An architect’s rendering of two mixed-use buildings for a project called The Shops at Falmouth Center along Route 1 in Falmouth. Contributed / Gorrill Palmer

A local developer has proposed erecting two mixed-use buildings for a project called The Shops at Falmouth Center along Route 1 in Falmouth.

Steve Baumann wants to build at 271 and 291 U.S. Route 1, adjacent to the Falmouth Shopping Center in the wooded area north of the Irving gas station.

A two-story building at number 271 would encompass 11,000 square feet on each floor, with retail on the ground floor and office space above. The other building would be five stories, with retail at street level and 46 market-rate, one- and two-bedroom apartments on four floors spread over approximately 21,800 square feet.

Four residents at Planning Board meeting this month supported the project and said they were excited at the prospect of more residential housing and development of the village center. Bonny Rodden, in a letter to the board, proposed adding a rain garden on the property to improve storm water drainage, create a focal point for the center and help absorb carbon emissions that contribute to climate change.

A local developer is proposing a project at 271 and 291 U.S. Route 1 in the wooded area north of the Irving gas station. Rachel Vitello / For The Forecaster

“The 2-acre parking lot could be covered by a rain garden, a massive green roof covering the 80 parking spaces, rather than the proposed striped blacktop which would merely match the Shopping Center next door,” Rodden wrote. “Falmouth residents have said they want a community gathering space and the use of sustainable practices to protect our children’s future. A rain garden would be cutting edge and, like our school system, an example of excellence for the entire state. It would make the developer and his professional team paragons of innovation, leaders in suburban design that could be emulated throughout the nation.”

One resident had concerns about the impact of additional development at the site to both the “sensitive waterways” nearby – including Mill Creek – as well as traffic on Route 1.


There would also be parking below grade in a covered garage in the second building with 121 parking spaces, 87 of those at surface level and 54 in the garage. A shared parking program with the plaza is also under consideration.

The buildings would share some utilities with the plaza, principally the sewer connection and access. Water, natural gas, and power will be serviced independently, according to engineer Stephen Bushey of Gorrill Palmer.

Braden Drypolcher of landscape architects Mitchell & Associates said improvements to the site would focus on plantings to highlight intersections, patios and outdoor spaces. There are plans to integrate wildflower and other types of gardens in the meadows throughout the site to reinforce local ecology. The landscapers also hope to incorporate murals and sculptures to provide “visual interest and enhance the pedestrian experience,” according to a presentation at the Planning Board meeting.

Town staff inquired about trail connectivity and the fire department requested that two additional fire hydrants be installed on the site.

“We have a trail system coming out of the resident area,” Drypolcher said in response. “That trail system would go off in a 32-acre parcel and we would go in and use natural footpaths out there. While we haven’t gone out and walked those paths, we have a good idea of what they are. For right now, we’ve provided trailhead, wayfinding and things like that as it goes forward.”

The buildings would be in the Village Center 1 zone, and, “(The ordinance for the zoning district) is asked to provide mixed-use development and a greater intensity of land use,” architect Katherine Lermond said. “With the housing crisis going on and the difficulty of finding a one-bedroom in Falmouth, this is something that’s very much in-need in the area.”

Baumann, the developer, has submitted a pre-application sketch plan review and needs to submit a sketch plan for the Planning Board, which next meets Sept. 6 at 6:30 p.m. at Falmouth Town Hall, 271 Falmouth Road, and via livestream at, where more information can be found.

Comments are not available on this story.