SOUTH PORTLAND, ME-In what appears to be a stretch even for a Greek immigrant from New York who became a millionaire developer, John Cacoulidis, of Grand Metro Builders would like to develop a convention center and hotel complex on the 22 acres he owns in this quiet town.

According to representatives from the town, Cacoulidis has not yet submitted any formal plans to the city, but he has met once with some town officials here. Cacoulidis also plans on talking to residents this evening at a public information meeting about his vision for the site.

Tex Haeuser, planning director for the town, tells that Cacoulidis’ plan involves a convention center, a hotel, an ocean liner dock and a cable car system that would connect this city to Portland proper. Cacoulidis is looking to build up to 640 feet on a site that currently allows a maximum height of 86 feet. The area is also currently zoned for office and light industrial, says Haeuser, necessitating a zoning change for the project to go ahead.

Haeuser terms the project “wildly unrealistic” because of the height, the traffic it would generate and the views it would block. “It is changing the character of the community,” he says.

Cacoulidis is already known in these parts because of an island he owns in Cumberland, ME. A few months ago he protested his tax bill and petitioned to secede from the town. That request is still pending.

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