LEWISTON — A pair of architecture students hope to resurrect Lisbon Street's Le Messager building, with three large apartments and a street-level commercial space.
The building was home to the city's French-language newspaper, said Kevin Morissette, an architectural intern and partner in RuMor Properties LLC.
"So, we're hoping to use some of that history," he said. "We hope that whoever moves into that space will help us design it with that in mind. We want to bring back that vibe of being there, that busy kind of atmosphere."
Morissette and partner Gabrielle Russell, also an architectural intern, bought the property at 223 Lisbon St. on Nov. 19 for $92,950. That included a $15,375 second mortgage through a city of Lewiston downtown development grant.
The building dates to 1901. It was built for Le Messager, which published from 1880 to 1968. The building was also home to a Franco-themed radio station, and later, a downtown recording studio.
Morissette said he wants to renovate the top three floors as apartments, one per floor.
"The long-term plans: We want to offer 2,000-square-foot apartments for older couples, who might not want to mow lawns any more or take care of a house," he said. "We'd push for people still working downtown. It might even have an office inside, so it could even be attractive to young professionals."
He and Russell have moved into the building and are doing most of the renovations themselves.
"There are a lot of old features we'd like to keep and reuse," he said. "For example, they left behind the old doors and transoms that we'd like to use in some sort of more modern context."
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