(Saco, Maine) Saco Island, LP announced today that a remarkable property with direct, deep water access to the Saco River will be developed as Class A commercial office space. (LEASING INQUIRIES: SacoIslandOffice@gmail.com.)
The company released conceptual drawings to illustrate the plan, a major departure from original development plans announced in the Fall of 2006. At that time, the new owners of Saco Island were hoping to build luxury townhouses and a 40-slip marina on the eastern tip of the island that is strategically located between downtown Biddeford and Saco, and just down the hill from Saco’s Amtrak station. The property has a breathtaking waterfront view that has been hidden from the general public for decades, due to a dense tangle of brambles and underbrush that, until recently, has completely obscured the shoreline.
According to Sam Zaitlin, Saco Island’s director of development, the world recession in 2008 that put most of those plans on hold may have been a blessing in disguise.
“Frankly, there’s been a huge market correction in the housing sector, and we are fortunate that took place before we got started,” Zaitlin said. “Also, there was no way in 2006 to forecast the demolition of the trash incinerator in downtown Biddeford, and the explosive commercial development boom now taking place as a result. Given all those factors, we think building Class A office space on this gem appears to be the highest and best use.”
Zaitlin said Saco Island has met with several prospective tenants, all of whom have been taken with the stunning riverfront view and deep water access that is available right at the water’s edge. The company feels the site would be perfect for a hospitality tenant, or perhaps professional offices. He said Saco Island has shared the conceptual plan with Saco city officials.
“They’ve waited patiently, obviously, but I think they’re pleased with the shift. There’s a lot of new housing being built at the top of York Hill, plus all the new housing on the Biddeford side of the river. New commercial development will have no impact at all on Saco schools, a very good thing, and it builds long-term taxable value for the city,” Zaitlin said.
Zaitlin said Saco Island, LLP intends to develop the property itself, and is hopeful that public access to the shoreline can be incorporated into final development plans (see VIDEO: https://youtu.be/gwAPG9zwoes).