A Westbrook official says a mysterious company that opposes a new shopping center in the city is dropping its legal challenge to the project.

Westbrook’s attorneys were notified that Westbrook Property Holding LLC intends to withdraw a lawsuit it filed in Cumberland County court against the city and Dirigo Center Developers, City Administrator Jerre Bryant said.

No paperwork had been filed to stop the lawsuit as of Wednesday.

“I have nothing in hand saying it was done, but it has been represented to us that is going to happen, if not imminently then soon,” Bryant said.

In the lawsuit it filed in October, Westbrook Property Holding asked the court to overturn the planning board’s approval of a site plan for a new shopping center anchored by a Market Basket supermarket between Main Street and Larrabee Road.

Westbrook Property Holding said the “gateway zone,” where the project is under construction, did not explicitly allow grocery stores and the project’s approval violated its due process rights, among other complaints.

The city says there is nothing wrong with the planning board’s decision and that grocery stores are an approved use in the development zone.

It is unclear who is behind Westbrook Property Holding.

The company’s address is a third-floor, one-bedroom apartment on Brown Street in Westbrook, about a mile and a half from the planned development. There had been speculation that a competitor was behind the action, but the state’s two largest grocery chains – Shaw’s and Hannaford – say they have no connection to the lawsuit.

Michael Vaillancourt, an attorney for Westbrook Property Holding, did not respond to multiple interview requests Wednesday.

“I’m very pleased” the suit has been dropped, Bryant said. “We quite strongly did not feel the case had merit, and obviously had some concerns about the practice and motivation of it.”

Waterstone Properties Group, the Massachusetts company that owns Dirigo Center Developers, also received notification the case would be withdrawn.

“I’m glad to see it go away,” Waterstone principal Josh Levy said. “I’m not surprised because it really was frivolous and negative wasted energy.”

The shopping center is planned as the first part of a 66-acre complex on a former quarry that will include outdoor entertainment, a food and beer hall, apartments, walking trails and shopping.

The developer expects to complete an outdoor amphitheater by Memorial Day weekend 2019 and the shopping center by next December, Levy said.

“We have continued full speed, it has not slowed us down,” Levy said of the suit. “We are moving forward with a great project that has a lot of benefits.”

Peter McGuire can be contacted at 791-6325 or at:

[email protected]

filed under:

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.