A new $13 million Old Port hotel proposed for the corner of Union and Fore streets will go before city officials in the coming weeks as observers raise questions about how many hotels the city can support.
The Portland Press Herald reported Saturday that the proposed 124-room Canal Plaza Hotel project from Cow Plaza Hotel LLC, affiliated with East Brown Cow, would include one corner retail space, six floors of rooms and would use parking in the neighboring 409-space Fore Street parking garage.
The latest proposal is set against a backdrop of downtown hotel expansion over the past three years – around 300 rooms from the Hampton Inn and Residence Inn – and potential expansion in Portland's hotel market from two other new proposals.
Those two new proposals include a plan to convert the former Press Herald building at 390 Congress St. to a 100-room boutique hotel and restaurant and another that the Press Herald reported is rumored to be under way on York Street.
In addition, the owners of the Eastland Hotel are scheduled to make around $35 million in renovations to add 58 rooms to the 231-room building.
Barbara Whitten, president and CEO of the Greater Portland Convention and Visitors Bureau, told the Press Herald that she has concerns about the number of hotel proposals before the city given a current average occupancy rate of around 60%.
The city's top planning official, Alex Jaegerman, told the paper that the new Canal Plaza Hotel project would fit within the city's zoning rules, but will also be subject to review by the city's Historic Preservation Board as the land is within 100 feet of a historic district.
The plan is expected to be up for review by the Planning Board on Sept. 11 with a final vote likely sometime in October, according to the Press Herald.