A site plan drawing submitted to the town of Kittery by Portsmouth, N.H., engineering firm Hoyle, Tanner & Associates for the proposed Dennett Landing project.
An ambitious $300 million development with 900 housing units, an assisted living center, offices, retail space and other amenities is being proposed in Kittery to provide a significant increase in housing in southern Maine.
The project, called Dennett Landing, would go in an 82-acre stretch of previously undeveloped land west of the Maine Turnpike. Town officials have said it may take the rest of the year to review the proposal, although it meets the current zoning of the land. The Kittery Planning Board took an initial look at the plans last week, and more meetings are expected.
“We think it’s going to be a phenomenal success,” said Sheila Grant, one of the developers.
Grant, who grew up in Eliot, said she plans on living in the development, so she wants to make sure it comes off as designed.
The development as proposed will have 11 distinct units, four of them exclusively residential with either three-story townhouses or four-story buildings with studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units. There will also be a brewery, intended as a community gathering point; about 30,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space; a medical or office building; a laboratory or life sciences building; an assisted living center; and a day care center.
Shawn Tobey, project manager for the Portsmouth engineering firm Hoyle, Tanner & Associates, said the development will work around existing wetlands on the site and also include walking and biking paths.
“From Portland to Boston, there’s a crunch for housing” that the development would seek to ease, Tobey said. He said studies have pointed to the need for more housing in southern Maine, particularly for workers at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.
There was a gravel pit on the property that was used when the southern end of the Maine Turnpike was realigned in the 1970s but other than that, the land is “open woods,” Tobey said.
Grant said the developers hope to retain that natural look as much as possible and plan to create “a robust downtown” within the project itself.
She said two pedestrian bridges will cross the wetlands and the developers also envision a dock or boardwalk to give the community access to the water – Spinney Creek is nearby.
“We believe this broad mix will make Dennett Landing a fabulous place to live, work and play,” she said.
Although she has spent most of her development career doing projects elsewhere, Grant said she’s looking forward to returning to her roots and is sensitive to the impact a large development can have on that part of Kittery.
“I’m a local and I care about the area,” she said.
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