New South Portland Hotel, restaurants open near Maine Mall

SOUTH PORTLAND – New restaurants and a hotel have opened in the west of the city, a trend that is expected to continue, city officials say.

Joshua Reny, deputy city manager and director of economic development, said there had generally been substantial investment in the city in recent years, concentrated in the Maine Mall area, and broadening the tax base.

City appraiser Jim Thomas said in a 30-acre oval-shaped area around the mall, the estimated real estate value was $ 506 million. The city-wide estimated value is $ 3.4 billion, and mall properties contribute $ 9.1 million in taxes to the city, he said.

“It’s a great asset,” Thomas said.

Tru by Hilton, a 98-room mid-range branded hotel, opened on December 21 at 369 Maine Mall Road. It is owned by VanSleep LLC, according to a statement from hotel general manager Joe Baillargeon.

The hotel is next door to the DoubleTree by Hilton, which is also owned by Florida developer Joe VanWhy. The hotel is expected to employ 50 people.

The 44,000 square foot hotel has 98 rooms, a fitness center, laundry facilities, dog park, breakfast room and social gathering space .

He will complete an almost ten-year construction of the property by VanWhy.

A neighbor of Tru by Hilton is a CarMax, at 415 Maine Mall Road, built on vacant land previously occupied by Maine Mall Cinema 7, a Pizza Hut, an IHOP restaurant, and a Mobil gas station.

The dealership will include a 6,700 square foot building, parking for 550 used vehicles and parking for 93 other vehicles. There will also be space on the lot to store wholesale vehicles for distribution that will not be sold to the public.

The CarMax dealership’s initial plans included a 17,625 square foot dealership and a 990 square foot car wash.

New restaurants include Tuscan Table and Big Fin Poke.

Big Fin Poke, which serves Hawaiian-style sushi, has expanded from Westbrook to a second location at 29 Western Ave. The new restaurant owned by Jimmy Liang occupies the space that once housed the Plaza 29 convenience store.

Tuscan Table, at 390 Gorham Road, opened this month in a former Pizza Hut building in the parking lot of Maine Mall.

The bistro-style Italian restaurant is owned by Edward Manganello and is part of a group that includes Royal River Grillhouse in Yarmouth and Tuscan Brick Oven Bistro in Freeport. The kitchen is run by Chef Lee Skawinski, formerly of Cinque Terre / Vignola in Portland.

Reny said there has been an evolution in the mall area, including developer interest in creating residential spaces in this part of town.

“This bodes well for the success of the region, in general,” Reny said of Diversified Investing. A 200-unit residential development has been proposed at Clarks Pond, which would be a 10-minute walk from the mall, he noted.

“The national economy is doing well, as is the economy of Portland,” Reny said, adding that the city was in the middle of a cycle of business expansion.

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Sandy A. Greer

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