The first piece of a long-planned redevelopment of the former Portland Co. complex is under construction – a 150-slip luxury marina that could bring the world’s largest yachts to the city’s waterfront.

The discovery of old underground fuel tanks has delayed the installation of the marina’s new tanks and triggered tests for contaminated soil, but work continues on the water and Fore Points Marina is expected to open this spring on schedule, according to the developer. When it does, the marina will be able to host the largest private vessel – 590 feet – currently on the water. And guests will have a “resort-type” experience on the eastern waterfront.

The marina is the first piece in a 10-acre redevelopment of the former Portland Co. property. The plan calls for a mix of housing, office, retail and hotel rooms. Some of the buildings could approach nine or 10 stories.

“We’re going to have this whole other market of visitors coming from all over the world,” said Vanessa Pike, director of marina sales and marketing.

The marina will sit at the eastern end of the waterfront at the mouth of the Fore River. A series of floating breakwaters – heavy concrete pontoons known as wave attenuators – will protect the vessels from sea swells and wind-driven waves.

Plans for the 150-slip marina also call for a Captain’s Lounge and bistro with a full bar, among other things. “It will be a really vibrant and fun place. It will have a resort-type feel. We will have barbecues and other activities,” Pike said.

Pike declined to provide additional details. The marina’s website also lists a picnic and barbecue area. But Kevin Costello, one of the principals of the development team, said “upland amenities” are still in the planning stages, including a roughly 2,000-square-foot marina office.

“We’re looking at a number of retail concepts on the upland portion of the property. However, those are not directly affiliated with the marina development,” Costello said.

The marina is the first phase of an ambitious plan to redevelop a 10-acre parcel at 58 Fore St. into a mixed-use neighborhood.

The master plan for redevelopment calls for a mix of housing, office, retail, hotel rooms, structured parking and a marina. Some of the buildings could approach nine or 10 stories in height. Each phase of the plan requires city approval.

Forty-three percent of the site has been designated as a historic district, because of the parcel’s past as a former railroad foundry. And eight out of 16 buildings are due to be preserved.

One of those buildings is the Pattern Storage Building, which was built in 1895 and has “Portland Co.” written in black paint against a white backdrop. That building was originally going to be moved, but the developer, Portland Foreside Development Co., received approvals last week to disassemble and reconstruct that building elsewhere on the site.

The relocation of the historic building would clear the way for an office complex, according to plans filed with the city.

Pike said the marina is on schedule and expected to be finished by May 16. Cianbro has been on the water since November setting anchor blocks for the floating docks. As of late January, 55 of 90 anchor blocks had been set, she said.

According to the marina’s website, there will be 15 “super-yacht” berths and the maximum length is “unlimited.”

The installation of new fuel tanks associated with the marina has been delayed, however, after crews unearthed two old fuel tanks that were not registered with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

Last week, oil booms had been placed around a pile of dirt and what appeared to be two oil tanks, all of which were covered in plastic.

David Burns, director of the DEP’s Bureau of Remediation and Waste Management, said one tank was found around Jan. 10 and the other was found around the Jan. 18. He said the soil is being tested before the tanks and soil can be removed and disposed.

Once it’s opened, Fore Points will join two other marinas in Portland. It will be the city’s largest, although larger marinas exist just across the harbor in South Portland.

DiMillo’s has been on the Portland waterfront for 40 years. It has 130 slips, 1000 feet of tie-up space and can handle vessels up to 250 feet long. The marina can accommodate seven vessels over 100 feet, according to marina manager Amanda St. Peter.

St. Peter said DiMillo’s has had a waiting list for the last five years, especially for larger yachts visiting in July and August. She hopes that a new marina will encourage more vessels to come to Portland.

“While Portland used to be a quick stop for provisioning or airport access, it is now the destination,” St. Peter said. “Portland has become so popular in the past few years that the demand for slips often exceeds the supply during our short boating season. Having another marina in Portland will provide more comfort to those vessels that may have been hesitant to visit because they worried about not having a set schedule in advance and there not being space last minute.”

Maine Yacht Center, located at 100 Kensington St. behind the B&M baked beans factory, has 80 slips, 400 feet of tie-up spaces and can accommodate yachts up to 150 feet. It also has a 990-foot-long floating concrete wave attenuator to protect vessels from sea swells and wind-driven waves.

General Manager Brian Harris was surprised to hear about the size of the new marina, but said “competition is healthy.” He said Maine Yacht Center, which is a full-service boatyard offering storage and repairs, has been close to capacity in recent years and that slip demand is price-sensitive.

“The sky’s not the limit,” Harris said. “Just because someone has a 40-foot boat doesn’t mean they’ll pay any rate to get a slip somewhere.”

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

[email protected]

Twitter: randybillings

filed under:

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.