ROCKLAND, Maine ― A hardware manufacturing company is looking to build a $1.7 million factory in a recently created business park zone within the city.
Lowe Hardware, a local maker of architectural and marine hardware, has been operating in Rockland since 2008. The company has outgrown its existing facility and has submitted a proposal to construct a new building on Pleasant Street.
The business would be the second in two years to move to Pleasant Street, after the city changed zoning rules for five lots to allow for business and light industrial uses. City officials created the new Pleasant Street business park zone in an attempt to attract new businesses and allow existing businesses to expand since there is a shortage of developable land available for commercial uses in Rockland.
As businesses relocate to Pleasant Street, Rockland City Manager Tom Luttrell said the zoning change has spurred the type of progress the city had hoped it would.
“[O]ur intent was to create a business zone to entice business to come,” Luttrell said. “That’s where it is really beneficial for our tax base to grow, valuation wise.”
The Rockland Planning Board is currently reviewing Lowe Hardware’s building permit application. The board will conduct a site walk and hold a public hearing on Tuesday before deciding if it will grant the proposal approval.
Lowe Hardware is proposing to build the 22,900 square foot facility on a five-acre parcel located at 150 Pleasant St., which company owner Elliot Lowe purchased in 2019. Lowe said the company is in need of a larger space to keep up with a growing workload, as well as a larger parking area for employees.
The new facility would be located next door to Sierra Peaks, an electrical systems manufacturer that relocated from Camden to Rockland shortly after the Pleasant Street business park zone was created in 2019.
In addition to enticing new business to the city, officials have said allowing light industrial businesses to operate on Pleasant Street could also potentially free up space in the nearby Rockland Industrial Park, which has been at capacity for years.
That could happen if the Lowe Hardware proposal is approved.
Lowe Hardware’s current facility is located within the Rockland Industrial Park on Gordon Drive. The company will either sell or rent the building when the new Pleasant Street facility is complete, Lowe said.
With Lowe Hardware and Sierra Peaks owning the two biggest parcels within the Pleasant Street business park zone, Luttrell said for the area to be developed more the two companies would have to allow other businesses to build on their properties.
If the planning board approves the proposal for 150 Pleasant St., Lowe is hopeful the new facility will be completed by the fall of 2023.