BANGOR, Maine — The company planning to turn a downtown Biddeford mill into a hotel and apartments has postponed the hotel portion of its project and wants to use the extra space to double the number of apartments it proposes to build.
LHL Holdings, led by developer Tim Harrington, has asked Biddeford officials to approve a new site plan that would increase the number of residential units from 96 to 181.
The announcement comes after weeks of silence from the developer that began a public relations campaign in late November for the project that has promised about $50 million of investment. The company said it would now pursue the hotel on an adjacent lot in a later phase, with the estimated total investment in the project climbing to $65 million.
Mark Robinson, a spokesman for the company, said by email that the company is now putting together a bid process for a lead contractor for the project that was announced in late 2014 and approved by the city’s planning board in early 2015.
The commercial construction firm Wright-Ryan initially was the lead contractor for the project. John Ryan, the company’s president, in January declined to tell the Bangor Daily News whether his company was still involved in the project and referred questions to Harrington.
The Biddeford-Saco Courier reported in November that work had stopped on the project with some subcontractors leaving the work site.
“People have been very curious and puzzled about the status of the project,” Robinson wrote in an email. “That is certainly understandable, given the enormous impact it will have on Biddeford’s downtown.”
Robinson said the company waited to have a firm plan in place before providing more information on the status of the project.
The change in the project means additional parking capacity is needed. Architecture firm Sebago Technics said in a Feb. 9 letter to the city that the change means a need for 443 parking spaces, up from 293, for which it will seek an expanded waiver from the planning board.
City officials initially granted a waiver for 184 spaces. The developer now wants a waiver for another 79.
The property is adjacent to the former Maine Energy Recovery Center trash incinerator that shut down at the end of 2012.