LEWISTON — Bob Roy Jr.’s labor of love was a trip down memory lane for Sen. Olympia Snowe on Wednesday.

Roy took Snowe on a tour of his renovated Ironhorse Court, the building at the dead end of Bates Street behind Central Maine Medical Center.

Roy hopes that the complex, the former Maine Central Railroad passenger depot and surrounding warehouses and offices, will become a business magnet and help kick off the rebirth of the hospital neighborhood.

He paid for the renovations out of his own pocket, replacing broken windows, repairing cracked walls and ceilings and installing a state-of-the-art heating system.

Snowe, saying she’d read about Roy’s efforts, wanted to tour the building. It brought back memories, she said, of traveling when she was 10 or 11. She lived on nearby Lowell Street at the time but was attending Greek school in New York state. The train and the depot were her links between the two.

“The train was how we traveled,” she said. “It was the first time I’d traveled by myself, so I remember it very clearly.”

Snowe said she was impressed with Roy’s renovations, and especially pleased that he had paid for the work himself.

“This was done without public money,” she said. “I think that’s something, in this time with this down economy, that he did this all himself. That’s what we’re celebrating here.”

The main building served as Lewiston’s passenger depot from 1916 to 1960, when it was purchased by the Steel Service Center. Roy’s father was part owner, and Roy worked in the warehouse and offices until he took over ownership.

He moved the Steel Service Center to the old Coca-Cola distribution plant on outer Lisbon Street in 2006.

“I had this building, and I just really liked it,” he said. “I decided I was going to renovate it then.”

Roy said most of the work is done and an air-conditioning system is scheduled to be installed in September.

He envisions the main ballroom and attached kitchen as a space for special events and celebrations. He hopes to lease the nearby offices to a professional.

“I think it would be great for a doctor or a dentist or a lawyer,” he said.

The ballroom is hosting its first event — a wedding — in October.

“And we haven’t done any marketing yet,” he said. “We’ve had other calls already. So we hope, once we start marketing, things will take off.”

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