Exterior concept rendering of the renovations planned at L.L. Bean in Freeport. Courtesy of Arrowstreet, WBRC, Sebago

L.L. Bean last week revealed details of its $50 million multi-year plan to overhaul its downtown Freeport campus.

The retail giant says its “Freeport Experience” project will bring a more accessible, immersive shopping experience and open up more space for events. The plan includes new entrance displays, an expansion of Discovery Park, more food options, and upgraded pathways and parking lots.

“Freeport has been our home for over 110 years, and our retail campus has evolved into the unofficial hub of downtown,” said Shawn Gorman, executive chairperson and great-grandson of the company’s founder Leon Leonwood Bean, in a press release. “We’ve fully embraced that identity and are building for our shared future by creating a best-in-class retail experience surrounding an enhanced outdoor space for all to enjoy right in the center of town.”

Planned exterior upgrades

• A redesign of the street-level entrance and façade at the intersection of Bow and Main streets, featuring a new bike shop.
• Demolition of the current boat, bike and ski shop on Main Street and removal of the Moose Parking Lot located between Ben & Jerry’s and the L.L. Bean Home Store to create more open lawn area for the summer concerts series in Discovery Park.
• Paved access ramps connecting Discovery Park and Freeport Village Station.
• New infrastructure to support outdoor events, landscaped beds and paved trails.
• Updated pedestrian lighting, irrigation systems, and trash and recycling receptacles.
• The Morse Street building housing the camping department will be replaced by the “Bean Boot Main Entrance” connected to Discovery Park. The exterior design of the building will more closely match the hunting and fishing store.
• The Black Bear Parking Lot located on the corner of Cross and Nathan Nye streets will be reworked to accommodate a new drop-off lane and additional accessible parking.

Changes to the interior will take place over the next few months, including a new trout and salmon pond, the co-locating of all outdoor equipment and added food options.

“Once complete, the renewed store and campus will provide an unrivaled shopping journey, expanded community engagement opportunities, improved accessibility, a beautiful connection to Main Street,and a reaffirmation of the company’s commitment to its hometown of Freeport,” said L.L. Bean spokesperson Jason Sulham.

Sulham said they do not have an estimated completion date.

The store will maintain its regular operating hours during the project, but customers can expect to see a few changes inside. The 1912 Cafe will remain closed for the time being, Coffee By Design will be leaving on May 31 and the aquarium will be relocated, according to a press release.

“We receive about 3 million visitors per year. This reimagining is really for the customers and stakeholders who have invested in us,” said Greg Elder, chief retail officer at L.L. Bean, in a press release. “We are rewarding their affinity with a multi-million-dollar reinvestment that celebrates our legacy while creating an even better experience at our beloved flagship.”

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