Historical Lamb Block: Refurbished mix of old, new

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LIVERMORE FALLS — Older styles mix with modern in the newly renovated and restored historical Lamb Block on Depot Street.

“The idea is, when you come in, you can read what is old and what is new,” developer Kevin Bunker, founder of Developers Collaborative in Portland, said Monday as he gave a tour of the three-story building built in the 1880s.

Lamb Block was recently named to the National Register of Historic Places.

“It is the oldest building downtown,” Bunker said.

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In 2012, Bunker said he would invest $2 million in the project. The town of Livermore Falls sought a $400,000 grant from Communities for Maine’s Future Program to help with the project to revitalize the town. The grant was approved, but Gov. Paul LePage decided last year not to sell the bonds at that time. Bunker went to Maine Rural Development Authority for a loan, using a letter from the governor that stated the bonds would be issued in that amount to repay the loan by June 20, 2015.

That made the project feasible for Bunker to go forward.

The 8-inch-or-so baseboard trim in offices on the third floor are a contrast to the smaller modern baseboard trim in each room. The color scheme includes teal green, cream, white and brown, depending on what floor you are on.

HealthReach will move its Western Maine Family Health Center from Central Plaza to Lamb Block. An elevator was installed in the new location to take patients and staff to the third floor. The elevator also stops at the second floor, where the health center will also use half of the historical offices for office space.

Center staff will begin serving patients in their new space on Feb. 4.

The building is adjacent to the Androscoggin Valley Medical Arts Center, which opened in January 2012. The two medical offices were previously adjacent to each other at Central Plaza on Main Street in Livermore Falls. The idea behind the move was to bring the two services closer to each other once Franklin Memorial Hospital moved its outpatient and family practice services to its new medical arts building to give patients more efficient service.

When Bunker started the project, the interior of the building on the upper stories was a disaster, he said.

The floor was sagging about 1 ½ inches in the middle. Each of the three floors is 3,500 square feet.

“This is my fifth historical rehab,” he said. “By far, this is the most challenging in terms of physical condition,” he said. “We basically put an entire new building inside a brick shell.”

On the second floor, there are hardwood floors in areas not being used by the health center. The rooms that are in use match the upstairs decor.

The hardwood pine floors are a mix of original and new, Bunker said.

All the old flooring was ripped up, and any flooring that could be salvaged was reused. New flooring was installed for the remainder.

The windows on the second floor were kept where they were. In order to do that, a soffit for a dropped ceiling was created so the new mechanical systems could be installed.

Large bay windows in two offices facing Depot Street offer a view of the Androscoggin River and downtown buildings.

The historical offices will be rented out for $350 to $450, depending on the office, he said. Options include the ability to rent two connecting offices and a shared conference room for the tenants.

Bunker is working to fill the empty offices upstairs and space on the first floor. Tin ceilings draw the attention of visitors.

H & R Block has a space on the first floor facing the street.

Most of the remaining space on the first floor is unfinished, but will be redone once tenants are secured.

Bunker said he is talking with a variety of restaurants and food services to see if there is an interest.

There is a larger space in the front of the building that extends toward the back and another large space in the rear of the building. The spaces could be divided or used as one.

It is flexible enough to fit a Subway or a high-end restaurant, he said.

“I think, a few years ago when I came here, the people were more skeptical,” Bunker said of what could be done with the downtown. “Now people are thinking.”

dperry@sunjournal.com

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