FREEPORT — The Town Council was expected to discuss a 30-year, $10 million tax break for L.L.Bean on Tuesday night.

The project would greatly expand, enhance and modernize the company’s corporate headquarters, adding a second floor to the main building that would bring the campus to a total of about 400,000 square feet. The estimated cost is $110 million, which includes about $80 million for construction. The rest of the cost is for furniture, fixtures and equipment.

Under the proposal, the estimated tax due on the property over the first 30 years would be about $35 million, according to Jeanne Sanders, L.L.Bean’s tax director.

The three-phase project is scheduled for completion in 2024; there is no estimated start date because the project still has to go through Planning Board and Town Council review. The Planning Board has postponed several meetings already because of the coronavirus pandemic. A public hearing and possible council vote is tentatively scheduled for April 7, but that could also be postponed due to the outbreak.

The meeting was scheduled after The Forecaster’s deadline. Due to ongoing concerns over the COVID-19 coronavirus, members of the public were discouraged from attending Tuesday’s meeting, which can be streamed at

David Lockman, L.L.Bean’s director of real estate and construction, told the council in February that the company identified five community benefits as a result of the project, with the biggest being that L.L.Bean remains in Freeport. The company had considered leaving its Freeport offices before deciding to pursue a tax agreement and expand its downtown corporate campus.


The project calls for a 900-seat event center that would be open for community use, and Lockman said the company would include stormwater treatment improvements.

There is a proposal to connect a trail system from West Street to Pine Street, and Lockman said L.L.Bean envisions a multi-use trail that would accommodate bicycles and strollers. The fifth benefit is the construction of a new baseball field on Pownal Road that would, in essence, replace the Little League field that used to be on L.L.Bean’s campus.

The company is seeking to be reimbursed for $9.5 million worth of stormwater improvements and $500,000 for public trails. Without a tax break, the stormwater aspect of the project will be scaled back to just $1 million, according to Lockman.

L.L.Bean is not seeking to be reimbursed for $2 million worth of stormwater improvements now underway, or the $3 million cost to build the 900-seat event center and a $25,000 donation to Freeport Little League to replace the baseball field.

Efforts to reach Town Manager Peter Joseph were unsuccessful.

Councilor Eric Horne said he’s hopeful negotiations between the council and L.L.Bean will lead to a healthy balance between the needs of Freeport’s residents and those of L.L.Bean.

“We are making good progress with our ongoing negotiations as we work in partnership with the town of Freeport and Freeport Economic Development Corp on the details of the TIF (Tax Increment Financing) proposal,” Carolyn Beam, a public affairs manager for the Freeport-based retail giant, said.

Keith McBride, executive director of the Freeport Economic Development Corporation, said the proposal for a tax break creates an opportunity for the town to address a pressing environmental issue (at Concord Gully Brook). It also has the potential to be a funding mechanism for other public infrastructure projects in the community for which funds would be targeted.

“It’s ultimately the council’s decision, and what it will come down to, I believe, is priorities and values,” McBride said. “If the community feels that this TIF will complete projects of high enough priority and also provide value commensurate with the credit enhancement agreement, then they should absolutely take this opportunity to partner with our friends at L.L.Bean.”

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