PORTLAND, Maine — The developer behind a plan to build a 93 room boutique hotel and mixed used facility on Fisherman's Wharf has scrapped the hotel part from the plan. The decision, made clear in a letter sent to the city of Portland this week.
It was a plan that was met with resistance from members of the commercial fishing industry who say overcrowding along Commercial Street and the finger wharves is a daily challenge.
“After many discussions with the Bateman family, I’d like to thank them for taking this important step, as we did not think a hotel use on the waterfront side of Commercial Street was compatible with our working waterfront,” said City Manager Jon Jennings in a news release. “This change will go far in addressing one of the major concerns we heard from the fishermen of our working waterfront. I also want to thank City staff for the work they have done and continue to do to make the working waterfront viable for generations to come.”
"We are hopeful that our amendment request will help a successful path forward for all concerned parties," David Bateman wrote in his letter to the city.
This announcement, comes on the heels of the newly enacted working waterfront group, which just started holding regular meetings with the city.
When Batemen announced the plans last year, he said the 93 room hotel and mixed-use space would be an asset for the city.
After city councilors approved a 6-month moratorium on any new waterfront development, Bateman announced he would change his plans "considerably" to accommodate members of the commercial fishing industry who have voiced concerns about overcrowding on Commercial Street.
This week, he clarified that his project will pivot from the original plan.
A spokesperson for Bateman Partners LLC tells NEWSCENTER Maine that for them, it's time to regroup.
“It’s too early to say what a re-design will look like," said Mark Robinson, spokesperson for Bateman Partners, LLC. "They just spent several months designing new working waterfront features into their project, but events conspired to deny them the chance to present those ideas to anybody."
Meanwhile, as part of that new Working Waterfront Group, the city conducted its first property and building inventory of the waterfront in several years. It's supposed to be conducted every year.
In December they found since 2012 there was an 8% drop in area available to marine use.
The next Working Waterfront Group meeting is scheduled for Thursday January 17th.