The City and its project partners broke ground on Biddeford's first parking garage on August 11, 2020.
The City of Biddeford, Treadwell Franklin Infrastructure Capital (‘TFIC’), Amber Infrastructure Group (‘Amber’) and PC Construction broke ground on a 640-space parking garage on the city-owned 3 Lincoln Street property on August 11, 2020.
The garage will support parking needs for development of Biddeford’s Mill District, including the future mixed-use development set for the 3 Lincoln Street site as well as the Lincoln Mill and Riverdam Mill redevelopment projects already underway. It will also relieve the existing parking pressures in Biddeford’s growing downtown.
“This parking garage is a critical piece in the redevelopment and reemergence of Biddeford as a desirable community,” Mayor Alan Casavant said during the ceremony. “It shatters the old stereotype of the city being nothing more than a dying mill town, it provides the needed parking spaces to be a catalyst for future development within the district, and it is a symbol of pride in who we are as a people.”
In September 2019, the Biddeford City Council directed the City Manager to enter into an agreement with TFIC to complete the City’s RiverWalk project and to develop and manage the City’s new parking garage and nearby surface parking lots. TFIC joined with Amber, a frequent collaborative partner, for execution of the development projects.
The City’s Progressive Development Agreement with its project partners allows the construction to be completed without the use of residential property tax dollars and with no impact on Biddeford’s tax rate. Instead, the City will contribute to the project through two sources: annual payments from the City’s Tax Increment Financing (TIF) revenues, which do not come from residential property taxpayers, and fee revenues collected from the operation of the parking garage and downtown surface lots.
“Amber is delighted to have been able to accelerate the delivery of the City of Biddeford’s critical infrastructure plans,” said Tom O’Shaughnessy, Head of Amber Infrastructure US. “We are pleased to be working with the City of Biddeford and helping to deliver key components of the City’s plan for the redevelopment of the Downtown Mill District.”
“TFIC is grateful to its partner, Amber, and likewise to Mayor Casavant, Biddeford’s City Council and Staff, for their foresight and dedication to these projects, especially in challenging times and economic uncertainties,” said Stephen Jones, President/CEO of TFIC. “We are proud to become a part of the Biddeford community and look forward to participating in reinvigorating the local economy.”
Latest Construction Progress Update (March 19, 2021)
PC Construction raised the final panel of the parking garage into place at a commemorative ceremony on March 19, 2021. Construction of the physical structure is now complete, with utility work and finish to follow. The garage is expected to be open to the public by July 2021.
At their September 17, 2019 meeting, the Biddeford City Council voted to authorize the City Manager to enter into a Joint Development Agreement (JDA) with Treadwell Franklin Infrastructure Capital and James W. Sewall Company (“Biddeford RiverWalk Community 1, LLC”) to build a downtown parking garage as well as complete the next phase of the City’s RiverWalk. The JDA will outline the project design, costs, cost sharing provisions, revenue projections, support payments, and specific protections for the City. The City Council reviewed the JDA on November 12. You can view the agenda packet for that meeting here and watch the meeting here.
The purpose of this project is to reduce the property tax burden for residents and provide parking for current and planned development in the downtown and Mill District. No property tax dollars will be used to pay for this project, and the tax rate will not increase due to this project.
Biddeford RiverWalk Community 1, LLC will design, build, and manage the parking garage. The City will contribute to the project through two sources. The first is through annual payments from the City’s TIF. Money in the TIF fund comes from sheltered property tax payments from businesses and developments in the Mill District – NOT from residential property taxpayers. The second source is revenues from the parking garage and parking lots. If parking revenues are less than expected, the City can make up the difference by collecting payments from surrounding properties in the Mill District, adjusting parking rates, or a combination of the two. If revenues are more than expected, the City will receive the benefit.
All on-street parking will remain FREE. During construction of the garage, rates for parking in surface lots will not increase. Once the garage is completed, rates for parking in the structure will be the same as surface lots. Biddeford RiverWalk Community 1, LLC will also assume management of surface lots in the downtown area.
A parking garage is important to our community to promote continued downtown and Mill District development. This matters to taxpayers because new development makes buildings and properties more valuable. More valuable buildings pay more property taxes to the City, which helps stabilize the property tax rate. The construction of the garage is expected to provide the City of Biddeford an additional $16,407,604 in property taxes in the first 10 years of operation and a benefit of $39,772,744 over the 25 year lifetime of the agreement.
- What are the highlights of the approved project?
- How does a parking garage help property taxpayers?
- How will the garage be paid for? Will residential property tax dollars be used?
- Will this agreement affect on-street parking?
- How much will the parking garage cost to build?
- How were the revenue projections calculated? What happens if the garage doesn't generate as much revenue as expected?
- What happens if the garage generates more revenue than projected?
- What will it be like to park in the garage?
- What happens to the surface lot parking permit program once construction of the garage is complete?
- Who will handle operations, maintenance and enforcement?
- Who will pay for management of the garage?
- How will the Riverwalk expand as part of the project? Why is it included in this project?
- What happens at the end of the agreement?
- Who is included in Biddeford RiverWalk Community 1, LLC's project team?
- Why was the 3 Lincoln Street site selected for this project?
- Has the downtown area lost any parking spaces due to recent construction projects or streetscape improvements?
- How will the traffic impacts of a parking garage in this location be addressed?
- Does the $15,000,000 listed for a parking garage in the TIF agreement determine the amount of money that can be used to fund payments for a parking garage?
- How did the closure of the Maine Energy Recovery Company impact the City's tax base?
- What has been the total tax commitment change since the closure of MERC?
- What does it mean when you say that there is nearly $40 million in new value that will be generated by the garage over time?
Parking Garage Finance Summary
The City prepared a project finance summary for the project. Parking Garage Finance Summary Through Year 10 lists the various line items associated with city contributions, property values, and tax revenue impacts with and without a garage. The impact a proposed garage will have on property values with a garage (row 16) and without a garage (row 17) is significant. At the end of ten years the difference in property value is anticipated to be upwards of $132 million dollars (row 18). The tax revenue generated over that same period is projected to be $16.4 million (row 23). It should also be noted that no property tax support is required (row 3).
Parking Demand Projections
According to DESMAN’s methodology for the parking study, the weekday demand for parking during peak periods is expected to exceed the capacity of the proposed 640-space garage. Upcoming developments in the area surrounding the parking garage are expected to need 893 total parking spaces during weekday peak demand periods – 60 spaces for customers and visitors, 695 shared spaces for employees and residents, and 138 reserved spaces for residents. DESMAN has concluded that if developments that have been announced move forward as anticipated, the proposed parking structure “will capture enough parking demand on typical weekdays to completely fill the facility, leaving no excess capacity to accommodate any future demand generated by surrounding land uses; in reality, some of the demand generated by the development will need to be accommodated off-site.”
On weekends, peak demand is projected to drop to 553 spaces – 82 for customers and visitors, 333 for employees and residents, and 138 reserved spaces for residents. (The decrease in demand on the weekend is due to the fact that a majority of office workers will not be on-site.) On the weekend, the projected peak demand for 610 spaces from the new development and the displaced existing demand can be accommodated by the proposed garage, while leaving a small number of spaces available to capture outside parking demand.
The table below shows the assumed users of the garage and the expected yearly revenues for the first 10 years that the garage will be in operation.
Upcoming Downtown Projects
The Biddeford City Council has approved a proposal for an ADA Access and Easement Agreement and Credit Enhancement with Draft Room, LLC to renovate the Riverdam Mill. Per the agreement, the City will receive permanent easements to the land between the Riverdam building and the river wall to expand the RiverWalk, as well as permanent ADA access for the RiverWalk via the building’s elevators. The RiverWalk project, which will open up public access to the river and provide necessary pedestrian connections through the downtown, is reliant on these easements in order to move forward.
Building permits for the first phase of the project were issued in January 2020. When all phases of renovations are complete, the Riverdam complex will consist of 4 commercial spaces and 71 apartment homes, with 7 units listed at workforce housing rates. Blaze Brewery, Blaze Restaurant and Stonefort Distillery occupy three of the four commercial spaces available at Riverdam. A conceptual rendering of the project is included below. For more information about this project, please click here or visit the Riverdam Mill website.
The City of Biddeford has entered into a Master Plan Agreement with BE Fitler, LLC for the development of the City-owned property at 3 Lincoln Street. The Master Plan Agreement establishes two development sites at 3 Lincoln Street on both sides of the space reserved for the proposed parking garage. The developers, Jim Brady and Brian Eng, will seek to incorporate a mixture of residential, retail, office, hospitality, education and service uses with the parking structure, RiverWalk, and riverside park to create an economically vibrant, urban-style mixed use destination. Known Biddeford entities have already expressed strong interest for a total of 80,000 square feet of commercial space in the first building. Additional details about the project are included in this press release.
LHL Holdings, LLC, a partnership between Eric Chinburg and Tim Harrington, is in the midst of a redevelopment project of the 165-year-old Lincoln Mill. Upon completion, The Lincoln will feature apartments with deluxe amenities, as well as a boutique hotel featuring a rooftop pool with a bar. The project will also include an 11,000 square-foot Quest Fitness gym, a 5,000 square-foot Batson River Social Club restaurant and 7,000 square feet of rentable commercial space. The project will bring 150 permanent jobs to the market and over 115 tradesman will work on the project throughout the construction period. LHL Holdings, LLC is expected to invest over $40 million in order to complete the project as approved. The City’s Code Enforcement Office issued building permits to LHL Holdings, LLC for the first phase of this project on January 13, 2020. See this press release for more information about the project and follow along with the progress on the building on The Lincoln's Facebook page.
- Watch the City Manager’s presentation on the proposal at the August 27 City Council Workshop.
- Original Proposal from TFIC Sewall (as of June 30, 2019)
- Biddeford RiverWalk Community 1, LLC Project Team
- Watch the September 10 City Council Workshop
- Review the City Manager's presentation from the September 10 City Council Workshop
- Watch the September 17 City Council Meeting
- Read the Order approved by the City Council on September 17
- September 18 Press Release announcing approval of project