June 22, 2018
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Lofts converted from Lewiston mill open for tenants Monday

By Scott Taylor, Sun Journal

LEWISTON, Maine — From the corner of Canal and Chestnut streets, the red brick walls of Bates Mill Building No. 2 don’t look much different, until you notice the gleaming silver intercom near the main entrance.

Beyond that door and up the stairs, the building has undergone a massive transformation from an empty mill or a damp warehouse to a modern, clean and bright apartment complex.

Complex owners Platz Associates and developer The Szanton Co. are scheduled to open the doors Monday for the first four of 48 tenants in The Lofts at Bates Mill.

“We have four people moving in that first day and we know of 14 more that are moving in during the first two weeks we are open,” said Amy Cullen of The Szanton Co.

The company has scheduled a grand opening, open house and tour at noon Thursday featuring Lewiston Mayor Robert Macdonald, Maine State Historian Earle Shettleworth and MaineHousing Director John Gallagher.

Cullen said the workers have spent the last few weeks installing hallway carpeting, touching up the paint and installing the amenities, including security cameras in the public spaces, the shared washers and dryers and fitness room exercise equipment.

“We are the first housing in the mill district in Lewiston, so we really want to make it good,” Cullen said.

Each unit features tall ceilings with original timber beams and ceiling fans, big windows and original brick along the interior walls.

Rents will include heat, hot water, Wi-Fi, off-street parking and access to a fitness center, a computer room and on-site laundry on the first floor, and a second floor boardroom and basement bike and locker storage.

Those features are designed to attract younger tenants and some professionals to the project as well as the area.

“It stems from installing amenities that will attract renters,” she said. “We really have kind of a hurdle to get over when we rehab old mills. For a lot of people, it’s a cool space and they really want to live here. But there’s a large segment that think, ‘Ooh, a mill? I don’t want to live there.'”

Rents for single-bedroom units would start at $640 for the fair-market renters, with lower rents for publicly supported units. Section 8 recipients would qualify for $576 rents. Residents making 50 percent of the average median income could qualify for $483 rents.

Two-bedroom units in the development would rent for $701 for Section 8 recipients. Residents making 50 percent of the average median income could qualify for $577 monthly rent.

Rents for three-bedroom units would begin at $896 for Section 8 and $665 for 50 percent average of median income residents.

So far, Cullen said tenants have claimed 32 of the 48 units available. That includes all of the 12 subsidized units and many of the low-rent and market-rate units.

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