AUBURN — The developer behind a Spring Street redevelopment project which combines residential and retail construction will try again this fall to win tax credits.
Portland developer Ethan Boxer-Macomber of Anew Development said plans to replace the old Dillingham Funeral Home at the corner of Spring and Court streets did not qualify for the last round of Maine State Housing credits that were announced in January.
“There were two projects ahead of us last year that were more mature and had more time to evolve and incubate,” Boxer-Macomber told Auburn city councilors Monday. “But here we are at year two in our project, and we are now at that point. We spent the last year optimizing this project, so when we go to Maine Housing this October, we will go after a number of points we did not address last time. And we are very optimistic.”
Boxer-Macomber hopes to build a four-story development with 39 housing units for rent with retail, community space or office space on the first floor.
Eight of the units would be unsubsidized, with market-rate rents. The remaining 31 would be reserved for “workforce” housing, city residents that make from 50 percent to 60 percent of the median income. He estimated that is between $20,000 and $24,000 per year, or about $10 to $12 per hour.
“These are folks that may need help with the rent, but they are working,” he said. “They need to be working and they need to make a security deposit, but they cannot be making so much they have alternatives elsewhere.”
The L-shaped lot runs along the back of the Engine House building from Spring Street to Pleasant Street and back along Spring Street and the former funeral home’s parking lot to the KeyBank ATM.
Plans call for at least two ground-level retail storefronts in the building.
The funeral home buildings, on the northern end of the lot, were removed last summer. Plans call for turning the space immediately behind the Engine House into a small open-air plaza.
Macomber said he plans to ask city councilors to restate their support for the project to help it qualify for state tax credits. He’s asking for $250,000 in federal HOME funds the city controls, as well as a tax increment finance plan on the project. The tax increment finance plan was approved last year.
Councilors are set to review the project at their workshop meeting Sept. 7.