Developer to Create Major Parking Garge in Portland, Maine

$18 million parking garage, plus large office building and condos planned

Thirty acres of the Riverside site are the future home of Portland's Public Works Department, which occupies four crowded acres on Hanover and Parris streets in Bayside. The city eventually plans to sell the department's current location for private development.

New England Metal Recycling, a scrap yard at Somerset and Pearl streets, has agreed to buy 13 acres of the Riverside land for $1.3 million and is expected to move there as early as this fall.

In return, the city will use federal grants and loans to pay New England Metal $645,000 for its 1-acre Bayside property and $1 million for the move to Riverside, Urban said.

The city had planned to build the parking garage on the New England Metal site, but Atlantic wants to build the garage on the section of the former railroad land closer to Elm Street, Urban said. Atlantic would own and operate the garage, which would be open 24 hours daily for commercial and residential users.

Portland officials remain hopeful that the other Bayside scrap yard, E. Perry Iron & Metal, will move to Riverside, too. The city has offered the company as much as $1.8 million for its 2-acre property and relocation costs. So far, the company has refused.

''We still have room out there if they want to come,'' Cloutier said.

A 2000 report called the scrap yards ''the single most inhibiting factor to the successful redevelopment of Bayside.''

Despite their delayed departure, the neighborhood has attracted more than $100 million in commercial and residential projects in recent year. They include a $20 million Whole Foods Market complex that opened in February between Pearl Street and Franklin Arterial and the $27 million Pearl Place, a 115-unit, mixed-income apartment complex is under construction at Pearl and Oxford streets.

The $1.3 million that New England Metal will pay for Riverside land and the $1 million that Atlantic paid for the Intermed site on Marginal Way will help repay the city's $5 million loan, including interest, from The Trust for Public Land, Urban said.