New 500,000 Square Foot Shopping Center Proposed for Westbrook

April 8, 2016 in News

Author: Mainebiz
Publication: Mainebiz

New 500,000-square-foot shopping center proposed for Westbrook

The Westbrook planning board is reviewing submitted plans for a new 500,000-square-foot shopping center that would be anchored by a 155,000-square-foot Wal-Mart.

Developer Jeffrey Gove plans to accent the retail experience by converting a quarry on the site into a lake that would be stocked with fish, open for wintertime ice skating and would link to the Portland area's trail system.

The proposed shopping center would be located on Westbrook's Main Street, across from Westbrook Crossing — another shopping center that is anchored by a Kohl's department store, according to the Portland Press Herald.

Other possible tenants for the Wal-Mart anchored shopping center include the supermarket chain Market Basket, outdoor retailer REI and the popular warehouse retailer Costco. Gove told the Press Herald that he expects other national retailers to make their official announcements in the next three months.

In addition to the retail locations, Gove added that there will be more than one restaurant as a tenant in the shopping plaza, and that he has been talking to a number of regional chains about locating within the shopping center.

Groundbreaking for the project is slated to begin this fall, with stores in the shopping center likely opening in 2017.

Currently, Maine is home to 25 Wal-Mart locations in addition to three Sam's Clubs. The big-box retailer employs 7,000 people across the state.

Multi-Use Five-Story Building Proposed for Gorham Center

April 4, 2016 in News

Author: Mainebiz
Publication: Mainebiz

Mixed-use five-story building proposed for Gorham’s town center

The skyline of Gorham could be in for a big change, as a local developer envisions a five-story, retail-and-residential site in Gorham Village, the town center.

The multi-story building being proposed by Gorham-based Great Falls Construction definitely falls into the "mixed-use" category — in addition to 30 market-rate apartments, the building would also house a bowling alley on the first floor and a wine bar on the top floor, according to the Portland Press Herald.

Though the addition of a bowling alley into downtown Gorham is sure to be welcome by students living in the dorms at the nearby University of Southern Maine campus, the idea of a five-story building being introduced into the mostly residential area is expected to gain a few detractors from neighbors.

"It's probably going to block somebody's view. It's probably going to cast a shadow over somebody's house," Tom Ellsworth, director of the Gorham Economic Development Corp., told the Press Herald. "The public can be very persuasive."

Ellsworth added that the positive reputation Great Falls Construction has within the town will likely quell some complaints, saying "the community is ecstatic" about a prior project in the heart of the town that replaced a vacant gas station with a Subway sandwich shop and Aroma Joe's Coffee shop.

"If there's anybody who is going to be able to make it work," Ellsworth told the Press Herald, it's Great Falls Construction.

If Great Falls Construction gets the green light for the project, the company said it hopes to be finished with construction by fall 2017.

Possible Propane Depot Move a Big Step for Thompson's Point

March 30, 2016 in News

Author: Mainebiz
Publication: Mainebiz

Possible propane depot move a big step for Thompson’s Point

Suburban Propane has filed plans to move from its Thompson's Point location in Portland to a city-owned parcel on Riverside Street — a move that has been deemed a key goal for developers of the peninsula.

Suburban Propane's move would ultimately free up a valuable rail-side parcel that developers are hopeful will be redeveloped into a new events center and an expanded transportation center meant to replace the Portland Transportation Center just north of the parcel, according to the Portland Press Herald.

In addition to the transportation center and events center, developers also hope to convert the land into a mixed-use neighborhood with residential housing, a hotel, restaurants and office buildings — a recent price tag for the ambitious project sets it at $100 million.

Suburban Propane's move, which has been discussed for several years, still must be approved by Portland's city Planning Board, but developer Chris Thompson told the Press Herald that the potential move could very well kick the development of Thompson's Point into high gear.

"We're pretty excited to have arrived at this point in the project overall," Thompson said. "We're probably still a few months out before we're able to see plans go forward for the event and athletic facility, but we're still planning on moving forward with it."

Recent Sales Heat up Lewiston-Auburn Retail Market

March 29, 2016 in News

Publication: Mainebiz

Recent sales heat up Lewiston-Auburn retail market

LEWISTON-AUBURN — As rising stars among Maine's metropolitan areas, twin cities Lewiston and Auburn are a great place to invest.

That's the outlook of Dan Boutin, a commercial real estate investor who, under the name 675 Main Street LLC, bought two shopping centers — the 32,000-square-foot Marketplace Mall located at 675 Main St. in Lewiston, and the 12,000-square-foot Taylor Brook Mall, at 14 Millett Drive in Auburn.

Malone Commercial Brokers said the Marketplace Mall sold for $2 million, while the Taylor Brook Mall sold for $800,000. Both deals closed March 9.

Malone Commercial Brokers' Kevin Fletcher represented the seller, Marketplace Investment Group LLC, of which Fletcher is a partner. Frank O'Connor of NAI/The Dunham Group represented Boutin, the buyer.

Boutin, who has been in real estate investment for 35 years, owns other properties in the area. These include shopping centers at 120 Center St. in Auburn and 1567 Lisbon St. in Lewiston, as well as a 114-unit mobile home park in Sabbatus. One of his companies, Oak Hill Management, manages the properties.

"I like retail and income-producing properties. And I like Lewiston-Auburn because there's a lot of growth," said Boutin, who was born and raised in the area and so also feels a personal attachment to his investments. "Portland is difficult — the vacancy rate is so low and the price of land has reached such an unrealistic amount. But Lewiston-Auburn has a lot of upside. Everything is up and coming in Lewiston-Auburn, and you want to be part of it."

The two one-story strip centers were never actually on the market. Kevin Fletcher, one of the four partners who owned the properties, said he was aware that Boutin was on the lookout for this type of commercial property, and the partners felt the timing was right to sell, so he simply called Boutin's broker. The selling partners had owned the Marketplace Mall for eight years, and the Taylor Brook Mall for seven years.

Both shopping centers date to the mid-1980s and are deemed by both seller and buyer to be in good shape. Both centers are in well-traveled areas.

The Marketplace Mall is on Main Street and has proven to be "a great neighborhood center," Fletcher said. There are currently 16 tenants, including a mix of hair salons, a Chinese restaurant, chiropractor and offices, all anchored by a Sam's Italian Restaurant, one of a chain in Maine. There is currently a 600-square-foot vacant space.

The Taylor Brook Mall has nine tenants and about 1,600 square feet of vacant space.

Boutin said he'll clean up the properties, make sure the signs and landscaping look nice, check out the systems to ensure they're all operational, and the like.

"I'm there to help out the tenants," he said. "The buck stops here."

Suburbs Say Housing Crunch isn't just Portland's Problem

March 25, 2016 in News

Author: David Harry
Publication: The Forecaster

PORTLAND — Officials from five suburban towns joined their Portland colleagues Wednesday to discuss how to expand housing in the region.

“I think the headline is the same as in any town: New development is incredibly wrenching,” Cape Elizabeth Town Planner Maureen O’Meara said during the forum at the University of Southern Maine.

The discussion, hosted by the Portland City Council Housing Committee, was also attended by officials from Scarborough, South Portland, Falmouth and Westbrook, including South Portland City Councilor Linda Cohen; Assistant City Manager and Economic Development Director Josh Reny; South Portland Housing Authority Executive Director Mike Halsey; Scarborough Senior Planner Jay Chace, and Scarborough Town Councilor Will Rowan.

Portland City Councilor Jill Duson, the committee chairwoman, organized the regional forum. It was moderated by Caroline Paras, community and economic planner at the Greater Portland Council of Governments.

The forum was opened with a presentation of local housing markets compiled by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The analysis established that demand will continue to grow in the marketing area including Cumberland, Sagadahoc and York counties.

Meeting the projected demand for an estimated 4,000 housing units for purchase and 2,000 for rent in the next three years will be daunting; HUD estimated 850 sales units and 450 rental units were under construction in the affected areas as of Oct. 1, 2015.

Chace said Scarborough added about 8,000 housing units in the last 20 years, but almost all were single-family units. He said there is more acceptance of rental units as the town tries to develop along its highly traveled corridors and reduce reliance on vehicles.

Cohen said South Portland has keyed in on increasing population density in the areas of Mill Creek and near the Maine Mall to encourage mixed-use development that adds to the housing stock.

Increased density can also support local businesses, but Reny noted it is not a citywide approach.

“It is an issue that is place-sensitive,” he said. “What we know is, people love the city and value the neighborhoods.”

Critical to the success of adding housing is the quality of the development and how it fits into existing areas, O’Meara said.

“I’ve spent a lot of time putting design standards into Cape Elizabeth regulations, because if it doesn’t look ugly, it is easier to accept,” she said.

Officials agreed more regional forums are needed, and discussed the possibility of site walks to show what has worked in the communities, but did not schedule any new joint meetings.




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