BANGOR, Maine — Retailers are trying to close deals and secure a spot between the new Hobby Lobby store and Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant in the Stillwater Crossing plaza, according to the site’s developer.
Vincent “Vinny” Maietta, president of South Portland-based V&E Enterprises Inc., said he expects retailers to file letters of intent this month, and whichever business or businesses are chosen should be settled into their new space by mid-December.
“We’re right at the finish line,” Maietta said in a phone interview Thursday.
He declined to say publicly who the interested retailers were because doing so might affect whether the deals go through. However, he did mention that there are several clothing retailers and a home goods retailer among them.
Plans for the plaza, which has about 75,000 square feet of retail space between the three buildings, were first announced in July 2012. Crews began working on the site in April, and the buildings went up quickly. Maietta credited the contractor, PM Construction of Saco, and local subcontractors for speedy, solid work.
Hobby Lobby, with more than 550 arts and crafts stores in 45 states, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday to celebrate its grand opening. Buffalo Wild Wings, a sports bar with more than 925 locations nationwide, opened its doors at the site in early September.
The remaining 10,500-square-foot building at the site has drawn a lot of interest, according to Maietta. He said he has been in talks with about a dozen different retailers who have been seeking anywhere from 1,500 to the full 10,500 square feet of space. Combined, those retailers are looking for four times the space available in the one remaining building. Maietta has been working with some of them for six months.
“It’s just a matter of getting the right one or ones to sign up so we have the right mixture of tenants for the plaza,” he said.
Maietta said it would be “easiest” if a single retailer could fill the whole building, but there are several who want slightly smaller spaces, which would mean dividing the building up for use by two businesses. Maietta said that scenario would work out just as well.
The site, adjacent to the Interstate 95 ramp, could become easier to get to if the Maine Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration side with the city on a proposed change in the rules of the road.
As it stands, drivers exiting I-95 to get onto Stillwater Avenue can’t turn left, toward Hobby Lobby and Buffalo Wild Wings. To get to those businesses from the offramp, many drivers go straight into the Kohls entrance, turn around, and take a right onto Stillwater.
Other drivers make a dangerous left-hand turn in spite of the ban.
The ban was meant to mitigate increased traffic in residential neighborhoods along Stillwater Avenue. Allowing left turns apparently is widely supported, with about 85 percent of those city residents who responded to a survey in favor.
During a Sept. 23 meeting at City Hall, the council adopted a resolve directing Art Morgan, the city’s director of public services, to take the steps needed to lift the ban, which has been in place since Exit 186 was built 12 years ago. That will involve going through the MDOT and FHA .
Maietta said he has been pleased with the Bangor project thus far and would like to tackle another project in the city.
“Everybody I’ve dealt with in Bangor has been really super to work with, and I’m anxious to work again up there in the future,” he said.