LEWISTON — Developers said they’re pleased to bring a historic downtown building, the old Healy Asylum, back into use.
City officials and representatives and subcontractors for Portland-based Developers Collaborative will cut the ribbon on the newly renovated Healy Terrace, at 81 Ash St., at 10 a.m. Friday.
Renovations on the former Intown Manor began last February.
“A project like this, we’ve really had a dual impetus,” said Jim Hatch of Developers Collaborative, the group leading the renovation efforts. “On one hand, we need to meet the needs of high quality housing for seniors and part of that is trying to redevelop downtown in the service center communities. We want to make them walkable for seniors and that means not putting them out in the suburbs.”
It’s just as important to work to preserve history, he said.
“No one makes buildings like this any more,” he said. “Buildings like this are a big part of the fabric of Maine.”
The 3 1/2-story brick building was constructed in 1892 and was operated as an orphanage by the Grey Sisters of the Immaculate Conception until about 1973, when it began operating as a boarding home for a few years. It became Intown Manor and was operated as an assisted living facility until closing in 2005.
It’s been closed since then.
“There’s an extra cost of doing it right, of meeting the exacting standards of a true historical renovation,” Hatch said. “The building was a challenge for sure, but it was in pretty reasonable condition to begin with. It’s not like an old mill building with a leaking roof.”
The project combined state and federal low-income and historic building tax credits, HOME fund money from the federal department of Housing and Urban Development and a Lewiston tax increment financing district to make ends meet. Overall, the project is expected to cost about $8.8 million.
Tenants could begin moving in this weekend, according to Jim Dowling, executive director of the Lewiston Housing Authority.
The renovation created 26 one-bedroom units and six two-bedroom units geared to senior citizens. Rooms are designed to rent for between $575 and $700.
“The floor plan we used had to preserve the actual interior corridors, as they were,” Dowling said. “That was one of the things we had to do to meet the historical standards, and it dictated how we parsed the rest of the space for apartments. But we also tried to preserve the original materials in the building. If a plaster wall could be saved, we saved it. If wainscoting along a wall could be saved, we removed it and rebuilt the wall under it and put it back in place.”