Several construction projects are underway in Mill No. 1 at the Bates Mill Complex in Lewiston as seen Thursday afternoon. Sun Journal photo by Russ Dillingham

This week The Buzz is going into overtime.

That’s what happens when Lewiston has a blockbuster May, permitting six commercial projects between $200,000 and $3.26 million for $8.3 million in new development.

For comparison, May 2018 saw $1.2 million in commercial permits.

What’s afoot?

A whole bunch, including three words you’ve likely never heard strung together before and won’t be able to shake:

“Banana room penthouse.”


According to the permit details at the Lewiston Planning & Code office:

  • Mill 1 LLC, 25 Canal St., $3.2 million project

The permit covers structural repairs and upgrades on the fourth and fifth floors of Mill No. 1 and fourth floor of the Mill No. 1 wing.

Work includes “new roofing, windows, sandblasting and sealing wood and brick. Electrical and mechanical systems infrastructure.”

Last year, Tom Platz, who has been slowly redeveloping the Bates Mill Complex, described Mill No. 1 as having 150,000 square feet left to develop.

Platz couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday.

  • Walmart Distribution Center, 31 Alfred Plourde Parkway, $450,000 project

Walmart is “replacing existing rooftop units with new air handlers (and) installing a new heat exchanger in (the) banana room penthouse with new glycol piping running to new air handler units.”


  • Le Messager LLC, 223 Lisbon St., $440,000 project

Renovating the third and fourth floors for apartments. If you’ve driven downtown recently and noticed a hole punched in the upper-floor brick with a construction chute attached, this was the building, according to City Planner Doug Greene.

It was formerly home to the long-running French-language newspaper Le Messager and the bilingual radio station WCOU. the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Lewiston Commercial Historic District in October 2018, according to a register spokesman.

Refurbishing Bates College’s John Bertram Hall at 78 Campus Ave. in Lewiston was continuing Thursday. Sun Journal photo by Russ Dillingham

  • Bates College, 78 Campus Ave., $200,000 project

The John Bertram Hall dorm is getting a structural upgrade, with a new roof covering and reinforced existing roof to meet current standards for snow loads, according to Bates spokesman Doug Hubley.

Construction should wrap in August.

The 1868 building has a fascinating history as, at different turns, a Latin school, divinity school and the college’s former science hall, all detailed on Bates’ website.

  • 188 Lincoln St. LLC and Caleb Johnson Studio (applicants), 188 Lincoln St., $700,000 project

The first step in welcoming Portland Pie Co. to the city, this project is turning the former Lincoln Street fire substation into a retail space with residences on the second floor. This winter, developer Kara Wilbur said it was waiting on historic tax credit approval to move ahead.

Construction workers make progress on the future home of St. Mary’s Infusion Therapy Center on Campus Avenue in Lewiston this week. Sun Journal photo by Russ Dillingham

  • St. Mary’s Health System, 95 Campus Ave., $3.3 million project

The future home of St. Mary’s new Infusion Therapy Center is part of the hospital’s larger capital campaign and plans that kicked off last year, according to spokesman Jason Gould.

The infusion center is within the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at the hospital’s main campus, he said. The free-standing, new facility should be finished in spring 2020.

Quick hits about business comings, goings and happenings. Have a Buzzable tip? Contact staff writer Kathryn Skelton at 207-689-2844 or

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