New Projects in Bangor, Brewer, Maine, Range from Hotels to Big Boxes

Major gaming and hotel complex is first sign of new projects in area

The site development plan calls for a 114,000-square-foot anchor, a 21,000-square-foot garden area and two smaller freestanding buildings of 6,000 and 3,128 square feet, which Kane said will house a sit-down restaurant and an unspecified convenience-retail business. The shopping center will be served by a 600-space parking lot.

The anchor widely believed to be Lowe's is sited on land that once was eyed for a Wal-Mart Supercenter, but because this project is on a smaller parcel and farther from the Penjajawoc Marsh, it has been less controversial.

Farther down Stillwater Avenue, the city is working on the Hogan Road extension to accommodate the 209,000-square-foot Wal-Mart Supercenter. The city also has approved a 3,000-square-foot bank and a 6,000-square-foot restaurant adjacent to the Wal-Mart.

The project is expected to cost $23.6 million.

The Supercenter project will trigger $3.4 million in off-site street improvements that must be completed before the store's planned May 2008 opening because of the traffic volume it is projected to generate. The city also will take on traffic improvements in the coming construction season, including additional lanes and signal improvements.

By the time all is said and done, the commercial section of Stillwater will have five lanes of traffic and Hogan Road will have seven lanes, City Engineer Jim Ring confirmed this week.

Also near the Bangor Mall are two hotel projects.

Construction is under way at 200 Sylvan Road on a 92-room, 55,000-square-foot Marriott Courtyard. Behind the $8 million project is Freeport-based Maine Course Hospitality Group, which owns hotels and restaurants throughout New England, including the Ground Round restaurant in Bangor and the Muddy Rudder restaurant in Brewer.

Meanwhile, the local partnership Dublin 5 LLC is gearing up to build a 135-room Hilton Garden Inn on a 5-acre parcel located along an extension of Haskell Road. Dublin 5 is a partnership among Bangor developers Tony Valley and Mark Eremita, and Ed Dennis, their Irish partner who has two decades of experience in the hotel industry.

The hotel will include a state-of-the-art conference center, restaurant, tennis court, swimming pool, fitness room and Jacuzzi. A final project price tag hasn't been determined.

On Broadway, Bangor Savings Bank has purchased the Friendly's building. The bank is awaiting approval from the city's planning committee to tear down the closed restaurant and construct a branch that will be larger than its existing one at the Broadway Shopping Plaza.

Bangor Savings Bank senior vice president Yellow Light Breen said the bank is very excited about leasing part of the building to a "major coffeehouse," but declined to give details because no lease has been signed. Breen said he hopes the building and tenant will be open by Jan. 1, 2008. A cost estimate for the project was not available.

The building at 706 Broadway that houses Guernsey Monuments and the Guernsey family will be demolished to make way for construction of a 14,550-square-foot Walgreens pharmacy with a drive-through window, according to the city planning office.

Edward Guernsey, 74, said he likely will move his monument business elsewhere because he is not ready to retire. When asked, Guernsey said he did not feel sad about the pending sale of his property.

"When I bought it I knew it was going to be torn down someday when I sold it to move or retire. Most of the buildings on Broadway, like the McDonald's, used to be residential," Guernsey said.

Guernsey declined to reveal what developers will pay for his property, but he said he hopes to close on the purchase in July. A July closing could mean work on the project would begin in August and finish in November.

Walgreens has not yet signed a lease and for that reason declined to comment.

One of the more unusual projects is the crematorium Brookings-Smith Funeral Homes is building off Hammond Street Extension near Bangor International Airport.

"We're probably 80 percent done," General Manager Jim Fernald said this week. "We're really excited about it."

The crematorium, slated to open in June on a 1.7-acre parcel at Pine Grove Cemetery, will be Bangor's second. The first opened in the early 1970s at Mount Hope Cemetery.

Fernald said the crematorium would have a remembrance center, a small chapel for committal services and a viewing room.