Aroma Joe’s on Sabattus Street between East and Campus avenues in Lewiston opened Monday. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

This week the Buzz is fully caffeinated and looking at what’s to come in 2020.

After months of construction, a new Aroma Joe’s opened at 403 Sabattus St. in Lewiston on Monday. It’s the second franchise for Tulio DeAlmeida, who owns the Center Street location.

“This is a long coming project,” said DeAlmeida. “Since we open our shop in Auburn back in February of 2017, we have been very well supported by the local community and a fair amount of patrons have asked us in the past almost three years when we would get a location in Lewiston.”

The new coffee kiosk, open 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week, has a walk-up window and drive-thru.

Tulio has hired three full-time and 11 part-time baristas. Hours may change in the future as he gets a feel for customer traffic, he said.

And while you’re driving thru . . .

Enjoy your lowest average car insurance rate in the country, Maine driver!

While WalletHub’s “2020’s Best and Worst States to Drive in” ranked Maine no. 26 overall, pretty neutral as rankings go, it did find that the state had the lowest average car insurance rate at $845.

Michigan drivers, with the highest average, are paying $2,611.

Planning a road trip? They rank Iowa the best state to drive in, Hawaii the worst.

And while we’re on best-of’s . . .

Wolf Cove Inn in Poland last month landed on MSN.com’s list of “20 Exceptional Bed and Breakfasts Across America.”

The website highlighted “20 places across the country that go outside the usual B&B script.”

Wolf Cove Inn earned props for access to nature, free use of canoes and kayaks and luxury linens.

L-A forecast: Sunny, with more new builds

Broker Tim Millet at Porta & Co. offered a regional forecast at the Maine Real Estate & Development Association’s huge annual event last week.

Highlights, shared by Millett:

• He anticipates even more housing to come. New construction costs about $110,000 to $120,000 a unit to build in Lewiston-Auburn compared to $200,000 and up in Portland. “For this reason, there are more out-of-state and Portland area developers finding increased value in tertiary markets.”

• “In addition to multifamily development, Central Maine in 2020 is going to see a solar boom. New legislation enacted June 2019 paved the way for large-scale solar development in Maine. . . The majority capital, in the various proposed projects I’ve seen, are coming from out-of-state solar developers who plan to hire local contractors, which is great news for our communities. I expect to see projects underway by mid-summer 2020.”

In his presentation, Millett also noted the largest sale he could find in Androscoggin County last year: Equity Venture Partners of Boston purchased Auburn Plaza for $16.8 million as an investment, he said, with no brokers involved and no plans for redevelopment. The Center Street property is home to Flagship Cinemas, Big Lots! and Bed, Bath and Beyond, among other national chains.

And while we’re talking purchases . . .

Jim and Rebecca Henry bought the Professional Building at 145 Lisbon St. last month in a deal that was a year in the making.

Josh Soley, a principal at Maine Realty Advisors, said Tuesday that he first approached former owner Jeremy Chapman a year ago, asking if he’d have any interest in selling the eight-story, nearly 21,000-square-foot building at Lisbon and Ash streets.

The two were too far away initially, but six months later agreed on $505,000.

Soley said he approached Jim Henry of Remington Street Properties, a developer he’s worked with several times, to see if he was interested in investing. After a tour, Henry was in.

“Jim, who’s been active in buying with us, said, ‘I want this one for myself,'” Soley said.

Short- and long-range plans are being drawn up now to replace windows and the roof, build a more efficient elevator and improve the facade.

The building is 90% occupied and has 70 small offices, eight to 10 per floor, Soley said. The goal moving ahead is to get one tenant to take an entire floor.

“There’s a lot of action in Lewiston,” he said. “We like Lisbon Street the most.”

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


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