AUGUSTA — A founding partner of the Marketplace at Augusta wants the city to make zoning changes to allow more ways for space to be used at the retail shopping center.

Local businessman Roger Pomerleau, a partner and founder of the shopping center development that includes Walmart, Home Depot, Kohl’s and other major national retail chains, wrote a letter to the city seeking zoning changes. The changes would allow, following a conditional use review by the Planning Board, warehousing and light manufacturing businesses, and small distilleries, breweries and bakeries in the Civic Center District where the Marketplace is located. Those are all uses not currently allowed in that zone.

Pomerleau said Monday the Marketplace is currently doing well in retail, with only a couple of small spaces vacant. There is, however, 10,000 square feet of “back room space” that could be used as a warehouse or for light manufacturing, for which the Marketplace has received inquiries from potential businesses.

“We’re trying to get more multi-use, to help keep us at 100 percent,” of its space filled, Pomerleau said.

“We’re always trying to keep one jump ahead, anticipating some shops will come and go,” he said. “We’d like to have a more complete mix.”

Pomerleau, in his letter to Augusta Development Director Matt Nazar, said the retail scene is constantly evolving and success is defined as survival by those who can anticipate changes and adapt in time to thrive. He wrote that changes are needed “to add to the flexibility that the Marketplace needs to keep our spaces full and productive.”

Space is available behind the former Linens ‘n Things location next to Home Depot, the front part of which is now occupied by multiple smaller retailers including Dressbarn, the Paper Store and Dreams Bridal Boutique. Pomerleau said the space has loading docks, 12-foot-high-ceilings and a parking lot to the rear of the building.

He said Marketplace’s owners would also like city zoning to be changed to allow breweries and brew pubs, small distilleries and bakeries in the zoning district encompassing the Marketplace. They also would like an increase in the allowable size of such businesses — from the current 5,000 square feet now in city ordinance to 10,000 square feet.

Bigger brew pubs have seating for more than 200 people, Pomerleau said, which would likely require more than 5,000 square feet of space to accommodate.

The Planning Board is expected to review the request at its Tuesday meeting, at which board members are also scheduled to review a proposal for a 250-unit apartment complex on Civic Center Drive just north of the Marketplace.

The proposal from Saxon Partners LLC, owned by YaYa’s Backyard Inc. and landowners George and Shirley Ezzy, calls for construction of two three-story buildings that would contain a total of 250 studio and one-bedroom apartments. The new rental units, according to application materials filed with the city for the proposal, would offer housing options for employees of the nearby MaineGeneral Medical Center and other surrounding medical facilities. Saxon, according to the application materials, recently initiated a program developing apartment buildings targeting employees of major hospitals meant to provide housing within easy commutes of medical facilities.

The property, with addresses of 375, 377, 379 and 391 Civic Center Drive, would be just south of the Augusta Elks Club. They would be accessed from a new entrance to be built at the Civic Center Drive and Leighton Road intersection, where there is already a traffic signal.

The 15-acre site is in the Planned Development District, where multiple-family dwellings are not permitted. Deputy City Planner Betsy Poulin noted in a review of the proposal, however, the property is in a location identified as an economic growth area in the 2007 Comprehensive Plan, which encourages mixed uses including some residential development.

The Planning Board meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday in council chambers at Augusta City Center.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

Twitter: @kedwardskj

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