AUBURN — After a flurry of activity this fall, things have settled down at the old Lunn and Sweet shoe factory building — at least in public.

But Miracle Enterprises, the corporation formed this year to transform the Minot Avenue building into a state-of-the-art medical tourism destination, is hard at work behind the scenes.

“They are in the process right now of getting some of the architectural and historical work done so they can get it qualified for all that,” said Roland Miller, Auburn’s former economic development director. “They’ll need a business plan for that as well.”

Miller was the city of Auburn’s driving force behind the project until he retired in November. He does not have an official role in the project at this point, but helped negotiate the terms with the Chinese investors for the city. He also helped put the investors in contact with local engineers, architects and state officials.

Miller said the engineering work and detailed business plans must be completed before the project can begin looking for financing and state and federal grants, and start drawing up construction blueprints.

“We always knew there would be a couple of months in production of these types of things and before they can start producing final architectural renderings,” Miller said. “We are looking at 12 to 18 months of actual construction activity once we get to that point. But having all this in place has to happen first.”


Officials of Miracle Enterprises, a Maine company created in June and backed by investors from China, plan on making the building part of a four-star medical tourism complex. Investors from the Guo Tou Sheng Tong Investment Co. and Beijing HongYu Investments and Developments Co. purchased the 67 Minot Ave. Lunn and Sweet building on July 30, along with the neighboring 81 Minot Ave. lot, from previous owner Dan Lajoie for an undisclosed amount of money.

According city of Auburn assessing records, the larger 67 Minot Ave. property was valued at $1.64 million and the 81 Minot Ave. lot at $187,500.

The company purchased the old Auburn Police Station at 1 Minot Ave. in September from the city for $500,000. That building is meant to be used as corporate offices and meeting space once renovations begin.

The group announced its plans for a medical tourism destination Aug. 4, along with agreements with Central Maine Medical Center and a clearinghouse that connects Chinese patients with doctors.

The $40 million development would cater to wealthy Chinese patients seeking American medical treatments.

The company hired crews to come in and clean the place up late in the summer, patching broken windows and clearing up clutter. They surrounded the main complex in a construction fence covered in artistic renderings showing what the finished development would look like in time for an October visit from potential Chinese investors.


“It’s beautiful inside now that it’s been cleaned up,” Miller said.

Miller said most of the work since then has moved behind the scenes. Engineers are wrapping up a structural analysis to determine what parts of the 1914-built factory building will need more work.

“They need to make sure that as they transform the building, everything is appropriate,” Miller said. “That’s mostly technical, and they have pretty much completed it.”

Meanwhile, the company is writing a financial plan for the project and starting work writing historic preservation grants.

“These are the detail things that are going to be required for the financial structure components,” Miller said. “You have to have a solid financial projection to get tax credits, historic tax credits and these kinds of things.”

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