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November 14, 2018

Waterville's Mitchell is Central Maine Growth Council Developer of the Year

Photo / Maureen Milliken Bill Mitchell, seen here at his Penny Hill Park development in Waterville, has been named the Central Maine Growth Council Developer of the Year.

WATERVILLE — Bill Mitchell, a city native who has redeveloped 17 properties and 130,000 square feet in the city, was named Developer of the Year by the Central Maine Growth Council.

Mitchell is owner of GHM Insurance Agency and PJM Property Management LLC. While his “day job” is as an insurance company owner, his redevelopment work has brought 100 jobs into the city, the council said.

“Bill’s commitment to the city of Waterville is evident in the care and thought that he puts into his projects,” said Garvan D. Donegan, director of planning and economic development for the growth council. “He is restoring the city’s history and creating spectacular spaces which attract new businesses and new jobs to the region.”

The council cites Mitchell’s development of KMD Plaza and Penny Hill Park, both on Kennedy Memorial Drive, the redevelopment of the Masonic building on Common Street downtown, the former American Legion Post on College Avenue, among others.

The growth council points to the former Masonic hall, 14-18 Common St., as one of the projects adding to the city’s ongoing revitalization.

“[It] represents the heightened interest in downtown Waterville as a commercial and residential destination,” the release said. The building is currently 100% occupied by 14 tenants, “which contributes significantly to the development of downtown.”

Embedded in the city's fabric

Photo / Maureen Milliken
The buildings at 14-18 Common St., Waterville, (center, right) were extensively renovated by Bill Mitchell.

Mitchell’s father, Paul Mitchell, owned GHM Insurance, was on the city planning board and was executive director of the Waterville Urban Renewal Authority from 1966 to 1978, among other things, but also was a property developer and passed it on to his son, Mitchell told Mainebiz in May.

MItchell is also the nephew of George Mitchell, the former U.S. senator. The growth council said Mitchell’s family’s work is “embedded in the fabric of the city's history.”

“Mitchell enjoys a close relationship with the community and his real estate development activities are important contributions to the city’s bright future,” the council said.

He employs more than 60 people in central Maine through his businesses, and has attracted “numerous business” to the city, resulting in the creation of more than 100 jobs, it said.

“It has been a pleasure working with Bill — he is a true partner in realizing our collective vision for a vibrant downtown and thriving region,” Donegan said.

'Thankful to be part of this'

Photo / Maureen Milliken
The Mitchell family, including George Mitchell, former U.S. senator, lived in the changing Head of Falls area of the city.

Mitchell told Mainebiz that Waterville is where his heart is, and that includes development. All of his projects are in the city.

"I've always been bullish on the city of Waterville," he said last spring. "I love it's history, my family is from here." He said it's always been important to him to contribute to the city's success.

"I'm very thankful to be part of this," he said. "There's a very positive energy in Waterville and the surrounding communities right now. I feel we're heading into a really exciting time, which is why I am very bullish on the future of Waterville and central Maine as a whole."

In the news release, he said the city’s future is “very bright,” citing Colby College’s 173 Main St. renovation, the Alfond Commons retail and student housing building at 150 Main St., the redevelopment of The Center at 93 Main St. into an art museum and film center, and the city’s completion of the River Walk at Head of Falls.

“There’s no better time to be living and working in Waterville, and to be investing in Waterville’s future," Mitchell said.

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