ROCKLAND, Maine — The city is soliciting creative ideas on how best to redevelop a downtown industrial area filled with warehouses and views of the waterfront.
The Rockland Economic and Community Development Department sent out a request last month asking for proposals on how to best develop the Tillson Avenue area. Proposals are due in the Community Development Office by Monday.
Community Development Director Audra Caler Bell said the goals envisioned by the city would be retail on the street level of any new development with commercial activities on the upper floors such as offices. Light industrial uses are also encouraged but would be best located in the rear of commercial buildings.
For example, she said, FMC Corporation is interested in additional warehouse space. FMC is a manufacturer of carrageenan, which is used in many food products.
The properties that the city is interested in being redeveloped are either city-owned lots or lots and buildings owned by corporations overseen by Finlay B. Matheson of Miami.
The Matheson family has purchased several properties in the city since 2004. Those properties include the former Bicknell Manufacturing plant at 11 Lime St., an adjacent vacant lot at 8 Lime St., 9 Wharf St., 14 Wharf St., and 65 Tillson Ave., where Redlon & Johnson plumbing and heating supply had operated until a fire heavily damaged its business in June 2014.
The Matheson property where Redlon & Johnson was located has been eyed for redevelopment by the city for more than a decade. The city held a meeting in February 2005 that included discussions on that site.
Matheson is supportive of the city’s effort, Caler Bell said. The city’s Economic Development Advisory Committee has been working on the best way to redevelop Tillson Avenue for several years.
The city’s timetable for the redevelopment is to meet with people submitting proposals in June, seek formal proposals in July and select a developer in September. She said the city’s role is to encourage the development, but that developers with specific plans would work with the property owner for those projects.
The proposals should include any public amenities or benefits that may be offered as part of the proposed development. She said the city would become more involved if any of the proposed developments needed to use city-owned land. Two city-owned lots in the proposed development area include the parking lot between Winter Street and Tillson Avenue and the lot used for storage adjacent to the municipal fish pier.
Caler Bell said she expects one or two development proposals to be submitted by next week.