Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

June 19, 2024

A tax incentive will help foster affordable housing conversion in downtown Rockland

rockland storefronts Photo / Courtesy, Caleb Lincoln Upper floors of 404-408 Main St. in Rockland are being converted to nine units of affordable housing. Retailers Huston-Tuttle, at left, and Loyal Biscuit will remain.

A plan to convert unused upper-floor space in two Rockland downtown buildings will create nine affordable housing units.

The project, at 404-408 Main St., got approval in February and is now under construction. The apartment units are expected to hit the market by November. 

Developers Caleb Lincoln and Ed Libby of Lake City Investments said the project takes advantage of a tax incentive offered for smaller developments of rural affordable housing. The units will be made available to people with up to 80% of the area median income.

The upper floors had been unused for at least four decades, the developers said. 

"There's a housing crisis [statewide]. We're taking underutilized space on Main Street and turning it into housing," Lincoln told Mainebiz. 

"It's downtown, it's walkable, there's no parking required because there's public parking nearby. So you have people living and working downtown," Libby added. 

Financing for the project was provided by MaineHousing. The Rockland project was part of a first wave of approvals for the Rural Affordable Rental Housing Program, which was unveiled during the pandemic. In Madison, Somerset County, a development team just finished 18 units under the same program. 

Total cost of the project, including acquisition of the buildings, is $2.8 million.

Win-win for buyer and seller

The adjoined properties at 404-408 Main St. had been owned by Heidi Neal, owner of the Loyal Biscuit pet supply store. Lake City Investments acquired the property for $870,000.

The two ground-floor retailers, Loyal Biscuit (at 408 Main St.) and Huston-Tuttle & Gallery One (at 404 Main St.), will remain as tenants. 

construction on affordable housing units
Photo / Courtesy, Caleb Lincoln
The upper floors of 404-408 Main St. in Rockland are being converted to housing. Here we see the fourth floor, where dormers are being added to create more space.

The total space of the buildings is 12,000 square feet. 

Construction is underway.

Blane Casey Building Contractors, of Augusta, is the general contractor. The project is being undertaken in collaboration with MaineHousing, Portland-based Ryan Senatore Architecture, Camden-based Landmark Corp. and Freeport-based Bennett Engineering.

Design details

The three upper floors are being converted into nine workforce housing apartments. Dormers are being added on the back of the fourth floor to provide more space. 

There will be three two-bedroom units, five one-bedroom units, and one studio. One of the units will be hearing/visual accessible. All the units will be rented to households earning 80% of the area median income or less.

The building will have laundry services on site as well as conduit in place for the future installation of solar panels. The building will also preserve parts of its historic character.

Original brick will be left exposed as will various timber framing throughout each floor. Historic items discovered in the building, such as ledgers, cast iron fixtures, and tools have been safely stored off site and, once the building is completed, will be returned to decorate the common areas of the building.

“The building has a rich and varied history stretching back over 100 years. We want to make sure to honor that history, while providing modern, efficient apartments for tenants,” said Lincoln.

What's ahead

The Lake City Investments team has a Rockport project on the horizon that, once approved, would provide 18 units of affordable housing at 6 Madeleine Lane. That project is going through the town approval process. 

Sign up for Enews

Related Content


Kirk Butterfield
June 20, 2024

Congrats to Lake City Investments. This is a great project for the area! We need more of this!

Order a PDF