PORTLAND, Maine — The U.S. Commerce Department on Thursday said it would give Portland a $1.5 million grant to help redevelop Thompson’s Point, the largely run-down property visible on the right to travelers heading south on Interstate 295 as they’re about to cross the Fore River into South Portland.
The redevelopment project, dubbed the Forefront at Thompson’s Point, is a $105 million vision that would feature a convention center, sports complex, hotel, office space and transportation hub. The Portland Planning Board approved the project in June. The city estimates the project will create 455 jobs and attract $105 million in private investment, according to the Commerce Department.
The developers of the project have an ownership stake in the Maine Red Claws minor league basketball team, and have said the project would be financed privately.
The $1.5 million Economic Development Administration grant will help the city improve highway access, roadways, traffic management, safety and stormwater controls.
“This $1.5 million Economic Development Administration investment in Maine is an example of the Obama administration’s commitment to strengthening local infrastructure to support business growth and create jobs,” said Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank. “Today’s grant will help Portland redevelop Thompson’s Point, which will help bring new economic strength to the region.”
U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree welcomed the announcement. “The Thompson’s Point project is an exciting opportunity to bring more visitors to the city and create hundreds of jobs,” she said in a statement. “With Portland already growing both as a transportation hub and a popular destination, this project couldn’t come at a better time. I’m happy that this grant will help make the vision a reality.”