This week the Buzz is swirling with news, rumors, hot takes and rooftop dining.

Sunscreen applied? Then let’s do it.

First up: Noah Stebbins, an associate at The Boulos Co., has written a “Lewiston-Auburn Mid-Year Market Outlook” for Boulos’ site that is well worth a read. Among his insights:

• Staples is moving across the river, leaving Gendron Place (the former Promenade Mall) at 885 Lisbon St. and moving into the the former Office Max at 89 Union St. in Auburn, with a reopening there this fall.

• The former Rite Aid at 987 Lisbon St. in Lewiston might be getting some love. Per Stebbins: “(It) recently hit the market and multiple healthcare companies have expressed interest in the property. All signs point to a deal coming together soon.”

• There’s this tease about the empty, 0.16-acre lot at 186 Main St. that the city of Auburn has for sale: “According to Jay Brenchick, Auburn’s director of economic development, there is a well-known brewery willing to sign a long-term lease for the first-floor future retail space and there are major employers in the area willing to pre-lease the apartments for staff.”

Get your brewery guesses in now …

• And finally, last but not least: The 8,000-square-foot Anniversary Park site for sale by the city of Auburn is under contract and developer Treadstone LLC is looking at building a glass-facade structure with two eateries and rooftop dining there.

The park is off Pulsifer Street in New Auburn next to the New Auburn Social Club and Rolly’s Diner. It lies to the west of the South Bridge and at the mouth of the Little Androscoggin River that empties into the Androscoggin River. The park includes the Bells of St. Louis Church clock tower.

“This is one of the most exciting projects to come to Auburn in recent memory,” Mayor Jason Levesque said Tuesday, confirming the news. “It fulfills one of the goals set forth when we first started the New Auburn Village project. I’m excited for the developers and know that they will be an anchor for a revitalized New Auburn!”

Brenchick said the city is working on a final sales contract with the purchase price not yet disclosed. The project will head to the Planning Board later this month.

Josh Soley, who is looking to develop the site with partner Frank Carr, said they’re planning an 8,000-square-foot building with a roughly 5,000/3,000-square-foot split between two tenants still to be lined up. They’re calling it an “eatertainment center”: think grabbing pizza, ice cream or fresh doughnuts, then having a seat and people watching or someday listening to an outdoor concert in the park.

“I like New Auburn, I like what they’re doing. I think it’s a very pro-business town,” Soley said. “I would like to build something that hasn’t ever been built before in Lewiston-Auburn, something that’s Boston or seaport-style. We would focus on having indoor/outdoor eating, something that would compliment the area” and serve as an attraction.

A development brochure describes it as on the banks of the Androscoggin River and also open to retail.

If Planning Board approval and a final deal with the city come through this fall, Soley said he’d like to break ground over the winter and have it open in the summer of 2022.

FINAL MIDYEAR THOUGHTS

Stebbins, who authored the midyear market outlook, wrote that his overall take on the Lewiston-Auburn market is that “the time has never been better to consider investing or moving your business … Motivated city officials, coupled with exciting new development projects make this a market that everyone should keep a close eye on as the Twin Cities continue to transform and attract new investment.”

Reached by The Buzz, Stebbins said he’s a Bates College graduate who has been working in this market for two years, “so I’m very familiar with the area and excited to see all these new projects coming to light.”

Asked to speculate on persistent rumors that Olive Garden is bound for the former Ruby Tuesday’s in Auburn, Stebbins said, “if I had to guess, I’d say there is a strong possibility that they will open in the future there.”

Sizzlin’.

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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