Naples planners approve 9,000-square foot building

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

NAPLES — The owner of the building that houses the Umbrella Factory Supermarket and Subway fast food restaurant said there is a need for more retail space in Naples.

On a regular basis, Kevin Gagnon receives phone calls people who own existing businesses and are looking into the possibility of relocating to the Town of Naples. Other people inquire about starting a business. But, there is no rentable space at the Naples Shopping Center.

In the near future, there will be an alternative for entrepreneurs desiring to open a business in Naples.

On Tuesday, Gagnon closed on a real estate deal with the family that owns the property just west of the Aubuchon Hardware store.

About two hours after the real estate documents were signed by Gagnon and the seller, the Naples Planning Board approved his site plan for a 9,000 sq. ft. building set back from Route 302. The board made its decision after a site walk on the property.

The future building will be designed to house four or five retail stores, Gagnon said, adding he can tailor the size of the unit according to the needs of the business owner. His site plan also provided the necessary requirements like the installation of grease traps and proper plumbing for a future restaurant — should an entrepreneur be interested in that investment, he said.

Gagnon’s first order of business is to put up a sign, letting potential lessees know about the space that could be available next year.

The actual groundbreaking won’t happen until he has signed lease agreements in hand, he said.

However, the access and maintenance road is likely to go in this fall; and the Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT) has already approved the road project.

The curb cut will be directly across from the entrance to Naples Family Practice and Family Medicine. A few pine trees growing near Route 302 will be removed.

Gagnon plans to advertise the sale of the home near the roadway. He hopes that whoever buys it can move the structure.

One of the concerns of board member Barbara Adlard and the neighboring abutter was lighting from the retail building, especially during the evening hours.

“Many of us who have lived in Naples are concerned about lighting. We like to see the stars at night. I would like to see it focused down,” Adlard said.

Gagnon and Tom Greer, of Pinkham & Greer Civil Engineer said plans called for awnings that are lit from underneath to put reflection downward. Additionally, it would be LED lighting, creating a softer glow, they said.

The appearance of the building includes a fieldstone base with glass windows. The exterior look of the structure will continue around the sides, so that as a person travels toward the Causeway, they would see “an appealing view.”

Each unit would have its own narrow sidewalk with landscaping. The individual sidewalks would lead to a wider sidewalk.

“We think we have a pretty good design. It is neat and clean,” Greer said.

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