Tractor Supply talks continue in Millinocket

Posted Nov. 07, 2011, at 6:13 p.m.

MILLINOCKET, Maine — With new stores under construction in Dover-Foxcroft and Windham and one recently opened in Houlton, Tractor Supply Co. officials hope to conclude negotiations to lease about 19,000 square feet of a Route 11 shopping plaza this month, officials said Monday.

Negotiations between the landowner at the former Ames store in the Northern Plaza Shopping Center and Michigan-based DMK Development, the retailer’s preferred developer, have been ongoing for more than a year. The heavy renovation the space needs and the company’s desire to do it within its budget have absorbed the time, said Dan Corcoran, the landowner’s property manager and contracted real estate broker.

“We are optimistic that we will have one [a signed lease] this month, but we were optimistic of that last spring. All of the parties are genuinely working to make it happen,” Corcoran said Monday.

“I think it is going to happen,” Corcoran added. “Tractor Supply is putting in four stores in Maine. They already have the other three and now they are focusing on this one. I think it is fair to say that due to the condition of the building, it is taking longer to negotiate a lease and work out all the costs.”

Based in Brentwood, Tenn., Tractor Supply offers men’s and women’s clothing, home improvement items, livestock supplies, welding and metalworking items, and sporting goods equipment, particularly snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles.

It has 10 locations in Maine, including stores in Bangor, Lewiston, Presque Isle and Skowhegan, according to its website. Company officials have said its Dover-Foxcroft location will open this month. The Houlton store opened last month.

The Windham store is under contract to open this spring, said Don Kettler of DMK Development. Kettler said he hoped to have news of the Millinocket negotiations in a few weeks.

If a Millinocket deal occurs, about 19,000 square feet of the 49,000-square-foot former Ames store will be extensively renovated and leased, with another 13,000 square feet of outside parking lot area also being used by the store for outdoor displays, Corcoran has said.

A contractor who toured the building with Corcoran last week told him the company hopes to begin work on building renovations at the end of the month. Corcoran has shown several would-be contractors the property since talks began, he said.

Tractor Supply stores are typically about 19,000 square feet, Kettler said. Each store employs 12-17 full- and part-time workers.

The Katahdin region has a population of slightly fewer than 10,000 people, a September unemployment rate of 20.4 percent and, aside from a Family Dollar store in the former Ames Plaza and some consignment shops, lacks a general store retailer such as Tractor Supply. The nearest such retailer is a Walmart in Lincoln, about 35 miles south.

Last month’s unemployment estimates were not available Monday.

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