AUBURN – A $500,000 loan will go toward a renovation project that includes the expansion of Austin’s Fine Wines and Foods.

The Maine Rural Development Authority loan is part of a $1.25 million financing package to help American Holdings Inc. redevelop the old Phoenix Block at the corner of Court and Main streets.

Other investments in the project helped secure the rural development money.

“The fact that there was substantial investment by the city and other partners was a big part of our decision,” said John Cleveland, executive director of the authority.

“It was a good partnership of many investors and a good balance sheet,” Cleveland says. “The financial statements look like it will be successful and have a good cash flow.”

Other loans include $250,000 from the Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments, $100,000 from the Lewiston-Auburn Economic Growth Council and $400,000 from the City of Auburn’s commercial loan program.

In all, the project is expected to cost $1.8 million.

The loan package will allow developers to offer rents of $11.50 per square foot, once work is completed.

Plans call for Austin’s Fine Wines and Foods to expand along the first floor of the property.

The upper floors would be developed for office space and would attach to the American Holdings’ Riverpark building just south of the project.

The two buildings would share an elevator.

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