Parking Garage Financing Proposal

The City Council is considering a proposal from Biddeford Innovation, Inc. to build a 640-space parking garage and expand the RiverWalk and pedestrian connections. The purpose of the 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. A City Council Workshop on the proposal was held on Tuesday, September 10 at 6:00 p.m. in the Little Theater at Biddeford High School. The Council is expected to vote on the proposal at their September 17 meeting.

040419 Latest Garage Rendering

If the proposal is approved, Biddeford Innovation, Inc. 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. Under the proposal, Biddeford Innovation, Inc. would 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.

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).

Downtown Growth Projections (10 Years)
Project Benefits from a Taxpayer Perspective

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

Riverdam Mill

The Biddeford City Council has approved a proposal for an ADA Access and Easement Agreement and Credit Enhancement with Riverdam, LLC. The proposed mixed-use project includes 13,300 square feet of commercial space, as well as 70 units of housing. Ten percent of those housing units will be restricted for the next 20 years as affordable housing. 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. A conceptual rendering of the proposed project is included below. For more information about this project, please click here.

040519 Riverdam_Concept

BE Fitler, LLC (3 Lincoln Street)

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 proposed 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.

Lincoln Mill

LHL will redevelop the former Lincoln Mill site into a boutique hotel with amenities and market rate rental apartments. The project will include at least 90 high-end market rate apartments, a boutique hotel with amenities, and commercial space designed for a restaurant and bar, fitness center, rooftop pool, office use, and other commercial uses. LHL is expected to invest over $40 million in order to complete the project as approved.

Conceptual Design for 3 Lincoln Site