Editor's Note: This is the first in a series of blog entries by Sam Zaitlin, a former Saco mayor, well known business person, and now, Saco Island's "point man," leading us to the completion of redevelopment on Saco Island. Sam may be reached at 207-615-7491, or at THIS E-MAIL ADDRESS.
Major change, the sort that dramatically alters the economic, social and cultural landscape of a community happens infrequently, perhaps on the order of once every 50-75 years.
What's taking place now in Biddeford-Saco, with the redevelopment of historic mill buildings along with renewed downtown activity in both communities, is the logical culmination of events that had their origin as far back as the 1950s.
Today, hundreds of thousands of square feet of old mill buildings on both sides of the river have been renovated and updated to provide much needed housing, office space, lofts and retail space for dozens of new tenants and businesses, including restaurants. At Saco Island here on the Saco side of the river, more is on the way, and it's really quite exciting.
Let's start with the long-vacant structure at the top of York Hill known as Building 4. Sometime after Labor Day, Chinburg Properties from Newmarket, NH, will begin the process of turning that building into roughly 150 market-rate apartments with all the expected amenities plus 50,000 sf of commercial space.
Imagine the positive impact that will have on shops and restaurants in both communities, bringing hundreds of new customers to our downtown areas and businesses! At the same time, here at Saco Island, we're undertaking several new initiatives aimed at more fully developing our project.
Take the six-acre riverfront parcel directly across the street from the hugely successful Run of the Mill Public House & Brewery. With trees and vegetation now fully grown out, it's hard just driving by to fully appreciate what a stunning view down-river is afforded from this vantage point. But imagine: a medical arts building, an adult care facility or a first class restaurant sitting nearest the river, with a dramatic view down the Saco as you enjoy a glass of wine with your favorite meal.
And lastly, immediately behind the Pub we're hard at work finding the right tenants for two stand-alone buildings that sit beside the river and offer Class A office space. Think of spending your work day with a view of the running Saco River. If it's nice weather you can even sit outside on benches along the river while you take a break or enjoy your lunch. Isn't that a nice amenity to offer your employees?
These are just some of the highlights of what's to come. Welcome to the new center of York County--Biddeford and Saco. See you by the river.