BREWER – Lowe’s Home Centers Inc. earned site plan approval for a multimillion-dollar retail store on outer Wilson Street during Monday’s planning board meeting.
“Welcome to Brewer,” City Planner Linda Johns and board member Gerald Robinson said almost simultaneously to end the meeting.
Representatives from Lowe’s, a build-it-yourself home-improvement company with more than 1,250 stores nationwide, selected Brewer in April and have worked for the last several months to complete paperwork and apply for permits.
After years of searching the region for an appropriate location, “this site was selected because of its minor impacts to wetlands,” Stephen Bushey, senior engineer for DeLuca-Hoffman Associates Inc. of South Portland, said Monday.
The 139,410-square-foot store, with an additional 31,659-square-foot garden center, is expected to employ 180 to 200 people, with 80 percent of those being full-time, Todd Morey, Lowe’s site development manager for the New England region, told the board.
“We’d like to be out to bid in a month or a month and a half,” he said. “Right now, we’ll be looking at building there in the late spring-summer.”
The planning board approved Lowe’s site plans with five waivers and 24 conditions, which mostly concern permits, easements and traffic flow.
Entry into the 19.3-acre site will be gained at the new traffic light on outer Wilson Street, just before Interstate 395, at the street’s junction with the northern end of Dirigo Drive.
“We’ll construct a new two-way driveway” that can be extended for future access to unused back lots, Bushey said.
A 300-foot dedicated right-turn lane into the site is included for those traveling into Brewer from Holden.
“It really doesn’t get any better, trafficwise,” Frank Higgins, city engineer, said. “That intersection was set up as a four-lane intersection.”
The company has worked with the city to make the massive box store as attractive as possible, Morey said.
“It is a new building style for us,” he said.
A decorative glass feature on the front of the building, a different style roof canopy and a blue-beige color scheme have been added to make the building more aesthetically pleasing.
An underground storm water runoff filtering system that collects and filters parking lot water is another feature of the approximately $18 million dollar project.
Brothers Pete and Denis Normandin, two of the three partners who own the property Lowe’s is planning to use, traveled from Westminster, Mass., to follow the project’s progress.
“This is good news,” Pete Normandin said, adding that a purchase and sale agreement for the parcel has yet to be signed.
The out-of-state investor was impressed with the professionalism of all the parties involved, he said.
“Maine people seem to be more honest,” Pete Normandin said after the meeting. “They’re not working an angle. We’re proud to be a part of [the project].”
“I think it will fit in quite nicely,” Bushey said.