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Biddeford Mayor Alan Casavant, City officials, and project partners celebrated the opening of the City of Biddeford’s new parking garage located on Pearl Street on Tuesday, marking a milestone in the city’s ongoing downtown revitalization.
The parking garage will support parking needs for development of Biddeford’s Mill District, including the future mixed-use development set for the City-owned property on both sides of the garage 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.
“The opening of the garage is a developmental symbol for the rejuvenation of our downtown and the emergence of the Biddeford Renaissance,” Mayor Alan Casavant said. “It is a foundational piece in the ongoing financial, cultural, architectural, and community investments that have been strategically made in the past few years.”
The garage features a gateless parking experience provided by Premium Parking. Premium has also assumed operations of the City’s paid public parking lots, providing a consistent parking experience throughout the downtown.
“We’re excited to welcome parkers to Biddeford’s beautiful new flagship public parking garage,” said Heather Matthews, Premium Parking’s Maine Market President. “We’ve added our popular mobile payment channels including CameraPay®, TextPay®, and the Premium Parking App which make it even easier for residents and visitors to park and explore. Anyone can now pay for parking at upgraded payment machines on-site or with their smartphone using Apple Pay, Google Pay or any credit/debit card.”
The City’s Joint Development Agreement with its project partners, Amber Infrastructure and Treadwell Franklin Infrastructure Capital, allowed the construction of the garage to be completed by PC Construction 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.
“We view this project not just as a parking structure, but as part of the economic engine and development vision of the City, and TFIC is proud to be a part of this partnership with Biddeford,” said Stephen Rigal Jones, President/CEO of Treadwell Franklin Infrastructure.
The opening of the garage comes as new projects in the Downtown Mill District continue to reach milestones, bringing new residents and businesses into the area.
A new set of residents recently began moving into their new units in the Riverdam Mill, located at the end of Pearl Street. When all phases of its renovations are complete, the Riverdam Mill complex will consist of 4 commercial spaces and 71 apartment homes, with 7 units listed at workforce housing rates. Additionally, on August 1, the first group of residents of The Lincoln, located nearby on Lincoln Street, will be welcomed to their new units. Upon completion, The Lincoln will feature 148 luxury loft rentals, a 33-room boutique hotel, a restaurant, and a state of the art fitness facility. In addition, there will be a conference & events center as well as a rooftop pool & bar.
The City has also entered a Master Plan Agreement with BE Fitler, LLC for a mixed-use development on the City-owned property on both sides of the parking garage. The design for the site is anticipated to incorporate a mixture of residential, retail, office, hospitality, education and service uses with the parking structure, RiverWalk, and a riverside park to create an economically vibrant, urban-style mixed use destination.
A $1.2 million grant awarded by the U.S. Economic Development Administration in April is set to support further economic revitalization of the area and improve access to the parking garage. Funding will be used to assist with the construction of roadway, sidewalk, and utility improvements on Pearl Street.
“We live in an exciting time for our city, and there is so much more excitement to come,” Mayor Casavant said. “It feels so good to celebrate Biddeford!”