The Portland City Council unanimously approved a lease agreement with the Maine Mariners that would allow the minor league hockey team to keep revenue generated at the city-owned parking garage during games.

The deal, which the city hopes will help Cumberland County keep an anchor tenant for the newly renovated Cross Insurance Arena, also includes four season tickets for the city.

Resident Steven Scharf called the lease rate and the parking arrangement a “sweetheart deal,” but City Councilor Justin Costa said it was a win-win for the city because it would help re-establish an anchor tenant at the civic center that was lost when the Portland Pirates left.

“There’s no downside risk to the city,” Costa said. “There’s a tremendous possibility the city could make out in the long term from this.”

The city had similar agreements with the Pirates, providing more than $45,000 a year to the minor league hockey franchise. Portland also received season tickets from that hockey franchise.

The Mariners, who are not yet affiliated with an NHL franchise, also will lease 2,145 square feet of city-owned office space at 94 Free St. for up to 15 years. The rent would begin at $4,830 a year and increase over time until 2030, when it reach $19,320.


A separate agreement would allow the team to keep all of the parking revenue generated at the city-owned parking garage on Spring Street during home games after security and city staff expenses are paid. That arrangement would last for seven years, and then the team’s share would be recalculated.

The cost of maintaining the garage’s infrastructure still falls on the city, which has allocated nearly $1.6 million through its Capital Improvement Plan since 2016 for structural repairs. Another $350,000 in repairs is being planned in the coming years.

In exchange for parking revenues, the city would receive four season tickets “for promotional use.”

The city has similar agreements with the Maine Red Claws, a minor league basketball team that plays at the Portland Expo, and the Portland Sea Dogs, a minor league baseball team that plays at Hadlock Field.

City officials said that the Sea Dogs received $36,000 and the Red Claws received $4,300 through their respective parking agreements last year.

Randy Billings can be reached at 791-6346 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: randybillings

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