The Walmart Distribution Center in Lewiston is planning a $1.7 million expansion in two areas of the complex seen here Monday. In the foreground is the Lewiston Public Works Ops Center on River Road; in the background, the Gendron & Gendron sand pit. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

This week the Buzz is building, waiting and saying hi to one new neighbor from North Dakota.

First up: The Walmart Distribution Center is growing.

The Lewiston Planning Board on Monday night approved an 8,640-square-foot dispatch building and a 770-square-foot truck maintenance garage expansion at 31 Alfred Plourde Parkway, a combined $1.7 million project.

The work will remove 54 parking spaces, but with 332 spaces left, the company indicated in its application that it has plenty of room left.

A total of 532 people work at the center, 318 during the week and 214 on weekends, spread among three shifts.

The garage expansion, which is adding a truck bay, is on the southwest side of the property and new dispatch building on the northeast, according to consultants Kimley-Horn and Associates.

After the latest expansion, the 17-year-old facility will be 810,783 square feet, or just shy of three Auburn Malls.

SOLAR WORKS

Lewiston City Planner Doug Greene told the board that another new solar array proposal, this time on Taylor Hill Road, would be coming up for review soon.

Meanwhile, a few others are well underway: Daniel Serber, director of development at NextGrid, said Tuesday that the company has just completed site work at its Merrill Road (4.6 megawatt) and Lisbon Road (2 megawatt) solar sites in Lewiston, as well as on Lewiston Junction Road in Poland (4.9 megawatt).

NextGrid has $23 million in local investment planned between those three sites and two others.

For those first three, “we are just waiting on material deliveries at this point,” Serber said. “In-service dates will be closer to October than July now.”

ON THE MOVE

Tom Landry, broker/owner of Benchmark Real Estate in Portland, wrote a column in Mainebiz this week talking about which states people moved from when buying a single-family home in Maine in 2020.

No surprise, the No. 1 state was Maine — 70% of buyers were Mainers themselves, down from 75% the year before.

Asked by the Sun Journal about trends he sees for the Twin Cities, Landry said, “I do know that not only our (out-of-state) buyers are coming your way, but many in-state as well. As sellers who are also buyers cash out of greater Portland and hot coastal southern Maine locales, they are moving to our second tier markets, like L-A.”

He based his column on statistics compiled by the Maine Real Estate Information System, which compiles buyers-by-state stats every year and was kind enough to dust off 2019 for the Sun Journal.

The side-by-sides are interesting.

• The state in 2020 with the fewest buyers here, at just one: North Dakota. (In 2019, there were four.)

• In 2019, 197 buyers came from California. In 2020, 277.

• In 2019, 1,310 buyers came from Massachusetts. In 2020, 1,833.

• In 2019, 231 buyers came from New York. In 2020, 414.

Welcome to the neighborhood.

Quick hits about business comings, goings and happenings. Have a Buzzable tip? Contact staff writer Kathryn Skelton at 689-2844 or [email protected]

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