MILLINOCKET, Maine — Lease negotiations are continuing but the nation’s largest retail farm and ranch supply store chain plans to begin building its latest Maine store at the Northern Plaza Shopping Center on Feb. 27, a company spokesman said Monday.
That would have the store opening “sometime in the summer,” said Michael F. Graham, media relations specialist for Tractor Supply Co. “That could change.”
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 going on for more than a year.
The heavy renovation the space needs and the company’s desire to do it within its budget have absorbed most of the time, said Dan Corcoran, the landowner’s property manager and contracted real estate broker.
Corcoran was surprised that the company would discuss construction dates without a completed lease.
“It is premature for them to start releasing dates. It starts with a signed lease. Then the clock starts ticking,” Corcoran said Monday. “We are working very hard to make it happen and hopefully we will have it signed very soon.”
Tractor Supply’s opening in Millinocket has been the subject of much speculation in the Katahdin region and more than a year of negotiations, Corcoran said. Aside from about a half-dozen thrift stores and a Family Dollar outlet, the region lacks a large-scale general supply retailer and a standalone clothing store.
The closest are in Lincoln, about 32 miles from the plaza.
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.
Its stores in Maine include outlets in Augusta, Bangor, Brunswick, Dover-Foxcroft, Houlton, Lewiston, Oxford, Presque Isle, Sanford, Scarborough, Skowhegan and Wilton, according to its website. A store in Windham is under contract to open this spring, company officials have said.
Another 30,000 of the 49,000-square-foot former Ames store is available and is being reviewed by other retailers, Corcoran has said.
Tractor Supply will use another 13,000 square feet of parking lot space for outdoor displays.
Corcoran said Monday that he will be meeting with contractors this week to review the Millinocket site’s building plans.