Thursday, June 3, 2010

$2.7 Million Not Enough for Waterfront Maine

As part of the $2.7 million tax break the City is willing to give Waterfront Maine for its planned redevelopment of the Cumberland Storage building Councilor Anton is requiring that the building's zoning restrictions remain for as long as the tax break. A seemingly fair provision considering, the $2.7 MILLION break (about a 50% cut), and the fact that there will not likely be any substantial changes to the waterfront zoning. But when they heard about it later (they could not be bothered to actually attend the meeting that granted them the $2.7 MILLION break), they balked.

Not surprisingly, Councilor Leeman is backtracking, and will support Waterfront Maine's position.

Portland Press Herald:
At its meeting last month, the Community Development Committee voted unanimously to recommend the tax break for Waterfront Maine. But it added one condition -- that the ground floor and berthing area be reserved for commercial marine use for the 20-year term of the tax break.

Councilor John Anton, who proposed the condition, said the tax break is justified in part because the current zoning diminishes the site's revenue potential.

"I am confident supporting a subsidy to offset the burden of the restrictions," he said.

But when Waterfront Maine officials, who did not attend the meeting, heard about the condition, they told city officials that they would cancel the project unless the condition is removed.
Pierce Atwood, which has nothing to gain financially from future zoning changes, has not taken a position on the issue. However, the law firm has threatened to leave the city if the project doesn't move forward.