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BANGOR, Maine — Buffalo Wild Wings is still coming to Bangor, but it will be opening later than initially planned and will be joined by some big company.
Rather than one 65,500-square-foot retail plaza, the new $4.5 million Stillwater Crossing development plan calls for a three-building complex totaling 72,500 square feet with Buffalo Wild Wings grill and bar in one, three to five businesses in another, and a 55,000-square-foot anchor building occupied by Hobby Lobby.
“Hobby Lobby is like the Christmas Tree Shops, A.C. Moore, and Jo-Ann fabric all rolled into one,” said Vincent Maietta, Stillwater Crossing’s principal owner and developer. “And obviously a lot of people are already familiar with Buffalo Wild Wings.”
David Gould, Bangor’s planning officer, said Buffalo Wild Wings was “hoping to get in and be open by Thanksgiving, but the plan for the crossing has been modified.”
Maietta said that, weather permitting, construction should start in April and tenants should be open for business in July. He expects the construction work to employ 80 to 100 people and the retail stores to create another 150 to 200 full- and part-time jobs.
According to the company website, Buffalo Wild Wings is one of the top 10 fastest-growing restaurant chains in the country with more than 850 locations nationwide. Bangor franchise owner and operating partner Jeff Applegate said this will be the chain’s 550th franchise. The other 300 are corporate-owned.
According to its website, Hobby Lobby operates 524 stores in 42 states. The stores’ average size is 55,000 square feet. The Oklahoma City-based business was founded by company CEO David Green in 1970 and began operation in 1972.
The original plan for Stillwater Crossing involved a 65,500-square-foot retail plaza at 461 Stillwater Ave. — the site previously permitted and planned for a Shaw’s supermarket in 2007.
“Hobby Lobby solicited us and we had to hold the project off for a few months while we negotiated with them, but we just couldn’t seem to consummate the deal with them and got frustrated,” Maietta said.
Maietta said company representatives eventually re-established negotiations with him through different people and things proceeded much more expeditiously.
This proposal is much closer to the original Shaw’s supermarket plan, except the Hobby Lobby is 5,000 square feet larger than Shaw’s would have been and there are two other standalone buildings: one is 7,200 square feet with a patio for Buffalo Wild Wings and the other is a 10,000-square-foot structure for three to five businesses.
“It’s always nice to do a project where you have the majority of it preleased before you even break ground, especially in this economy,” said Maietta. “I already have far more tenants interested in that third building than we have space for, so it looks like I’ll have it fully occupied before we finish and open it in July.”
Maietta said he expects to agree on a 15-year lease with Hobby Lobby and a 10-year deal plus another 20 years in option clauses with Buffalo Wild Wings.
The plan, which will have to be presented to the Bangor planning board and Maine Department of Environmental Protection for approval, also calls for a parking capacity for 290 vehicles.
“We don’t anticipate any problems or hiccups with DEP,” said Aaron Shaw, site designer and James W. Sewall Co. senior project manager. “This layout is more efficient and actually works a lot better with what was conceived for the Shaw’s plan. Some of the curbing, landscaping, lighting and underground connections for electrical, sewage and water won’t have to be altered, so it could reduce costs.”
Gould said the earliest the planning board, which meets the first and third Tuesdays of each month, could evaluate and vote on the plan would be late January.
“It appears like this other plan is a more viable option and satisfies most of the site specs,” said Gould, who added that the whole piece of property is about nine acres.
The zone allows for 72,500 square feet of retail space with no more than three principal buildings, the largest of which cannot exceed 60,000 square feet.
Maietta was effusive in his praise for the city staff members he has worked with while planning the project.
“Bangor appears to be a very sought-after town and people want to be there and it seems like a good town to do business in,” he said.