Portland: Ownership of Easement Finally Transferred to City
PORTLAND — Gov. John Baldacci signed a deed Monday that will finally transfer ownership of the former Union Branch railroad easement in Bayside to the city of Portland. His action ended three years of negotiations that, in recent months, held up more than $100 million in redevelopment plans.
State transportation officials agreed to sell 9.5 acres of former railroad land to the city for $1.4 million, including a $1 million federal grant. The city also gave the state two narrow strips of land along Interstate 295 to help future plans to extend Amtrak service to Brunswick.
The former railroad land is a chain of lots that runs through Bayside - parallel to Marginal Way. It includes a 6.5-acre former freight yard on Somerset Street, where the city recently built an extension of Chestnut Street, from Somerset to Marginal Way.
Now, city officials must decide whether to seek proposals to develop the former freight yard or sell it outright, which likely would bring a higher price, said Jack Lufkin, Portland's economic development director. Land in Bayside is selling for about $1 million per acre, he said.