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Scarborough's 'Big 3' redevelopment projects on track

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Scarborough's 'Big 3' redevelopment projects on track

SCARBOROUGH — Though some had expected faster progress, the town's three largest commercial property redevelopment projects continue to proceed, even through some unanticipated setbacks.

For Marden's Surplus & Salvage, the progress hasn't come soon enough. The discount retailer finally closed on the old Wal-Mart property on Payne Road near the Scarborough Gallery. A dispute over who would pick up the tab for access changes delayed the company from its target of a holiday-season opening.

Now that the seller has agreed to put up a performance bond, sale of the 119,000-square-foot building has been completed and the retailer can start work on bringing the exterior up to the town's design standards.

According to General Manager Paul LePage, Marden's has only started interior work. He said the company is in the process of getting architectural drawings finalized for he exterior rework, which would most likely not begin until warmer weather returns.

"We've got to go see the town and see if we can open before the outside is complete," he said.

Right now, the company is occupied with closing out the books for the end of a sales year LePage called  "not fantastic," but one in which the retailer "held its own," especially on smaller items.

The company has started the hiring process for the new store and expects to have about 150 full-time employees.

"We're not big on part-time," he said. "We're a company that's for finding good people and keeping them full-time as much as possible."

LePage said the company is hoping to open the store in the next 90 days.

Orion Center, Konica

On Route 1, Orion Center redevelopment is underway by new owners, MaineHealth. Plans are to upgrade and alter the 90,000-square-foot, three-building facility in three phases.

Plans for the first phase involve renovating half of the largest building's interior to accommodate NorDx clinical laboratories.

Town Planner Dan Bacon said Wednesday that he expects MaineHealth to be applying for building permits to continue in the next couple of months. A representative of MaineHealth was not available for comment.

At the north end of Route 1, Robert Gaudreau recently closed on his purchase of the former Konica-Minolta building, Bacon said. The developer who converted the old Humpty Dumpty factory into the Nonesuch River Plaza has medical and other business offices planned for the 60,000-square-foot building.

Purchase of the 6.6-acre property was initially held up when Gaudreau discovered he would be responsible for changing the roadway and entrance into the parking lot. Negotiations with the former owner and the town resulted in a tax increment financing agreement that will assist Gaudreau.

Though site work has already been started in the rear of the property, Gaudreau goes to the Planning Board again on Monday, Jan. 11, for a site plan amendment, Bacon said.

"The old layout worked better from an access standpoint," Bacon said. "We've made some comments to Bob's (Gaudreau's) engineer that if they make some adjustments, this (new) layout could work well, too."

In a recent letter from Gaudreau to planning staff, he indicated he may need to ask the Town Council to amend the TIF agreement to cover additional costs from the new access design. Gaudreau was unavailable for comment.

The new access will be in a different location, but will not require many changes to the turning lanes and curbing, Bacon said.

"I think something will be worked out," he said. "I don't see the Planning Board denying the project based on the new plan. We hope that the Planning Board, Bob (Gaudreau) and the two Science Park Drive property owners can come to an agreement on a good entrance."

Peggy Roberts can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or proberts@theforecaster.net.