The Lincoln Mill, one of the most iconic infrastructures in downtown Biddeford, has concrete plans for redevelopment, city officials stated Wednesday.
The announcement puts to rest months of speculation as to when the old textile mill brick building of over 240,000 square feet would undergo massive renovation.
On Monday, Tim Harrington of LHL Holdings LLC and Eric Chinburg of Chinburg Properties announced their partnership on the project and plans to proceed with the initial phase of redevelopment at the mill at 17 Lincoln St. When completed in two years, the building is expected to include 181 apartment units, meeting spaces, a restaurant, a 10,000-square-foot fitness club and rooftop amenities, according to a press release from the city website.
Chinburg is considered a prominent name in the redevelopment of New England mill buildings, as he recently redeveloped Saco Mill #4, which has blossomed into a successful apartment complex.
“We love the idea,” said Biddeford Director of Economic Development Dan Stevenson in a phone call on Thursday. “This is a wonderful project for downtown. It’s complimentary to all the other mill projects, and this is a very sizeable one. It’s a flagship development for our downtown.”
Harrington had purchased the Lincoln Mill from Odyssey Properties LLC in 2014 and earlier this year had received approval from the Biddeford Planning Board to move forward with the 181-unit, multi-purpose renovation.
Stevenson added that the delayed action on the mill was in part due to the enormity of the project.
“Multiple factors need to take place to bring a deal this big to fruition,” Stevenson said. “Everything from all funding sources, to historic tax credits. Many aspects come into play.”
Prior to being purchased by Harrington, the mill was predominately vacant with woodworkers occupying a few areas of the complex, Stevenson said. Since that time the public had speculated as to when, and if, something would happen with the mill.
On Wednesday, Biddeford Mayor Alan Casavant reaffirmed his faith in the process of redeveloping the mill.
“While there were skeptics that predicted this day would never occur, I always had confidence in Tim’s vision, his plan and his commitment to the project and our community,” Casavant said. “This property is one of the most unique in Biddeford and probably even New England. It is hard to overstate the significant impact this project is going to have on our community, our downtown and mostly our future.”
Harrington will meet with the City Council on Tuesday to consider a Joint Development Agreement that would contractually obligate the developers to get underway with the project by the end of the year, with a two-year completion date.
The agreement would also package together a five-year credit enhancement for $150,000 towards the the project, Stevenson said.
In addition to the housing units, meeting space, restaurant and other amenities, Harrington had previously announced a phase II to the project that would feature a stand-alone boutique hotel.