2014-06-06 / Front Page

Proposal receives initial OK

Gallery Place plan includes retail space and restaurant
By Michael Kelley
Staff Writer

The Planning Board has approved the aesthetics of a development on Gallery Boulevard between Walmart and Lowe’s, although it is still almost a year away from construction.

The property, which is being developed by Waterstone Retail, is the last large developable lot in Gallery Place, a large commercial subdivision between Payne Road and Mussey Road.

The plan is to create a 113,482 squarefoot development — a 108,000-square-foot building, as well as a second 2,250-squarefoot retail building and a 4,870-square-foot restaurant. The property would also house a bus shelter for the South Portland Bus Service.

The new development may create a musical chairs of retail movement when it opens in the fall of 2015.

In late April, CBRE | The Boulos Company announced it had pre-leased retail space at 700 Gallery Place to Bob’s Discount Furniture, PetSmart and HomeGoods/Marshalls. A prelease is an arrangement for a company to rent space in a building or development before it has been constructed or is available for use.

Bob’s Discount Furniture, Marshalls and HomeGoods are currently leasing space a short drive away at the Shops at Clark’s Pond in South Portland. The closest PetSmart is in the Shops at Biddeford Crossing in Biddeford.

Doug Richardson, Waterstone’s vice president of development, said Bob’s Discount Furniture, Marshall’s/ Home Goods and PetSmart have signed leases, but would not confirm they were relocating from Clark’s Pond.

“We are working with three national retailers,” he said after a presentation to the Planning Board Monday, June 2. “They have selected our development for a new store.”

Waterstone is still looking for tenants for the restaurant site and satellite retail building. Richardson said the discussions are ongoing with an “apparel retailer” in the large retail building. Nancy St. Clair, an engineer with St. Clair Associates, said the restaurant site drew attention when the development plan was presented at the International Council for Shopping Centers conference in Las Vegas in May.

Work is being done on the property right now to get the soil ready for the development, which is expected to open in fall 2015. The soil work, done by Shaw Brothers Construction, is scheduled to be completed by February. Richardson said construction is expected to start in April, with store openings in September or October.

“We want to make sure we do this right. We don’t want another Kohl’s in Biddeford,” said Richardson, referencing the Kohl’s store in Gateway Plaza. The store was forced to close and is being rebuilt after it was found to be sinking because the site was not properly treated before construction began.

Tim Tobin, of Phase Zero Design, said the look of the buildings will coincide with the design of the other large buildings in Gallery Place, namely Lowe’s and Walmart.

Planning Board member Ron Mazer was glad to see this consistency.

“That was one of the concerns, that there would be some sort of continuity in this project,” Mazer said.

The major building, Tobin said, would vary in height and length out toward the parking lot to give it the appearance of separate storefronts. Planning Board member Corey Fellows said doing so would prevent the “monolithic big box presence that might otherwise be there.” Fellows did say he would like the see the fa├žade of the east side of the building — which borders the curve in Gallery Boulevard — broken up a bit, so as to not be such an eyesore for passersby.

“As you go through Gallery Boulevard, you are going to see the east side of the building more than you are going to see the front side of your building,” Chairman Allen Paul said.

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