At its meeting on April 5, 2022, the City Council held a public hearing to receive comments on the creation of a Municipal Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District, for the Upper Nasson Apartments project.
The property is being developed by GreenMars LLC of Portland. Nate Green and Chris Marshall, principals in the company, attended the meeting and gave a brief presentation on the project.
The project area totals 25.64 acres in Springvale between King St. and the Rail Trail, and includes three existing buildings that were built in the 1960s and used as dormitories for Nasson College until it closed in the 1980s. They have been vacant since then.
The buildings will be renovated into 83 one- and two-bedroom apartments. Mr. Green said much work has already been done, including architectural and engineering work and environmental impact studies. They are working with local contractors to get estimates. The project has full commitment from a local bank for the financing, and commitments from private investors are also being gathered. “We’re well on our way,” he said. He detailed the ways in which the project aligns with Sanford’s Comprehensive Plan.
The main entrance to the property will be from Summer St., and a secondary entrance will be constructed from King St. Public access through the property directly to the Rail Trail will also be provided.
Jim Nimon, Director of the Sanford Regional Economic Growth Council, also spoke in favor of creating the TIF district. He said he has met with the developers on several occasions and reviewed the plans. He said this project will restore an asset to the community and provide much-needed market rate housing.
Under the 20-year TIF agreement, the developer will be reimbursed 95% of the property taxes they pay on the increased valuation of the property, up to a payment cap of $1.268 million, to be used toward the extraordinary infrastructure costs associated with the project. These include purchasing land for the King St. access and constructing the 581’ access road, new water and sewer lines and associated paving, and a new sewer pump station.
The City must use the remaining 5%, and 100% once the cap is reached, for specific economic development purposes. This is expected to total $1.2 million over the 20-year term. The agreement calls for the City to use a third of that money for an economic development program which will include a revolving loan fund and marketing efforts to promote Sanford as a business location. Another third will be invested in broadband expansion projects, with the remaining third slated to be used to pay a portion of the debt service on construction of two new fire stations. Because part of the need for one of the new stations will be to serve this development, there is justification for this use under state law. City Manager Steve Buck said these proposed uses may be amended at a later date.
Another benefit of creating the TIF District is that it allows the City to shelter the increase in property valuation created by the project, which might otherwise reduce the amount of state aid the City receives.
The Council voted unanimously to approve the creation of the TIF District. Mayor Anne-Marie Mastraccio noted that this is just one step in the process. The Council will be asked to vote on a contract zone for the project at an upcoming meeting, to allow the development to proceed.
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