ROCKLAND, Maine — Ocean State Job Lot has signed a purchase and sales agreement to acquire the Walmart building in Rockland, which is expected to be vacated by fall.
The purchase is not yet final but David Sarlitto, director of marketing for Ocean State, said Thursday afternoon that the company hopes to open in Rockland by March 2014.
Wal-Mart is planning on opening a new Supercenter store in neighboring Thomaston by fall. That would have left a vacant 94,000-square-foot building on Route 1 in Rockland.
Ocean State is always looking for good real estate opportunities to expand and the Rockland site fit the requirements, Sarlitto said. He said the building is in good shape but that Ocean State will have it worked on so that part of the space not used by Ocean State will be rented out to other tenants.
Ocean State has grown from a single store in North Kingstown, R.I., to 109 stores throughout New England and New York. Ocean State has four stores in Maine — in Bangor, Belfast, Oxford and Sanford. Sarlitto said the company has purchased other properties vacated by Wal-Mart including the most recent one in March in Derry, N.H., when Wal-Mart built a Supercenter in another location in that New Hampshire community.
An Ocean State store employs 30 to 40 employees, the director of marketing said.
The building on Camden Street was built by Wal-Mart in 1993.
Rockland has been studying the future of the section of Route 1 known as Camden Street, along with its neighbor Rockport, for more than a year although municipal officials said it was not due only to the announced departure of Wal-Mart.
Rockland Mayor Will Clayton said he was happy to see another large business will move into the property.
“This is a welcome addition to the community and that area of the city where there was concern about a building sitting vacant for an extended period of time. I am appreciative of Wal-Mart for actively pursuing a buyer as well since the city has been asking them to do so,” Clayton said.
The mayor said the city has a great group of residents on the Rockland Economic Development Advisory Committee that have focused their energy on Camden Street and “this should be exciting news to them as well, as they continue to create a vision for our northern end of the city.”
“Ocean State Job Lot will see the positive community we have and personally I look forward to meeting them and welcoming them to the city,” the mayor said.