Property at 435 and 443 Civic Center Drive, on left side, seen on Thursday, is the site of a proposed housing development on about 18 acres in Augusta. It is located across Civic Center Drive from an office complex, Skowhegan Savings Bank and Tractor Supply. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

AUGUSTA — A new housing development with as many as 400 residential units is proposed off Civic Center Drive at a time when municipal officials have pledged to expand housing options in the city.

The proposal, from local real estate agent and longtime area apartment building owner Jim Pepin, would build as many as 400 housing units in eight new buildings, with most of them condominiums and the rest of them market-rate apartments, ranging from one to three-bedrooms in size. Application documents state it would have 364 units, but Pepin said he hopes to win approval for up to 400.

They would be built at 435 and 443 Civic Center Drive on about 18 acres, with an entrance across Civic Center Drive from the Skowhegan Savings Bank branch there, near the offices of Maine Veterans’ Homes, some MaineGeneral medical practice buildings, and Tractor Supply. The property consists mostly of fields and woods, with one abandoned home that would be demolished as part of the project.

“There is a real big need for new condominiums in the greater Augusta area,” Pepin said. “I see a real big market in the age 50 plus for condominium style living, as well as for younger professionals. Augusta is a great community and a very central location for families that may work in and around Kennebec County.”

City councilors set increasing and improving housing in the city as their top goal for the year, to help address an ongoing shortage of available housing in the area.

Pepin said the development would be built one building at a time, with Planning Board approval to be sought for each building. He said if the full project gets built, with seven or eight buildings, it could be a $140 million development.


The proposal would require a zone change, because the district where it is located does not currently allow multi-family dwellings.

So Pepin, in a proposal scheduled to go to the Augusta Planning Board on Tuesday, is seeking a contract zone with the city, which would allow multi-family dwellings at that particular site but not the entire zoning district. Such zones in Augusta must also be approved by city councilors.

An artist’s rendering shows a 32-unit building proposed off Civic Center Drive in Augusta. The project plans call for 364 units, but the developer says he will seek approval for as many as 400 units. Rendering courtesy of Sakara Creative

Application materials filed with the city note the area around the proposed new development has seen tremendous commercial growth in recent decades, without much new housing where people working there could live.

“This area of Civic Center Drive has experienced severe growth in the last 20 years,” the documents state. “The one item missing from this is residential growth to compliment the commercial growth. The development is adjacent to the medical district and more particular to MaineGeneral’s main medical center. Housing is an important asset for medical staff looking for short-term or long-term housing needs. With the modern buildings located adjacent to the site and current land-use patterns the rezoning request appears to be consistent with the development within the area.”

The initial proposal states the development would eventually have 364 units, in eight, four-story buildings.

There would be a sidewalk throughout the development. Application materials note there is no sidewalk currently on that area of Civic Center Drive, but the developer anticipates the Maine Department of Transportation would likely require that one be installed once the project generates enough traffic, estimated at more than 100 trips in the peak travel hour.


Property at 435 and 443 Civic Center Drive, on left side, seen on Thursday, is the site of a proposed housing development on about 18 acres in Augusta. It is located across Civic Center Drive from an office complex, Skowhegan Savings Bank and Tractor Supply. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Pepin is a developer, real estate agent and landlord who owned dozens of smaller, older, apartment buildings in central Maine until he sold them in 2020.

He said the 32 units in the first proposed building would all be three-bedroom, two-bathroom units and average about 1,900 square feet. He said the condominiums are projected to sell in the range of $375,000 to $395,000.

“They will be large and spacious with great amenities and a good opportunity for a home office,” Pepin said of the condominiums. “The four-story building will have an elevator, common area, and each unit will have its own garage with additional storage space.”

Another large housing proposal was presented to the Planning Board in June, but has not gone to the board for more formal consideration yet, and would build 260 market-rate apartments in a new five-building complex proposed to be built off Eight Rod Road.

And Saxon Partners received a tax break from the city to help construct 250 rental units off Civic Center Drive just south of Pepin’s proposed project, but work on that project has not yet taken place.

The Planning Board is scheduled to consider the proposed contract zone at its meeting Tuesday, which begins at 7 p.m.

Board members are also scheduled to take a second look at a proposal to convert the Olde Federal Building that sits prominently in the city’s downtown from a mostly office use into luxury apartments with some retail space. In November, board members tabled action on that proposal and asked for more information from the developer to address concerns about the project.

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