New plan would raze vacant Auburn Lanes


AUBURN — The vacant Auburn Lanes building at Academy and Main streets will come down to make room for townhouses, according to a revamped development plan.

Coastal Enterprises Inc. had planned to renovate the former bowling alley at 261 Main St., using the current structure as a parking area and adding a second floor to it.

“But once the structural engineers and the architects got in and finished their investigation, they realized the structure would not allow going up for a second floor,” said Grace Cleaves, director of marketing for Coastal Enterprises. “We could not have done it without significant structural work that would have driven the cost way up.”

Plans call for razing the structure and subdividing the half-acre parcel into seven lots. Individual townhouses would be built on five lots, all facing Academy Street. A common area, with parking and a carport, would be built on the sixth lot behind the houses.

The seventh lot, which would face Main Street, would be reserved for future development: more residential development or retail.

“The result is that this will be new construction now,” Cleaves said. “It will be even more marketable.”

The Planning Board is scheduled to review Coastal Enterprise’s development plan Tuesday night.

The project is estimated to cost $1.25 million.

Original plans called for renovating the abandoned bowling alley and adding a top floor with five individually owned, two-bedroom units. Each unit would have had a covered parking area and storage on the ground floor.

“That was not an exhaustive design process, just a concept of what we were thinking at that point,” said Tom Donahue, construction analyst for Coastal Enterprises. “When you go in the building as it is now, you see an impressive steel skeleton that looks extremely sturdy. But on further review, the amount of reinforcements needed would have driven the cost up, well beyond the reach of the people we are trying to serve.”

Cleaves said federal funding set aside to help pay for the project will not change.

Coastal Enterprises would use an $850,000 federal Neighborhood Stabilization Grant, given to the city and the corporation last year, to pay for part of the work.

Units would be sold to medium-income residents, according to plans. That means residents making about 120 percent of the median income for Central Maine, which is about $68,000 for a family of four.

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261 Main Site Plan