MECHANIC FALLS — Town Manager Zakk Maher wants more business development at Five Corners, the junction of Routes 11 and 26.

To do so, Maher said recently, “You have to build the conversation in order to get it to be what we want.”

Shortly before Christmas, Maher posted a map of the Five Corners area with the comment: “Is your #business looking to relocate or expand? #MechanicFalls is working with local developers to find the right tenants for proposed buildings in front of Hannaford Supermarkets on the corner of Rt. 26 & Rt. 11. Contact the #TownOffice if you have questions.”

Maher’s post received several suggestions, including several fast-food restaurant names, a gym, Five Below, a discount-store chain that sells everything for under $5, and a laundromat.

“Our opportunity, especially with Five Corners, comes from the fact that we are one of the few towns that can have a walking downtown that is separate from a commercial box store district,” Maher said.

He said Mechanic Falls doesn’t have a “painfully congested Main Street” as do other towns. Maher believes the town can focus on the mixed used development downtown and “actually utilize the development around Five Corners” with that “box-store feel” without hurting the village image.

The recent addition of a Hannaford Supermarket at Five Corners has spurred interest in the locale.

In October, Maher and Fred Collins, the town’s code enforcement officer, met with Dan Catlin from Commercial Properties of Portland to discuss the potential development of the property abutting Hannaford.

That property outlined in the map is owned by a holding company named Mechanic Falls Ventures. Commercial Properties has “designed a preliminary plan with input from Hannaford to develop good internal traffic while maintaining site lines and consolidating signage.”

Maher said Commercial Properties has some service business in mind “but has asked the town to help find additional business parties to fill some storefronts.” The goal is to center on businesses that would “serve the needs of the community as well as the travelers on Route 26.”

There are water lines in the vicinity but sewer pipes would need to be extended from the railroad bridge on Route 11.

Maher plans to meet with members of the town’s Development Commission and inquire how Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments could assist in the undertaking.

A map shows property at Five Corners in Mechanic Falls that is owned by Mechanic Falls Ventures, a holding company. Town officials met with Commercial Properties of Portland to discuss potential development of property abutting Hannaford Supermarket at the top of the map. (Courtesy photo by Mechanic Falls)

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