Developer Proposes to Raze Former Pizza Hut, Build Twice as Big

Valley News Business Writer
Published: 7/2/2016 11:50:17 PM
Modified: 7/7/2016 10:19:51 AM

West Lebanon — A commercial property developer is seeking to demolish the former Pizza Hut on Route 12A in West Lebanon and erect a building more than double the current size for retail, restaurant or medical office space.

August Bristol Pizza LLC, owned by South Portland, Maine-based Dead River Properties, will present its site plan before the Lebanon Planning Board at its July 11 meeting. If approved by the board, the next step will be for Dead River to seek a building permit.

The proposed single-story, 7,120-square-foot structure would include 3,750 square feet of medical office space, 1,760 square feet of retail space, and 1,600 square feet of restaurant-retail space, in addition to room for 41 parking spaces, according to the plan on file with the city’s zoning and planning department.

Dead River, which also owns the Kmart Plaza, North County Plaza and a portion of the Miracle Mile shopping plaza in Lebanon, did not respond to an email seeking comment.

The 2,679-square-foot Pizza Hut franchise, which opened in 1984, closed abruptly in November, joining several other shuttered businesses along the West Lebanon commercial strip, including Radio Shack, Friendly’s, The Mouse Menagerie gift store, used bookstore Encore, and a Shaw’s supermarket outlet.

But in recent months the corridor has shown an uptick in new retail business activity. Craft store chain Michaels is planning to move into the space presently occupied by Books-a-Million in the Wal-Mart and Price Chopper shopping center, while Books-a-Million will relocate to the Kmart Plaza. And last week, WS Development, the owner of the Upper Valley Plaza, submitted plans to build a $1.5-million PetSmart store in the vacant spot adjacent to the JCPenney store.

BJ’s Wholesale Club also has submitted plans to raze the former Friendly’s in order to build a BJ’s gas station, bringing the only gas station along the southbound lane of Route 12A in the West Lebanon shopping corridor since Irving Oil closed its station at Exit 20 in 2010 during the interchange overhaul.

Both the closed Irving Oil station and the closed Shaw’s market — both of which have sat vacant for unusually long periods — indicate the long waiting game both commercial property owners and lease holders are willing to play.

Irving Oil is waiting for the lease to expire on the adjacent Kleen laundry building so that it can expand its footprint and build a super-size convenience store and gas station, according to Upper Valley commercial real estate brokers.

And Shaw’s, which has a store in the Powerhouse Plaza, does not want to give up its lease on the vacant Upper Valley store lest another food market or retailer move in and compete with its groceries or household products business.

John Lippman can be reached at 603-727-3219 or

Valley News

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