plans and undergo a site inventory analysis.

Senior Planner Jay Chace said the site inventory and analysis phase is the first step in the planned development process and is aimed at determining the natural and cultural characteristics of the site and the constraints and potential for development. The applicant, he noted, is working with Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and the Maine Historic Preservation to determine the important characteristics of the site.

Blaine Buck, of Cordjia Capital Projects, which is also helping with the project, said the look for the preliminary site plan has been reworked slightly from what was approved 13 years ago because of updated wetland delineations. The proposal calls for the construction of 330 residential units – either one bedroom or two bedroom – in 10 buildings with a clubhouse near Route 1. The roadways for the project, which will be done over phases, will remain how it was laid out in the original plan. Once the project is approved, Buck said he would like to break ground on the project in “second quarter” 2017. Buck said the hope is the residential project will spur interest in the last remaining undeveloped parts of Enterprise Business Park and the business park will attract residents to the housing next door.

Miley said adding multifamily housing to the site is an “excellent solution” given the demand for that type of housing in the area.

“We have worked really hard over the years to make this a quality project and want to continue that,” he told planning board members.

Miley said the original goal of the two-phased commercial project was to add $50 million to the tax rolls. That mark was never hit because the project was not fully developed. Miley expects the new project will add $60 million.

“We see this as a way to see that vision and put us back on track,” he said.

The planning board seemed favorable to the proposal and noted a series of things that will have to be addressed as it moves from site inventory to master plan to final approval.

Planning board alternate Robyn Saunders said she will be paying close attention to how the natural resources on the property will be handled, especially as it relates to stormwater management.

“A dense forest has a lot of absorption potential. When we take away those forests, there is going to be ponded areas of water and we need to look at that,” Saunders said.

Buck said the team is looking at new stormwater technologies for the project and not simply rely on what was permitted more than a dozen years ago when the project was approved.

Saunders said it is important to honor “the natural hydrology and natural resources” on site because of its proximity to Scarborough Marsh and the town center.

Planning board member Susan Auglis would like to see the previously approved right in/right out on Route 1 reexamined because the proposed use of the property has changed, but otherwise was optimistic about the proposal.

“I am excited about the concept, I really am. I am not worried about you as people. I am worried about the project because it is in such an important place in Scarborough. It was a good plan, but times change. If there is anything we need, it is multifamily housing in Scarborough. This is an opportunity to present that.”

Chairman Corey Fellows was also bullish on the project.

“In addition to kick starting and filling out the area of the project, any opportunity to bring that part of town, or the town in general, with this type of housing is great,” he said.

Fellows said some of the items that will have to be worked out in future board meetings will be traffic impact and traffic circulation into, out of and within the property. Chace said he encourages the team to look at how the project site and the Enterprise Business Park could be connected to the abutting properties on Haigis Parkway and Scarborough Downs Road.

Staff Writer Michael Kelley can be reached at news@scarboroughleader.com.

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