NORWAY – The new owner of the Odd Fellows building on Main Street said Monday that he hopes to return the facade of the late 19th-century brick building to its original appearance.

“We’re trying to get the historic look back. We know it means a lot to the community,” said Harvey Solomon. He and his wife, Dawn, of New Horizon Capital Investment in Norway, purchased the building in July for $63,500 from Northeast Bank in Lewiston which held the mortgage.

Solomon said he has received several pictures of the building in different time periods but has not yet determined exactly what the facade renovation will look like. He envisions the possible restoration of the two front doors and the removal of the front windows on the first floor which were much later additions.

“We’re trying to get the same look,” Solomon said, noting the work may involve some painting in historic colors.

The basement and first floor of the building, which is next to the Opera House, was built in 1894 after the great fire of that year destroyed the majority of the downtown. The second and third floors were added in 1911. The structure is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is part of the historic downtown district. The interior, which once housed the district court, a jail and other businesses, has been gutted. Only the floors remain.

“We’re just getting materials to begin working on the infrastructure. Hopefully, by the end of the winter we will be working on the facade,” he said.

The first step will be to rebuild the entire back wall of the building, he said.

The Board of Selectmen last week approved using about $20,000 from the remaining $70,955 Department of Economic and Community Development grant for construction of structural walls that will go from the basement to the third floor, replacement of some of the crumbling interior brick wall and for new electrical service.

The Department of Economic and Community development money was transferred to the new owner with the stipulation that it be used for major renovation of the building. The Odd Fellows Redevelopment Corp. has agreed to continue administering the funds to help the new owners, according to information from Marcy Boughter, who administers the funds.

Solomon, who owns several other commercial and residential properties in Norway and Paris, said that once the work is completed he is hoping to get a high-end restaurant into the first floor, offices in the second floor, and apartments or even condominiums on the third floor. He told selectmen Thursday that if anyone in the community has suggestions about the reuse of the building he would like to hear from them.

“It’s quite a project,” Solomon said.



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