LEWISTON – The next step in luring a new trucking terminal to the city’s growing logistics hub comes before the Planning Board on Monday.

Planners will consider whether to ease zoning restrictions on a section of River Road to allow for developers Gendron & Gendron to pursue a deal with Estes Express Line. The Virginia-based trucking company has been looking for a location in the area for more than a year, and is interested in property near the Gendron Business Park, which is home to Max Finkelstein tire distributor. The Wal-Mart distribution center and Maine Turnpike are also nearby.

“We’re feeling pretty confident at this point,” said Lincoln Jeffers, city development director. Lewiston and Auburn have been trying to attract logistics companies to capitalize on their access to the Turnpike, rail lines, municipal airport and Foreign Trade Zone designation.

An agreement for Lewiston to sell a small parcel of land off River Road to the Gendron family for $125,000 has already been approved by the City Council. The developers needed the city land to add to its own property to make a parcel big enough to site a trucking terminal for Estes.

“There’s probably six or seven acres of developable land there,” said Dave Hediger, city planner, of the combined properties.

The agreement is predicated on the Gendrons signing a deal with Estes – or providing an alternate plan for $800,000 of investment there – within two years of purchasing the parcel. The closing is scheduled for March 30.

Jeffers said Estes plans to build a cross-dock terminal, where products arrive via truck and are mixed with products from other trucks. Then the combined inventories are loaded onto outgoing trucks. He was unsure how many jobs the project would provide.

Planners are being asked to drop some restrictions that were placed on property across from the proposed site at 380 River Road. The restrictions – on buffer zones and traffic – were added in 2002 when the property was rezoned from Rural Agricultural to Industrial and were designed to protect neighbors who lived there.

Since then, the Gendrons have purchased the four homes across from its land, so the additional restrictions “are no longer necessary,” according to the application before the board.

If planners approve the change, it must go before the city council again.

Estes Express Lines is a family-owned trucking company with 175 terminals that serve the United States and Canada. It employs more than 13,000 people and reported revenues of almost $1.5 billion in 2005.

It has one other facility in Maine, a terminal in Scarborough.



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