LEWISTON — The New Hampshire developer who bought the massive Continental Mill last year has bought the Hill Mill from the same owners.

The Hill Mill, bottom, at the corner of Cedar Street, left, and Canal Street, right, in Lewiston. Visit sunjournal.com to watch an aerial video of the mill. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Eric Chinburg, president and CEO of Chinburg Properties, said he had kept in touch with the late Robert Roy’s family after the sale at auction last May.

“They were at the point where they were ready to sell this property and we were interested and we’re excited about it,” he said Tuesday. “We’ve done lots of mill projects like the Continental, where it’s empty and a total transformation, and we’ve also done several other projects where it’s already got its own vibrant group of tenants and we just want to build on that.”

The sprawling Hill Mill property at 41 Chestnut St. and 70-76 Cedar St. has a 460,000-square-foot building with tenants that include Bourgeois Guitars, McIntosh & Company Cabinetmakers and Entosense LLC edible insects.

Chinburg said it is about two-thirds leased out.

“Our initial strategy will be to identify a few areas of the building that are vacant and create ingress and egress into these areas so that they can be subdivided into smaller spaces,” he said.


An aerial photo of the back of the Hill Mill at the corner of Cedar Street, right and Canal Street in Lewiston taken on January 28, 2020. Visit sunjournal.com to watch an aerial video of the mill. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

“We’re already working with one tenant right now that we’re going to have to do a few modifications to get them in. They’re a 2,500-square-foot user. And we’ve identified two sections of the building — we’ve got our design team drawing them up now — where we would then go speak with the city building department and get going on those.”

Unlike the Continental Mill, where Chinburg plans a mix of commercial and retail uses along with hundreds of residential apartments, he does not anticipate residential use at the Hill Mill.

Chinburg said the building is in great shape structurally.

“You wouldn’t see much change on the outside except hopefully more cars in the parking lot,” he said.

According to Robert Roy’s 2000 obituary in the Sun Journal archive, he bought the Continental Mill in 1962 and the Hill Mill, which had most recently been part of Bates Manufacturing Co., in 1970.

The Hill Mill, left, along the canal between Chestnut and Cedar Streets in Lewiston, has been sold. On the far right is the Bates Mill Complex. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

“He developed those structures into facilities housing diverse industries and attracted outside firms to this area, increasing employment opportunities in the Lewiston-Auburn area,” it read.


Chinburg declined Tuesday to disclose the purchase price. Two filings with the Androscoggin County Registry of Deeds last month show two mortgages by NBT Bank for loans up to a combined $1.7 million from Chinburg’s Hill Mill LLC to Roy-Hill Corp., although Chinburg said the sale price was less.

The city has assessed the building and slightly more than 6 acres of property at $1.1 million.

The former textile mill complex was built in four parts, one adding onto the last, according to Lewiston’s assessing office. Mill No. 1 was built  in 1853, Mill No. 2 in 1862, Mill No. 3 in 1909 and Mill No. 4 in 1922.

Chinburg, who has redeveloped a number of mills in Maine and New Hampshire, said he does not have his eye on more in Lewiston just now.

“Having just bought about a million square feet in the last year, I think we’ve got something to digest,” he said. “We’re always in the market, but I also want to be careful to not get too overcommitted.”

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