WATERVILLE — Construction of a 6,384-square-foot addition to Pine Tree Mall at 369 Main St. will start soon to make way for a Harbor Freight tools and equipment retail store.

Meanwhile, an announcement is expected soon about a restaurant to be housed in the former Friendly’s restaurant nearby in that same area of upper Main Street, near exit 130 of Interstate 95.

Harbor Freight, with headquarters in Calabasas, California, carries power, air and hand tools, as well as floor jacks, gas generators, welding equipment, winches and tool storage items, among other things.

The addition will be built onto the north end of the mall where the former 8,691-square-foot Aaron’s rental store is located, and Harbor Freight will include that space as well as the addition, for a total of 15,075 square feet.

Project broker Charlie Craig, a partner in the Dunham Group, of Portland, said Friday that officials hope to break ground in April or May and complete construction about three months afterward — by the end of the summer.

“We’ve been working with Harbor Freight for the past year, negotiating a lease, and we got that signed,” Craig said. “We think they’re going to be a great store for Waterville. It also enables us to expand development as well.”

Founded in 1977, Harbor Freight has 700 stores in 47 states and employs more than 17,000 people. In Maine, Harbor Freight has stores in South Portland, Bangor and Auburn.

Craig also is brokering a lease for the former Friendly’s building just west of the mall. He said he expects a new tenant to be named within a month.

“There is announcement forthcoming — a new tenant for the former Friendly’s,” he said. “It’s a restaurant that likely will be very popular.”

Businesses now in the Pine Tree Mall include the Ming Lee restaurant and Advance Auto Parts. The Cigaret Shopper on nearby Armory Road also is part of the development, which is owned by Sanderson Development. Craig said two more buildings are available for lease on the lot — the former Jiffy Lube, which is 2,500 square feet; and a 39,000-square-foot warehouse at 10 Armory Road that is the former Huhtamaki machine shop.

“It would be good for predominantly a warehouse or manufacturing, but it also has some retail possibility, too, in terms of a redevelopment of it,” Craig said of the warehouse building.

The Waterville Planning Board on Monday voted 7-0 to approved revisions to a previously approved site plan for the 6,384-square-foot addition to the mall under the city’s subdivision and site plan review ordinance. Project engineer Chip Haskell of CES, Inc., of Brewer, represented the landowner, Sanderson Development, LLC, and the applicant, Maine Crossroads, LLC, and presented the plans. The developer will pave the existing road behind the building and parking to the north of the building, and no new driveways will be created as part of the project. All existing utilities will remain in place.

According to the site plan, four to five employees will work at the Harbor Freight store per shift, with two shifts to be held between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Ten employees would be on site once a week to help unload a delivery truck, according to the plan.

The developer provided letters of approval from Waterville Fire Chief David LaFountain; City Engineer Greg Brown; John Jansen, superintendent of the Waterville Sewerage District; and Jefferson Longfellow, of the Kennebec Water District.

Conditions of approval include a provision that if the developer makes a new connection to the sewerage district sanitary system, the district will charge a connection fee, and all sanitary sewerage work must be performed in accordance with district requirements, including air testing on all new lines and vacuum testing of manholes; and it is to be done under supervision of the district. If there are perimeter drains and roof drains in the final building design, they shall be connected only to the mall’s storm drainage system, according to conditions.

If there are any proposed changes to the mall’s current drainage system, the developer must provide the district with a copy of the proposed plan for review and approval. The developer also must provide a state fire marshal’s office review of upgrades, exits and fire protection systems, as well as an emergency action plan prior to building occupancy.

Planning Board member Jessica Laliberte made the motion to approve the plan, with conditions; board member Lauren LePage seconded the motion.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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