LEWISTON — The city of Lewiston has Façade, Life Safety, and Elevator Loan/Grant programs designed to assist downtown Lisbon Street property owners redevelop their buildings.

The Façade Grant/Loan program is for up to $25,000 per principal façade visible from a primary means of travel, with a cap of $50,000 per building. The city’s investment must be matched with a like level of investment from the building owner, which can either be from equity or other financing.

The program can be used for exterior building renovations/improvements including construction of new entry ways as may be required by the Maine or Lewiston historic preservation review committees; exterior lighting, signage; windows; masonry repointing; and awnings. Half of the city money invested in the project will be provided as a grant, the other 50 percent will be provided as a 0-percent interest loan for a term up to 10 years.

Downtown Lewiston has many beautiful historic buildings in which the upper floors are underutilized because of lack of sprinklers. The Life Safety Program provides money to help install sprinklers, or to address other NFPA 101 issues that will allow the upper floors of buildings to be redeveloped. The program is structured like the Façade Program, with up to $50,000 per building available, to be matched by the building owner, with half of the money provided as a grant, the other half as a loan.

The Elevator Grant Program is limited to privately owned, mixed use and taxable buildings that are at least three stories high and have a minimum of 25,000 sq ft. of leasable square footage. Adjacent multi-story buildings that can be served by one elevator, and that when combined, meet the minimum square threshold requirement, are also eligible.

The city investment is provided as a grant, and must be matched by three dollars of private investment in other renovations to the building for every dollar of city investment. The private investment must be for making the upper floors of the building habitable and ready for commercial, office and residential uses. City participation is capped at $150,000.

These programs are only available in a limited geographic area, centered on Lisbon Street between Adams Avenue and Main Street. Detailed maps of the eligible area for the Façade and Life Safety Programs can be seen at www.lewistonmaine.gov/DocumentCenter/View/159 , and for the Elevator Grant Program at www.lewistonmaine.gov/DocumentCenter/View/3104 .

The city has a low-interest Commercial Loan Program for rehabilitation of building exteriors, interiors, mechanical systems, and structural repairs. Loans are available for up to $50,000, and can be made on commercial properties anywhere in the city. They require a 1:1 match. The interest rate is 3 percent with a term of up to 10 years. For each $25,000 or portion thereof loaned, one job must be created.

For more information, please contact Lincoln Jeffers, economic and community development director at 207-513-3014, or send an email to [email protected]

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