LEWISTON — The city would contribute an estimated $1.2 million to help prepare a site at Turnpike Exit 80 for development including a retail anchor.

Lincoln Jeffers, director of economic and community development for Lewiston, told the City Council on Tuesday that the rest of the cost would be covered by landowner Dave Gendron and the retailer.

Gendron is in talks with an undisclosed retailer to begin development on a 56-acre parcel of the 426-acre lot. This retailer would take up 160,000 square feet of the total 540,000 allotted for retail on his land. The goal is to have more businesses and restaurants once this “anchor” is in place.

If the city agrees to help pay for the “extraordinary costs” of preparing the site, a 20- or 30-year tax-increment financing district would be created.

According to Mike Gotto of Stoneybrook Consultants, the development over time would pay for itself with the returns. 

City Administrator Edward Barrett said that after the development, the city will always be paid first annually, based on the tax revenue, before Gendron’s 40 percent cut for the duration of the TIF agreement. 


Second, if the retailer backs out of the deal, Gendron will cover all of the city’s costs.

If the costs become unreasonable or unmanageable, the city can decide not to move forward with the deal. 

To make the land suitable for development, a new access road from the exit would have to be constructed. To do so, a pipeline would have to be moved, which is a large portion of the expense. 

An extension to the water and sewer lines would also have to be in place, as well as increased water pressure to the entire Gendron Park area. 

The biggest issues is 300,000 square yards of ledge that would have to be removed. 

Due to the recent renovation of Exit 80, there would also have to be a 50-foot retaining wall to ensure proper safety codes are met. 


This initial investment would avoid the need for any future city contribution to the land with future developments, Jeffers said. 

Gendron is hopeful that this will inspire further development on his land and in the city of Lewiston. 

“Lewiston, especially around Exit 80, has been a target area for development for many a year,” Jeffers said. “The city has already invested a large amount of money over the years to this location.”

Former mayoral candidate Steve Morgan applauded the work the city and Gendron had done on this plan.

“I think this is a win-win for everyone,” he said. “Bring business back into Lewiston to fill the city coffers. It’s a perfect way to decrease taxes.”

Jared Lussier, a local entrepreneur, said his concern is the the location.


“Financially, I have no objections,” he said. “However, I do have a concern about place. Development like this maxes out.”

Lussier wants the city to focus more on developing local and smaller business instead of bigger businesses that don’t necessarily promote the community. 

Councilor Shane Bouchard addressed that concern by saying it’s not an all-or- nothing community.

“We can work on Exit 80 and work on downtown,” he said. “We should and could invest in business, small and large.”

Gendron will finance a traffic study and present his findings to the council, as well as more specific calculations, on Dec. 29, when an initial vote by the council is set to take place. 

This story was updated at 10:19 a.m. to correct the amount of ledge on the site.

MORE COVERAGE: Lewiston’s big retail proposal generates big speculation, dissent

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