August 29, 2018

Freeport board OKs nine-lot commercial subdivision on Route 1

Freeport's Project Review Board approved a proposal for a nine-lot commercial subdivision on 37.9 acres on Route 1 in Freeport.

The Times Record reported that CF Cousins River LLC's plans include a mix of businesses and a trail easement so the Freeport Conservation Trust can build a trail connecting to a trail system at a neighboring New England Forestry Foundation property, and sidewalks.

The subdivision is being marketed by Malone Commercial Brokers. Advertised as "Freeport's newest development," it offers build-to-suit availabilities for office, retail, industrial and warehouse uses, with the potential to accommodate businesses from 2,500 to 40,000 square feet, with lots ranging in size from 1 to 10 acres for development. The marketing brochure specifies that the subdivision permit is still pending.

CF Cousins River LLC purchased the property from Town and Country Kitchen Inc. for $2 million, in a deal that closed March 22,2017. Mark Malone represented the seller and Joe Malone and Jennifer Small represented the buyer. All three brokers are with of Malone Commercial Brokers.

At an April meeting of the town project review board, neighbors expressed concerns about the sprawl of a commercial subdivision into the neighborhood. They also had concerns around safety, lighting and noise from parking and increased activity; and about potential impacts on downtown businesses. Two residents noted that there were 26 vacant commercial properties at that time and asked why more commercial property was being added.

Freeport is seeing a churn of its retail property, driven in part by an industry-wide upheaval of national retailers trying to ride the e-commerce wave. In July, Greg Boulos of CBRE | The Boulos Co. in Portland told Mainebiz his firm had six vacancies at that time available for lease.

Freeport, anchored by L.L.Bean, gets more than three million visitors per year.

While there are more than 200 stores, the biggest draw by far is is L.L.Bean's flagship campus, which is open 24/7. Shops closest to L.L.Bean are most desirable and have heavy foot traffic, but there are empty storefronts. Retail space on Howard Place, at the lower end of the retail district — has sat empty for several years.


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