LEWISTON — Plans to redevelop the lands just below the Great Falls are already generating developer buzz.

Councilors unanimously gave their OK Tuesday night to developer George Schott’s plan to clean up Island Point, about four acres of land immediately east of the Androscoggin River and north of Main Street.

Schott will be able to sell the land to a hotel, office or medical center developer once the site is ready.

Lincoln Jeffers, assistant to the city administrator, said Schott’s plans were discussed at the Maine Real Estate and Developers Association annual forecast conference in Portland last week.

“When they brought it up, there was a murmur that went through the crowd,” Jeffers said. “So it is recognized as a site with real potential.”

Schott’s Great Falls Property LLC plans to begin clearing the site from the river south over the next year. Plans call for removing old brick and debris left from the demolished Cowan and Libbey mills, building a retaining wall and filling the 7 Mill St. parcel — site of a parking lot now — to make its elevation match Mill Street. Much of that parking lot is in a flood plain currently.

Bringing that parking lot up and out of the flood plain will make the land much more marketable, Jeffers said.

“It’s certainly a higher and better use to actually have,” he said. “It’s right on the water, it’s right by the falls and with the Cowan down, it has great views of the falls.”

Schott took over the old Cowan Mill site at 3 Mill St. after it burned and was demolished in 2009.

According to the current agreement, Lewiston will transfer ownership of the Libbey Mill site and the parking lot northeast of the Veterans Memorial Park to Schott. Those two properties, 6 and 7 Mill St., amount to about three acres.

Both the city and Schott will try to take over a small piece of property between the parking lot and the Cowan site, according to the agreement. That land is currently owned by Florida Power and Light, and Schott will try to purchase it at his own cost, according to the agreement.

The city will sell the third of an acre site at 10 Mill St. to Schott if it takes that property over. That land belongs to Central Maine Power now and the city has plans to purchase it, if CMP builds a new substation on Middle Street.

Combined, the deal includes about four acres.

Schott would agree to place a $103,746 promissory note on the property, payable to the city when he sells or leases the property. In exchange, the city would release a lien it placed on the Cowan Mill property to cover the cost of demolishing the building.

Schott would also pay property taxes, including outstanding taxes on the Cowan Mill land.

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View Combining Island Point parcels in a larger map


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