Falmouth retail site may test new approach to redevelopment

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FALMOUTH — The broker for the former Pratt Abbott dry cleaning store at the corner of U.S. Route 1 and Depot Road says “the property is still available” and “we are talking with a number of people about the site.”

There has been speculation the owners of El Rayo, a Mexican eatery with locations in Portland and Scarborough, are interested. 

Town Manager Nathan Poore could not say whether restaurant wants to lease the corner lot, which is adjacent to McDonald’s and has access from both Route 1 and Depot Road. 

“I believe El Rayo has expressed some interest in Falmouth,” Poore said recently, “and they are looking at their options. I believe they have looked at the Pratt Abbott site, but I can’t speak to that” for sure.

El Rayo’s owners did not respond to a request for comment.

Poore said town councilors who are members of the Community Development Committee have toured the empty storefront and property because there’s been discussion about whether there’s an easier, less costly way for some of the smaller commercial buildings in town to be redeveloped.

Right now, Poore said, most smaller projects require “full-blown review” by the Planning Board. But the idea is that small buildings between 2,500-5,000 square feet, particularly in the Village Commercial zone along Route 1, could go through some sort of “easier and cheaper process.”

The marketing brochure created by CBRE/The Boulos Co. for the former Pratt Abbot site say it’s on a nearly 1-acre lot and is about 1,380 square feet in size, with an attached 288-square-foot canopy.

The brochure calls the property a “prime retail corner” that’s at the “center of Falmouth’s commercial activity (with) exceptional exposure to passing traffic (and) highly desirable demographics.”

Permitted uses for the site include restaurants, banks, office space and retail, according to The Boulos Co. The site leases for $75,000 a year, which is less than what the property owner initially asked, broker Greg Boulos said.

He said reducing the price has “generated a lot of interest” for what he called a “great site.” He said there are several options for the building, including a full renovation, an expansion or even tearing the building down and building new.

Kate Irish Collins can be reached at 710-2336 or kcollins@theforecaster.net. Follow Kate on Twitter: @KirishCollins.

The broker for the former Pratt Abbott dry cleaning store on U.S. Route 1 in Falmouth said this week there’s “a lot of interest” in redeveloping the site.