Feature of the Month: The Downs 500-acre mixed-use project underway in the center of Scarborough

February 01, 2019 - Northern New England

Scarborough, ME The Downs, a 500-acre mixed-use project located in the center of Scarborough, Maine, received town financial support for the development’s infrastructure in late November 2018.  The financial support is in the form of a Credit Enhancement Agreement (CEA) with property owners Peter Michaud, Richard Michaud, Marc Risbara, Rocco Risbara III, and William Risbara. The project is the largest single development in Scarborough’s history and has the potential for nearly two million s/f of non-residential development.

A newly defined downtown area, consisting of The Downs, the municipal campus and the Oak Hill area of Scarborough, was also incorporated into a tax increment financing district to support economic development. The Downs CEA was approved as part of the newly formed district.

The property owners, who also comprise the project’s management team, have deep ties to the community.  They are Scarborough residents and business owners with extensive experience in construction, development and business.  The Risbara’s and the Michaud’s are founders and co-owners of multiple Scarborough-based companies including Maine Properties LLC and M&R Holdings.

The new management team finalized the purchase of the property in January 2018. Using concepts in the town’s comprehensive plan to design their master plan, the team incorporated a “modern town center” as a feature. The approved master plan shows the layout of the project including areas for walking paths, single-family units, apartments, retail, office, commercial recreation and light manufacturing.  The project will include 200 acres of preserved green space. 

The light manufacturing area, known as the Innovation Park at the Downs, includes an 80-acre section of the project designed to address the high demand for flexible production space in southern Maine. All lots are being prepared for development including cleared, grated sites, road infrastructure and all utilities. Utilities include three phase power, municipal water and sewer, stormwater, natural gas and fiber optics. Flexible lot sizes can accommodate users from 5,000 to 100,000 s/f. 

Innovation Park at the Downs is represented by the Boulos Company.  Reservations are being accepted now for development starting this summer.

The first push of commercial/industrial development will be the Innovation District to meet pent up demand in the region. Residential development is also underway.  Phased over a 20-year development timeline, the project could be home to more than 3,000 people and the workplace of 2,000 employees. 

The Downs may also be a catalyst to development in surrounding areas including the Haigis Parkway District, the Enterprise Business Park and the small-scale retail, restaurants and offices in Oak Hill. The developers have also designed The Downs to provide a mix of housing units that can provide homes to the workforce of the future, fulfilling the demands of those looking for areas where they can live, work and play.

Information on the project and the management team is available at TheDowns.com. For more information about the Town of Scarborough and opportunities for development, contact the Scarborough Economic Development Corp. at SEDCOMaine.com.

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