KITTERY, Maine – After years of legal battles with the former owner of 42 and 44 Old Post Road properties, the city is moving towards the selection of an outside company responsible for developing the spaces into an affordable housing project.
By a unanimous vote, city council agreed Monday evening that the city begin a request for proposals process for those interested in developing affordable housing on the site.
City manager Kendra Amaral said a small working group would be formed to review proposals as they are submitted, taking a member of the city’s housing committee and the committee of economic development to choose the best option with the help of city staff.
The proposal retained by the working group would then be submitted again to the municipal council for approval.
Kittery Planning and Development Director Adam Causey wrote in a public report that the site could accommodate between four and eight collective housing units, depending on how the city updates its Business-Local zoning district. .
“The property is in need of redevelopment in a way that adds value to the surrounding neighborhood,” he wrote.
Stressing that the need for affordable housing on the site is “paramount”, the city’s draft RFP indicates that the city is open to mixed-use development that could contain commercial uses such as offices, retail stores. retail and services.
Previously owned by bus depot owner James Dineen, 42 and 44 Old Post Road, which is near Legion Pond, was obtained by the city by tax seizure last fall.
Environmental site assessments were conducted by the city with funding from the Brownfields Redevelopment Program from the Southern Maine Planning & Development Commission. Amaral said certain “hazardous materials,” such as asbestos in the adhesive flooring and window glazing, and fuel oil from the old buses at the property and garage that seeped into the ground, were located on the site in these reviews.
“So there are a few things that are problematic with this site, but we think it still has a lot of potential for an affordable housing project,” she said.
Built in 1940, when last appraised, 42 Old Post Road was valued at $ 157,300, and 44 Post Road, built in 1920, was valued at $ 272,500. The properties were once home to the Mary’s Store and the Bus Depot, and before the Mary’s Store it was the long-standing Thomson Brothers store.
The “protracted, multi-year legal battle” between the city and Dineen, Amaral said, centered on the removal of abandoned buses and unregistered vehicles, as well as general maintenance and cleanliness of the property.
Whichever company is selected to purchase the property and lead the redevelopment efforts, they would also be responsible for approving land use and permits, in addition to environmental remediation, community engagement. , project design, financing, construction and leasing of units.
According to the draft RFP, “Respondents will be assessed based on their experience in developing affordable housing units, multi-unit housing (with or without mixed-use components), obtaining rights and funding, environmental assessment and remediation experience, the ability to provide a completion guarantee and achieve design excellence.