ELLSWORTH, Maine — After two aborted efforts, Bangor businessman Lou Lima has revived a plan to build a Dunkin Donuts at a busy Ellsworth intersection, 10 years after originally floating the idea.
The plan calls for a 4,000 square-foot development on the corner of Kingsland Crossing and Bar Harbor Road. The building would hold Dunkin’ Donuts and, hopefully, a bank branch, though Lima does not know yet which bank that would be.
“We’ve reached out to a few banks, but we don’t have anything concrete yet,” he said Wednesday. “We were kind of hoping it’d be a local bank, maybe one from the Down East area.”
This would be Lima’s second Dunkin Donuts franchise in Ellsworth, which currently has two — his location near the Mill Mall on Route 1A and another inside the Walmart Supercenter on Myrick Street. He also owns three franchises in Bangor and one in Bucksport.
On Wednesday, he said the site on Kingsland Crossing is appealing because it would capture traffic along the busy Bar Harbor Road, which leads traffic to Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park. Most traffic travelling north to MDI would pass by the new franchise, he said, but not the old one.
“It’s on the other side of town [from the old franchise], and basically anybody coming from Bucksport through the downtown area, makes a right to go to the Bar Harbor area,” he said.
He said the site is also appealing because it’s one of the few locations on Beckwith Hill where motorists can turn left or right into the lot, thanks to a 2008 redesign of the Ellsworth Triangle that made the southbound portion of Route 3 a one-way street.
Lima first floated the idea of building on the site in 2003, but opted out of the plan after state officials told him how much he’d have to invest in road improvements. Since then, those improvements have been done.
In 2009, he re-submitted his plan, which was approved by the city’s Planning Board, but the effort was later aborted. Lima said he adopted a “wait-and-see” approach because of the economic downswing triggered by the housing crisis. That approval has expired, but city planner Michele Gagnon said she doubts Lima will have any trouble being approved again.
The Planning Board will review Lima’s initial submission at it’s May 1 meeting, at which time it will take comments from the public.
Should the plan be approved, it wouldn’t be the only new development at Kingsland Crossing. Bar Harbor’s Jackson Laboratory also has plans to repurpose a former Lowe’s big-box store, which it bought for $3.2 million in October.
The lab is expected eventually to employ more than 200 people at the site, which it will use for office space, warehousing and, potentially, mouse production.
Lima said he hoped to have the new Dunkin Donuts open by late fall, but if things are delayed, he’ll push back construction to open in early spring of 2014.
Follow Mario Moretto on Twitter at @riocarmine.