A Waterville medical marijuana franchise is looking to expand into Bangor and set up shop at a former Shell gas station on Main Street as the legal marijuana industry has commanded most of the area’s available commercial space.
Maple Valley Pharms, a medical marijuana company that operates a shop in Waterville, is in the process of buying the defunct filling station at 395 Main St., according to owner Hunter Violette, who runs the company with his father Tony.
The Violettes are seeking an exemption to a city rule that bans marijuana sales within 300 feet of a residence, according to city records and code enforcement director Jeff Wallace.
The gas station, which has been vacant for several years, is steps away from several apartment buildings and private homes on Walter Street, requiring an appeals board hearing, Wallace said. A board of appeals hearing is set for March 24.
Mac’s Convenience Stores, an Ohio-based firm that operates convenience stores and gas stations throughout the U.S., previously owned the property, according to city records.
The lot and building were valued at $460,400 in 2021, according to assessment records.
The property is dilapidated, Violette said. He and his father sought approval from nearby residents, 20 of whom signed a letter in support of Maple Valley Pharms moving into the property.
Maple Valley plans to operate both a medical dispensary and an adult-use recreational shop there if the city grants its approval, Violette said.
He and his father plan to conduct environmental studies and landscape and renovate the property, which some unhoused Bangor residents have used as shelter since the gas station closed down.
“The residents would like to see something there rather than nothing,” said Violette, who said he used to drive by the property when he attended the nearby University of Maine. “It’s going to be a challenge for Bangor to give us a variance but it’d be great to have it, it’s in a great area.”
The Bangor area has limited commercial space due to high demand for both retail and warehouse space as the Maine marijuana industry has taken off.
Retailers conducted $82 million in sales last year, according to state data.
Bangor has seen a handful of recreational marijuana shops open since recreational sales began in October 2020.