Belfast Economic Development Director Thomas Kittredge received City Council approval to solicit quotes from companies for conducting a market study in Belfast. The city will seek information on 77.2 acres of the downtown and waterfront districts.

Councilors have expressed interest in such a study during past meetings. The Aug. 20 market study approval is intended to encourage development at 45 Front St. and 115 Congress St., encourage current property owners to develop and invest more in their properties, and demonstrate the city's due diligence to the community.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued the city several grants to conduct the study. Kittredge applied for and received a Brownfields grant for city revitalization for this project.

The initial study area was too large for approval through the EPA’s grant program. Kittredge adjusted study boundaries and was able to develop an area that EPA officials approved.

To conduct the study, Kittredge must obtain no fewer than three quotes from different companies for consideration.

Once a contract is signed, the selected company will develop questions and conduct research about the area selected by city officials. The company will seek  to identify real estate market trends and competitors, and determine a long-term economic outlook for the area.

The city has identified six categories it wants studied to measure the existing inventory of private and public city property. The categories include single-family housing, multi-family housing, office space, retail space, restaurant space and other commercial spaces.

Subcategories to further define information include the rate of income, types of occupancy, the floor number location in buildings and historic status of properties.

An inventory of parking will be developed, investigating types of ownership and the available amount. A separate inventory of undeveloped land will be measured.

The company will map current areas where fiber internet services are being offered.

The final product will be made public when the project is completed and results analyzed. Kittredge doesn’t know when that will be, but thinks it might take a few months to secure a contract and conduct the study.

Councilors voted to approve the scope of study in compliance with and funded by the EPA, and for Kittredge to obtain three quotes for its conduct.

Once Kittredge receives the quotes, he will take them back to the City Council for approval.