The Berlin City Auto Group wants to tear down its Honda dealership across from the Maine Mall in South Portland and replace it with a new facility.

City officials say the project would improve the handling of stormwater runoff, which drains into Long Creek from many developments in the mall area.

Company officials hope to begin construction in late summer, pending planning board approval. The auto group expects to meet with the board in July.

The project calls for demolishing three buildings and replacing them with a single, 27,320-square-foot Honda sales and service center.
Berlin City has four buildings at its site on Maine Mall Road. The building housing a Nissan dealership will remain standing and receive minor upgrades.

Yegor Malinovskii, Berlin City’s market president, said the company wanted to expand to reflect the look of the national Honda image.
Malinovskii said the new facility will house a parts and service area that will be three times the size of the present one.

“We have seen steady growth for the past year. It gives us the optimism to build a new facility like this,” he said.

The work is expected to take 10 months. During that time, employees will work from a used car building on the site. When the facility is complete, the used car building will be demolished and the space will be used to display cars on the lot, Malinovskii said. He said the expansion will add 20 to 30 jobs.

The South Portland Planning Board has not yet reviewed Berlin City’s site plans.

Steve Puleo, the city’s community planner, said the project needs an approved stormwater management plan from the state Department of Environmental Protection before it can be reviewed by the city.

He said the project, estimated to cost $6 million, could benefit the Long Creek watershed by reducing pollution from stormwater runoff, which washes harmful chemicals into the creek from parking lots and other hard surfaces.

“It will also improve the look of the corner greatly (and) allow the city to regulate by permitting the number of vehicles on display,” Puleo said.

Berlin City said it sells about 500 to 600 cars a month at its four locations in Portland and South Portland. The company services 70 to 100 cars a day at its Maine Mall location.

Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at:

[email protected]

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