Tallest building in Maine could come to Portland

Tallest building in Maine proposed for Portland.


The city of Portland is waiting for further word from a developer who expressed interest in building Maine's tallest building to date.

Tim Soley owns Canal Plaza, which is off of Exchange Street in Portland's Old Port, near the beer garden Novare Res. The city's urban and planning development director, Jeff Levine, said Soley presented a rough draft of a plan for a building that would be 23 stories high, reaching more than 200 feet tall.

"It would be the tallest building in Maine, so obviously that would garner some attention," said Levine. 

Currently the majority of the space in Canal Plaza is a surface parking lot.

"Any site downtown that has a surface parking lot, we look at and say 'is that really going to be a surface parking lot forever?'" said Levine. 

Levine said Soley has not filed for any type of building permit yet.

Franklin Towers is currently Portland's tallest building at 16 stories tall, according to Levine. Levine said it was built before an ordinance in the city which now caps buildings at a maximum height of 125 feet. Levine said the city would need to propose zoning changes to possibly be approved by the city council before a building of this size could be approved.

"At some point you do say, 'if we're going to grow sustainably in Portland, do we have to go higher than the current downtown?' So I think it will be a good discussion," said Levine.

"They're a forward-looking group," Levine said about Soley. "We'd be interested in talking with them about it."

Some people worry that a building that tall would taint Portland's skyline and views of the water.

"I think a lot of people are averse to height because they've seen tall buildings that are ugly. It's one thing to have a signature skyline building. It's another thing to have a big cube on the horizon," said Levine.

We reached out to Soley multiple times, but never received a call back. Levine said the project is in the early stages, and that Soley has not approached the city with any firm plan.

Copyright 2016 WCSH


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