Work begins on Hartley Block downtown Lewiston

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Crews set forms and foundation work Friday afternoon at the Hartley Block project on Lisbon Street in downtown Lewiston. A formal groundbreaking ceremony for the housing and commercial space project will take place Thursday. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

LEWISTON — Downtown Lisbon Street is about to regain a large section of storefront that was lost more than a decade ago.

On Friday, city officials announced an official groundbreaking ceremony for the Hartley Block project at 155 Lisbon St., a mixed-use development that will feature 63 mixed-income housing units and 4,000 square feet of commercial space.

While the groundbreaking is set for Thursday, Feb. 22, at 11 a.m., there is already activity at the site.

Developer The Szanton Co. will replace four buildings that were destroyed by fire in 2006. One of the historic buildings was the home of Lewiston native Marsden Hartley’s 1906 art studio.

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The project will fill in a 175-foot section that has long been an empty lot.

Szanton, based in Portland, has focused on mixed-income housing, previously developing The Lofts at Bates Mill in Lewiston. The company is also in the early stages of a similar development on Troy Street in Auburn.

“I’m thrilled that we’ve reached our construction start,” Nathan Szanton, founder and president of The Szanton Co., said in a city news release. “We had to overcome a big devaluation of affordable housing tax credits after the 2016 election and a lot of inflation in construction costs. We’re very grateful to all who helped us reach this point, from MaineHousing, to the city of Lewiston, to TD Bank, and many others.”

Hebert Construction is the general contractor, and Platz Associates is the architect, according to the release.

Amy Cullen, development officer for The Szanton Co., said this week that construction officially began Feb. 12. The first phase, she said, is placing the footings and foundation, and digging an elevator pit and trenches for utilities.

“Next, you’ll see us pouring the slab of the lowest level and then we’ll start erecting steel,” she said. “This first phase will last another month or two. After that, we’ll begin framing.”

Cullen said the full construction schedule is 13 months, with an expected finish date of March 13, 2019.

According to the news release, members of the public are invited to attend the ceremony next week, where Mayor Shane Bouchard and others will speak.

Parking for the ceremony will be available in the Centreville Garage at 62 Canal St.

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