LEWISTON — Plans to renovate the Grand Trunk railroad depot on Lincoln Street could be delayed by a federal requirement that might send the project out to bid.

Members of the Lewiston-Auburn Railroad Board of Directors met Wednesday and voted to approve a joint development agreement for the depot and a lease to an unnamed woman hoping to turn the building into a rail-themed restaurant.

The project is ready to go, said Ken St. Amand, a staffer with the Lewiston-Auburn Economic Growth Council who works with the railroad board.

“And the (U.S. Department of Agriculture) has been pushing us to get construction started,” St. Amand said.

The railroad board plans to spend $370,000 to get the building ready for its new tenant, expecting her to spend $230,000 of her money to complete renovations.

The railroad board’s financial package includes $55,000 of its own money, a $200,000 stimulus grant from the USDA and $115,800 from the city of Lewiston’s Community Development Block Grant allocation.

Amand said he learned late Tuesday that the addition of the grant money, part of Lewiston’s allocation from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, could require the railroad board to send the renovation project out to bid.

“There’s a threshold for federal money that requires a full bid, and they informed me that we might have crossed it with the combined USDA and CDBG money,” Amand said. On Wednesday afternoon, he was expecting word on the project’s status from the USDA office in Bangor.

The railroad board approved the entire project Wednesday, pending USDA approval. St. Amand said it could delay the project’s start by a month.

He said the railroad board has hired architect Noel Smith to design its end of the renovations and Landry Construction of Lewiston to do the work.

“They’ve done work previously for us — for the growth council, for the (Lewiston Development Corp.) and for the (Auburn Business Development Corp.),” St. Amand said. “So, we were comfortable with their work and with the price they gave us.”

St. Amand said the tenant had not signed the lease contract with the railroad board. He can’t identify her until she signs, he said. According to the lease agreement, the woman will pay the railroad board $10 per square foot per year for the 2,100-square-foot station — $1,750  per month. That includes the building and any parking available on the site.

[email protected]

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: