PORTLAND (WGME) – Many working families have been priced out of the housing market in Maine.
Now, a new development project is promising hundreds of new homes in the Portland area that median-income families can afford.
In 2019, the City of Portland chose four parcels of land to be developed for workforce housing.
Three of those parcels now belong to Maine Cooperative Development Partners.
"In a cooperative, you buy a share of the whole, and then you get a proprietary lease to live there,” Maine Cooperative Development Partners Partner Liz Trice said. “So you have stable housing costs for as long as you live there."
In order to qualify, a single person must make at least $47,000 a year, ranging up to, for a family of six, $130,000 a year.
"But again, those numbers are subject to change, and we'll have to remeasure them at the time people move in in 2024," Maine Cooperative Development Partners Partner Brian Eng said.
With another two years until completion, the land at 57 Douglass Street is full of overgrown grass, but the area holds a ton of potential, Trice says.
"Behind you is a Little League field,” Trice said. “This is going to become a new basketball court. There's a brand-new playground going over there. And then back here there are soccer fields."
The Douglass location is a three-minute walk to the nearest bus stop that Eng says eases the strain of a long drive to work for some.
"We've heard loud and clear from multiple employers across all different industries here in Portland, talking about how difficult it is to attract and retain talent these days because of the shortage of housing that's located close to where people work," Eng said.
Between all three parcels and 200 homes, the project's estimated cost is $40 million, funded through the City of Portland and HUD, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.
"We are currently waiting to hear on grants from the county and from the city,” Trice said. “And the county grants are especially important to us because that helps keep our share price low."
The project is in its third week taking $500 deposits to secure a spot in line for a house.
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