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November 27, 2017

Portland floats mixed-use plan to give Ocean Terminal new life

Photo / Peter Van Allen
Photo / Peter Van Allen
Portland officials will brief the city's Economic Development Committee on Tuesday about a proposal to redevelop the 1920s-era Portland Ocean Terminal on the Maine State Pier into a mixed-use space anchored by a public seafood market and business incubator.

Portland city officials will brief the city's Economic Development Committee on its plans to redevelop the 1920s-era Portland Ocean Terminal on the Maine State Pier into a mixed-use space anchored by a public seafood market and business incubator.

The plan, reported on by the Portland Press Herald, will be discussed at Tuesday's regularly monthly committee meeting, along with two unrelated public hearings.

Ready Seafood Co., a lobster wholesaler that leases 88,000 square feet in the building, would remain, Bill Needelman, the city's waterfront coordinator, told the Press Herald. He added that the city wants to "reinvent a building that's had its fair share of controversy," and to support what's already there as well as expand Portland's identity as "a marine city, a port city, a food city."

The city noted in its presentation for the meeting posted online that the Maine State Pier is a "regionally significant asset." But it also notes that the Maine State Pier is an "aging facility in need of continual investment," particularly in relation to the Portland Ocean Terminal, and that the city "needs to develop an appropriate mix of uses and revenue streams to ensure the pier's long-term viability."

Besides a public seafood market showcasing "world class seafood," the city envisions an 18,000-square-foot business incubator space for startups, satellite offices, small firms and nonprofits in the Ocean Terminal, which was built in 1922.

It remains to be seen whether the preference would be for marine-focused startups, or ones doing international trade, according to the documents.

The city's plan calls for offering up to 20 incubator spaces of 700 square feet each to entrepreneurs, who would also be able to make use of existing car sharing programs and public transportation right next to the building.

City officials and committee members are scheduled to discuss options for public input and stakeholder involvement in plans to boost utilization of the Portland Ocean Terminal.

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