AUBURN — Bedard Medical will move their main offices and medical equipment showroom to the former Gooseberry Barn property on the corner of Minot and Fairview avenues.
Councilors gave their preliminary approval to the plan at Monday's regular meeting, even though the plan didn't contain a sale price for the property or a complete engineering plan.
"I'm very happy to see this happen," Councilor Dan Herrick said. "I'm ready to get this back on the tax rolls."
The city took over the 3.8 acre lot in 2007, paying $625,000. The owners agreed to spend $10,000 to demolish the building on the lot and pay about $21,000 in back property taxes.
According to the new plan, Bedard will build four buildings along the Fairview Avenue side of the lot over several years. The first two buildings would be a three-story office and showroom building and a climate-controlled warehouse. Work on those two buildings could begin in July.
A second phase could include a retail pharmacy and fourth multiple-purpose building.
The plan preserves trees and landscaping along Fairview Avenue, bringing all traffic onto the site from Minot Avenue. The developer plans to build a new entrance that will be shared with nearby Fairview Elementary. President Mike Nadeau said the company will share its parking lot with the school, providing overflow parking for school events.
Economic Development Director Roland Miller said the company has worked with the school and neighbors. The plan calls for reducing entrances onto the lot and building a walking path to make it easier for Fairview students to reach the school.
But Miller said it was too soon to reveal the sale price Bedard would pay the city. He said plans call for a Tax Increment Finance District for the property to return a portion of new property taxes to the developers.
"There are many details that are tied together on this project, and they can all influence each other," Miller said. "That includes the construction costs, the TIF district, negotiations with the bank and the price of the land. We need to work out a few more details before we can settle that."
After an executive session to discuss those details, councilors voted unanimously to let City Manager Glenn Aho negotiate a sale agreement.
Annette Nadeau, financial officer for the company, said they planned to maintain their other properties and retail outlets in Lewiston when the new property opens. They have offices on Lisbon, College and Horton streets in Lewiston.