AUBURN — National doughnut retailer Krispy Kreme looks to expand into Maine this year, opening a shop on Center Street before Christmas 2016.

In a letter to the city of Auburn, R&D Resources of Auburn said it plans to take over the former Paris Farmers Union site at 410 Center St., as well as two surrounding lots, for a 1.2-acre, 7,600-square-foot retail plaza. The lots are located on the southwest corner of the Center Street-Dartmouth Street intersection.

A Krispy Kreme shop would anchor the southern end with a bakery and drive-through. At least two more national franchise tenants are expected for the rest of the space, according to the letter.

The store would be operational by Christmas.

North Carolina-based Krispy Kreme began touting its move into northern New England in February, saying it planned to open four franchise shops in New Hampshire and three in Maine in the next few years. The Auburn store becomes the first Krispy Kreme announced in Maine.

Mayor Jonathan LaBonte said the Planning Board is expected to review the project at its July meeting.

“It will certainly improve the aesthetics on that corner,” LaBonte said. “It’s been empty and tired for a while, so replacing it with a modern building will be nice.”

LaBonte credited city staff for helping to bring the franchise to Auburn. The franchise representative visited Auburn earlier this spring.

“He was met with digital maps of the potential sites, zoning, utilities, traffic counts and everything,” LaBonte said. “So he was able to see very quickly the kind of information that takes other communities more time to pull off. The fact that Auburn could be the first project to move in the state is a testament to what our staff can do.”

Krispy Kreme has 1,003 retail shops in 25 countries. By comparison, Canton, Mass.-based Dunkin’ Donuts has more than 11,000 shops and franchises worldwide.

Krispy Kreme is known for its “Hot Now” neon lights at each location that glow when fresh batches of doughnuts are available.

[email protected]