Last month we wrote a blog post about the plentiful parking at Saco Island, featuring a video tour by marketing director Conor Beliveau. ("Biddeford should catch up with us on parking.") The lack of parking in downtown Biddeford threatens their continued mill development (and growth of the tax base), while here on Saco Island, no such obstacle exists.
Development cannot happen without parking. So it’s absolutely fascinating for us to see the self-defeating thinking that some in Biddeford are making public. In one letter to a local paper, “Garage would be useless in city’s downtown,” the writer claims that, “To build one now...would be like putting the cart before the horse. A garage now would be like building a bridge over a river to nowhere and it would never get used. Good way to waste money.”
Wow. We certainly appreciate that those who think like that will be re-directing prospects who need ample parking away from downtown Biddeford and right into the arms of our project here on Saco Island. We can absorb those referrals and will say, “Thank you very much.” Accommodating large tenants who need lots of parking is the specialty of our parent company, Dirigo Capital Advisors.
In the long-term however, Saco Island is much better served if the entire mill district --- downtown Biddeford and downtown Saco --- thrives. We are one economy. If we all do well together, we all do well. The local paper reports that Doug Sanford’s mill in Biddeford (and that’s just one mill redevelopment project in downtown Biddeford-Saco) has increased its taxable value from $600,000 to $6 million, a one thousand percent increase. It is astounding to us that some fail to see the long-term implications of that.
According to the Portland Press Herald, the Biddeford City Council takes up the question tonight. It will be interesting to see how this all turns out.