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March 10, 2022

Proposed $300M mixed-use development would bring 900 housing units to Kittery

map show proposed buildings Courtesy / Hoyle, Tanner & Associates Inc. The map of the proposed development in Kittery shows the potential sites of housing, offices, a brewery and an assisted living facility.

A $300 million development of 900 residential units, an assisted living facility, a day care, brewery, offices and retail space is being proposed in Kittery to bring much-needed housing and new businesses to the town.

“It’s definitely ambitious,” Shawn Tobey, project manager at Portsmouth, N.H.-based engineering firm Hoyle, Tanner & Associates Inc., told Mainebiz. “There’s a broad mix of housing from studios and one- and two-bedrooms to townhouses, and a mix of businesses. We want a good mix for live, work and play.”

The 83-acre property at 98 Dennett Road and 27 Route 36 in Kittery is currently undeveloped. The swath would become the site of 11 separate areas of development, including 30,000 square feet of food-service and retail space, 29,000 square feet of medical and office space, and 42,000 square feet for life-science industry operations, according to a proposal filed with the Kittery Planning Board. 

The board is scheduled to review the proposal on Thursday at 6 p.m. in Kittery Town Hall.

Tobey said he expects the Dennett Landing project will take a year in the planning process, and must undergo a Department of Transportation review for traffic and a Department of Environmental Protection review for stormwater management. The timeline for completion was not yet known since there are so many different parcels of development.

“There’s such a demand for housing. There’s low inventory so any additional units we see as being a benefit to the area. There’s limited housing from Portland to Boston. This is close to Kittery and Portsmouth. We see strong demand for this,” Tobey said.

The proposal currently does not include affordable housing units, but Tobey said it would include such housing if the town places new zoning requirements on the area, which could happen this spring.

Tobey estimates the price tag for the development at $250 million to $300 million but said those numbers could change.

A nearby, unrelated development, costing $59 million, will build 300 housing units and is scheduled to break ground this spring.

A recent report by the Southern Maine Planning and Development Commission and the New England District Council of the Urban Land Institute said workforce housing and better transportation were key to retaining workers in southern Maine.

“There’s a big concern about traffic getting to the shipyard. Having housing closer to the shipyard will get people off the roads and help reduce some of that traffic,” Tobey said.

Tobey said he expects there to be a public input process, but no zoning variances or waivers are needed for the development. The development also will include walking trails, two pedestrian bridges and a dock or boardwalk on a parcel of water on the acreage.

“We’re hoping this development has a great sense of community with bike trails and walking trails to help residents and guests enjoy the nature that is there, the stores and restaurants,” added Sheila Grant, a principal with the development group 98 Dennett Road LLC.

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