Burlington Developer Buys Up More Derby Land

DERBY – The Northeast Kingdom is getting closer to having more development between the Derby Road and Shattuck Hill Road.Jeff Davis, president of JL Davis in Burlington, confirmed yesterday that in June his firm purchased 10 acres from local developer Tony Tanguay for $600,000. The land adjoins the 19 acres Davis has owned since about 2005. The site is across from the former Lo’s Tavern on the Derby Road. “We feel good about the development potential of the property and wanted to have some more land over there,” said Davis.Tanguay also sold Davis an option to buy the Sherlaw property on Shattuck Hill Road for $56,000. The option runs about six more years.It’s too early for Davis to comment on the type of development that might happen on the property, but when asked, Davis said his firm is in negotiations with Walmart officials. If Walmart does come, it will be a Supercenter, as the company no longer builds simple discount stores, Davis has said. The St. Albans Walmart, which will break ground in late August or early September, will be the firm’s last retail-only store.“St. Albans, because it had been in the pipeline so long with the appeals, was a discount store,” said Davis. That store, he said, will be similar to the Williston Store.Davis acknowledged that a Supercenter might face opposition in the permit process. Supercenter stores tend to compete more with chain stores like Shaw’s and Price Chopper than they do with mom and pop stores. Davis doesn’t know if one of the existing stores will be forced to close, but said similar stores have survived in other communities.Davis’ firm, on behalf of Walmart, is looking at Paul Bruhn’s idea of having Walmart on Main Street in Newport City. Last March Bruhn, executive director of the Preservation Trust, pitched the idea to the Newport City Council. Davis said Bruhn’s proposal is too small for a Walmart Supercenter.Davis doesn’t know what the size of the store on his property would be, but said a typical Supercenter in a place like the Newport/Derby area is about 150,000 square feet. There is room on the property for smaller development like a restaurant, but because of the way the land is laid out, the development would not be another large store like Home Depot.Davis is hopeful there will be an answer within the next month or so. Development, if it happens, will have to go through the permit process.