L.L.Bean Unveils Village Center Retail Project
FREEPORT, ME, September 6, 2006 - L.L.Bean and partner/developer Berenson Associates Inc. of Boston have announced plans to build a new retail, restaurant and parking complex on the site of the current L.L.Bean Outlet Store and parking lot on Depot and Mill streets.
Pending approval by town officials, the new "Village Center" will sit on 3.6 acres owned by L.L.Bean and would provide 113,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space and 550 parking spaces in the underlying structure. "In November 2002, the Freeport Vision 2010 task force proposed some very specific retail and experiential improvements for the downtown, including a broader retail assortment and central structured parking," said Chris McCormick, President and CEO of L.L.Bean. "What you see here is a direct reflection of the efforts of many to make those recommendations a reality, and is the culmination of years of planning and careful thinking about how to take Freeport Village – the original lifestyle shopping venue – to the next level as a premier destination."
Plans revealed by Berenson and architectural partner Arrowstreet Inc. at town offices last evening show two levels of parking accessible from Depot and Mill streets, underneath a retail complex directly accessible from Main Street. The structure and center will be designed to integrate with the character and architectural history of Freeport, and is estimated to cost roughly $40 million. "Berenson Associates is excited to bring our decades of shopping center development experience to create a state-of-the-art lifestyle center in downtown Freeport," said Al Yebba, Berenson's Chief Operating Officer and development director for the venture. "We believe this project will enhance the character of the village and serve the needs of today's consumers."
To enable the development, L.L.Bean will move the L.L.Bean Outlet Store from its current location to the company's Flagship Store campus across the street. The company confirmed that the relocation of its Outlet Store is part of a soon-to-be-announced revamp of its Freeport retail campus. This will include a larger Hunting and Fishing Store, expanded green space, and other improvements to create more open activity space directly accessible from Main Street, in the current parking area behind the company's new Bike/Ski building.
"When you couple our warehouse and distribution center expansion project with the announcements made here today, it means over $80 million of new investment will take place in Freeport over the next few years," concluded McCormick. "It already represents the single largest parcel of investments ever made by our company in Freeport, and there may be even more to come."