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Updated: September 9, 2019

Biddeford mulls 640-space downtown parking garage, and a parking outsourcer

Courtesy / City of Biddeford A September rendering of the proposed parking garage in downtown Biddeford. The City Council could vote on greenlighting the structure as early as Sept. 17.

The city of Biddeford on Tuesday will consider plans for a 640-space, five-story downtown parking garage officials say could generate over $16 million in tax revenue in its first 10 years of operation.

The proposed parking structure, on a city-owned lot at 3 Lincoln St., will be workshopped tomorrow and could be approved by the Biddeford City Council as soon as Sept. 17, according to a news release last week.

A contractor team calling itself Biddeford Innovation Inc., with lead project developer Treadwell Franklin Infrastructure Capital, of New York, would be responsible for financing, planning and construction, as well as operation and maintenance of the garage. The group would also assume management of surface parking lots in the area.

In addition to the garage, expected to be complete in 2021, the project would also include improvements on the city’s RiverWalk and nearby pedestrian paths, connecting the garage to Mechanics Park.

“Additional development is important to our community because it makes buildings and properties more valuable. More valuable buildings generate more property taxes for the city, which helps stabilize the tax rate,” City Manager James Bennett said in the release.

The estimated $22.3 million construction cost would be paid for by the city’s tax increment financing revenues and income from the garage fees, which would be comparable to those of nearby surface lots, according to the city.

“The agreement is designed with these mechanisms in place so that residential property taxpayers will not be held responsible for the performance of the garage,” Bennett said.

Over the 25-year life of the agreement with Biddeford Innovation, the city would receive tax revenues of nearly $40 million, he added.

In addition, to Treadwell, the Biddeford Innovation team includes: James W. Sewall Co., a Maine engineering company with GIS, survey, civil engineering and traffic planning capabilities; Desman Design Management for market study/feasibility analysis; Amber Infrastructure Group as equity sponsor; and Gorham Savings Bank and KeyBank as project debt providers.

The council workshop is scheduled for Tuesday at 6 p.m., at Biddeford High School, 20 Maplewood Ave.

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