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October 8, 2019

Construction to start on Biddeford Lincoln mill hotel, residential project

Courtesy / City of Biddeford A rendering of the redeveloped Lincoln Mill in Biddeford, which will include a hotel, market-rate apartments, a restaraurant and more.

Construction of a mixed-use development that includes a hotel in the former Lincoln Mill in in downtown Biddeford will officially begin Wednesday with a groundbreaking ceremony.

The Lincoln, at 17 Lincoln St., is being developed by the site's owner, Tim Harrington of Kennebunk-based LHL Holdings, and Eric Chinburg, of Chinburg Properties of Newmarket, N.H.  Harrington bought the 240,000-square-foot mill for $2.5 million in 2015.

The project, originally expected to cost $40 million and to be completed in July 2020, has been delayed for several years as developers worked to put together financing that would include historic preservation tax credits and other elements amidst changes in federal tax rules.

The original plan called for a hotel and apartments. It was changed to 181 apartments, without a hotel, last year as financing was worked out. The latest plan once again includes a hotel.

Once it's built, the development will include 148 market-rate apartments, a 33-room hotel with a rooftop pool and bar, a 5,000-square-foot restaurant, an 11,000-square-foot gym and 7,000 square feet of commercial space.

Chinburg is no stranger to mill developments — he owns 15 mills in New England, the most recent the Continental Mill in Lewiston, which he bought in July. He also owns the nearby Saco Mill 4, which he bought in 2014 and converted to 150 units of market-rate apartments and 30,000 square feet of commercial space. It opened in 2017. He also owns the Dana Warp Mill in Westbrook.

Courtesy / City of Biddeford
Plans for Biddeford's mill district include redevelopment of the Lincoln Mill (top center), as well as redevelopment for the former Maine Energy Recovery Corp. site, shown conceptually, right.

Redevelopment hot spot

The project is also one of several in the Lincoln Street area in downtown Biddeford, where the city in 2009 created a master plan for developing 2 million square feet of former mill space, as well as the city's former incinerator site. The plan at the time called for public-private partnership for mixed uses in the space, as well as parking and a riverwalk.

"The Biddeford Mill District is on the brink of something great — its reincarnation as a lively mixed-use commercial, light industrial and residential district," the plan said.

The city, which has upgraded the streetscape in the area, last month began discussions on a 640-space parking garage at 3 Lincoln St., the site of the former Maine Energy Recover Corp. incinerator.

In April, Portland developers Jim Brady and Brian Eng reached an agreement with the city to develop a portion of that site as retail, residential and office space.

The city also approved plans in April for redevelopment of the Riverdam Mill, across the street, a mixed-use development that will  include workforce housing.

The groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for noon on Lincoln Street.

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