One could say that Ron Gan just took a mulligan.

The Portland developer took a swing at developing an old driving range at the city-owned Riverside Golf Course into live-work spaces and a brewery. But he whiffed, primarily because the land was not for sale. And he offered only $1 to buy the 3-acre tract.

But now Gan, of Innovative Green Living, has teed up a new location – a 2-acre site about a mile away, near a cluster of craft breweries that include Allagash, Foundation and Austin Street breweries.

Ron Gan

Gan said the new location, which he has under contract, has a direct connection to Portland Trails and a stairway that leads down to the Presumpscot River, making it a prime spot for creative types to unwind.

“It’s a better piece of land than the driving range,” Gan said. “I still love it there. But this site has a much better feel to it. I think it’s going to be pretty cool.”

Gan’s plans for 874 Riverside St., which were made public last week, would include four industrial-looking buildings near the Presumpscot River. Two pairs of two-story buildings would flank a shared plaza. One building is being proposed as a 5,000-square-foot brewery and another is proposed as five light-industrial workspaces. The other two buildings would allow people to live and work in the same location.

Gan said he already has one tenant for one of the 1,400 light industrial units, calling it the “next generation of shared kitchen space.”

“This is the next step for people who have outgrown the incubator level, but they’re not ready to make a large capital investment,” he said.

Gan said there is no tenant for the brewery yet. But inquiries have been made by an ice cream maker and an athletic training consultant, he said, adding that he’s looking for tenants in the food, beer, tech and design industries.

The plan also includes 10 live-work spaces, which would have ceilings ranging from 12 feet tall on the first floor to 9 feet tall on the second. Each unit would have a basements, first-floor workspace with large overhead doors and living space in the loft. The 2,400-square-foot units are projected to cost between $3,000 and $3,500, Gan said, though the price could change if construction costs escalate.

All of the units associated with the more than $3 million project would be for lease, he said.

For the proposal to move forward, Gan will need to convince city officials that the live-work spaces comply with the zoning, which is for moderate-impact industrial uses.

In a letter to city officials, Gan argues that the zoning already allows uses with residential components, such as emergency shelters, prisoner re-release programs and intermediate care facilities. And even though residential units are not allowed in the zone, they already exist there, he said.

Gan said the goal of the development – dubbed Riverside Innovation – is to allow creative people to live and work in a collaborative atmosphere. He hopes to have it ready for occupancy by June 2019.

“The ability to co-work and co-live in a different way is clearly the wave of the future,” he said. “That’s exactly what the new comprehensive plan says we should be doing in Portland.”

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

[email protected]

Twitter: randybillings

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