WATERVILLE — The city is putting the word out to developers that it wants to partner on a mixed-use building at Head of Falls on the west bank of the Kennebec River.

A news release the city issued Thursday calls the announcement a “request for qualifications for the Riverfront Gateway Project” on 1.5 acres of city-owned property downtown.

“This is a unique opportunity to enhance the look of the city’s downtown riverfront through the construction of a mixed-use development project,” the release says. “Due to the site’s strong central geography and proximity to the city’s high population core downtown district, this project will serve as a ‘gateway’ initiative and support an associated network of adjacent downtown developments and community assets. It is the intent of this project to symbolize the economic, cultural, and historic nature of both Head of Falls and Waterville’s downtown.”

The area targeted for development is between the paved parking lot and the RiverWalk at Head of Falls.

The $1.5 million RiverWalk was built last year and features a lighted, 900-foot boardwalk along the river; a gazebo; an amphitheater; a large interactive children’s play area; art installations; and landscaping, including trees and flowers.

The city owns more than 20 acres of primarily undeveloped land with about 4,600 feet of frontage along the river. The 1.5 acres on which a mixed-use development would occur is on the southern part of the property and features public infrastructure.

“Historically, Head of Falls has been the focus of several planning studies, including the recent downtown and waterfront revitalization initiative in conjunction with the City and Colby College,” the release says. “This initiative will result in over 100 million dollars in investments, including six downtown development sites purchased by the college. The centerpiece of this investment is The Bill & Joan Alfond Main Street Commons — a $25.5 million facility civic-retail-mixed-use facility with approximately 200 students and faculty in downtown.”

Garvan Donegan, director of planning and economic development at the Central Maine Growth Council, is working with the city on the project.

As part of the city’s request, it is asking for qualifications and a narrative description of previous development experiences and concepts from qualified developers and/or development teams to develop a mixed-use project.

“This is an exciting opportunity for the City of Waterville to partner with a developer to create an impactful mixed-use concept for one of the most beautiful sites in the city,” City Manager Mike Roy said. “In order to continue to enhance the city’s economic base and target Waterville as a downtown destination, we’re pursuing this opportunity to anchor the Head of Falls area and continue the vibrant transformation of the downtown, with pedestrian-friendly access, shops, restaurants, offices, housing opportunities, and arts activities.”

Responses to the request for qualifications must be submitted to the city on or before 5 p.m. Feb. 28. The request and more information about the development is on the city’s website: http://www.waterville-me.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Head-of-Falls-RFQ-2018-1.pdf.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

 

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