City owes $50,000 or more for Bates No. 5 demo work to date

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LEWISTON — Contractors hired to knock down the Bates Mill Building No. 5 will get between $50,000 and $70,000 now that the demolition project has been scuttled.

Norm Beauparlant, Lewiston’s director of budgeting and purchasing, said he notified contractors NASDI LLC of Waltham, Mass., Wednesday morning that the project had been canceled by Lewiston city councilors. Crews from NASDI were scheduled to begin moving equipment onto the site Monday.

“There are things a company has to do as they get closer and closer to a large project like this,” Beauparlant said. “There is a cost involved for travel and other opportunities.”

Beauparlant said he will send the company a formal letter canceling the demolition and then wait for it to submit an itemized bill for services rendered.

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“And then we can begin negotiating those costs,” Beauparlant said. He estimated those costs would be between $50,000 and $70,000 based on a discussion with the company Tuesday afternoon.

NASDI President Tim Higgins declined to comment on the council’s last-minute cancellation.

NASDI had submitted the lowest bid out of 17 contractors, agreeing to knock down the building and cart away all the debris, leaving the lot ready for redevelopment. The company pledged to do the work for $782,000.

But councilors Tuesday were swayed by residents and architects citing the building’s historic past and its impact on the city.

Bates Mill Building No. 5 was designed by architect Albert Kahn, one of the nation’s top designers of industrial buildings. It used concrete and steel girders in the construction and included windows on top of the building designed to bring natural light onto the work floor. Those windows gave the building its distinctive sawtooth roof appearance.

The building covers about 4.7 acres along Canal Street.

The city took over ownership of all of the Bates Mill properties in 1992 in an effort to preserve the buildings and save jobs. Bates Manufacturing officially closed its Lewiston operation in 2001.

Councilors approved an exit strategy in 2004, selling all of the Bates complex buildings except No. 5 to Platz Associates. The city continued to look for alternative uses for the building, but councilors in 2009 finally gave up and approved the demolition order.

staylor@sunjournal.com

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