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August 28, 2014

State paid $7.2M for seized land, could face challenge

When the state seized 18 acres of Portland waterfront in April from owner Phineas Sprague Jr., it paid him $7.8 million, more than double what he paid for the land two years ago.

The Portland Press Herald revealed the state’s payout after receiving information from tax records and a right-to-know information request, shedding light on an important detail that may become the center of a multi-year legal battle between Sprague and the state.

The Maine Department of Transportation acquired the land by eminent domain earlier this year in order to help expand Portland’s International Marine Terminal in an $18 million project that is set to begin next month. The project will allow Iceland-based shipping line Eimskip USA to access a new “wheel yard” for loading and unloading of trucks and access to the Pan Am rail lines that will allow marine vessels to directly load shipping containers onto trains.

Sprague has previously said the state’s eminent domain process is not confrontational because he agrees the project is important to the port's economic viability, but he contests the value the state offered him for the land and is using the process to challenge the state's valuation for the contested property.

Sprague told the Press Herald this week that he is awaiting the results from an independent appraiser to determine whether or not he wants to challenge the state’s payout.

Read more

After dropping anchor in Portland, Iceland's Eimskip looks to hunker down, expand

Pan Am sells rail track needed for marine terminal expansion

Shaw Brothers lowest bidder for marine terminal expansion project

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