This week the Buzz is moving, investing, growing in downtown Lewiston and laden with real estate news, both traditional news — housing prices are up 15% in Androscoggin County — and, unexpectedly, former meth lab real estate news.

How much of a discount would a buyer in Maine demand when purchasing a former meth lab property here compared to say, California or Hawaii? There’s a survey that asked.

No further proof we’re living in wild times.

First up: Lewiston Housing Authority is on the move.

The Lewiston Housing Authority will move into 86 Lisbon St. in Lewiston, likely by the end of the year. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

It bought the office building at 86 Lisbon St. from Skelton, Taintor & Abbott last month for $292,500 in a deal brokered by Chris Paszyc and Nick Lucas of the Boulos Co.

Executive Director Chris Kilmurry said as part of the $30 million Choice Neighborhoods grant awarded last spring, Lewiston Housing Authority had proposed converting its offices at 1 College St. into five new Head Start classrooms for Promise Early Education Center.

Keeping the authority downtown was important, he said. The roughly 15 to 20 people who work there will likely move into the new space before the end of the year.

“We intend to only occupy one floor of the new office and are exploring options for the other floor currently,” Kilmurry said.

And as they move out, Promise’s work begins.

Betsy Norcross Plourde, executive director of the Promise Early Education Center, said they’ll start renovating the building with the hope of moving into four classrooms in early spring serving Early Head Start children ages 6 weeks to 3 years.

Two of those rooms will move over from the B Street Community Center, continuing to provide care to eight children each from 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and two new rooms will provide care to eight children each initially from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

“The fifth room we look to open at a later date serving 16 children ages 3-5,” Plourde said. “This is a wonderful opportunity for Promise Early Education Center to increase the capacity of quality early child education available in our community’s area of greatest need.”

The two rooms at B Street that Promise is leaving will eventually become Community Clinical Services, she said.

AND SLIGHTLY UP LISBON STREET

H & M Associates Inc. bought the second and third floors of the Pontiac Building at 415 Lisbon St. last month from Southern Gateway for $480,000, according to Mainebiz.

Lucas, who also brokered this deal, said both 5,000-square-foot floors are occupied and the purchase was as an investment property.

“These are high-quality office condos that offer high ceilings and charm with their exposed brick and beams,” he said.

Lepage Bakeries Park Street bought the empty fourth floor of the building last fall for additional office space.

The Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce is on the first.

VERDICT: THE LOCAL MARKET IS STILL RED HOT

Figures released by the Maine Association of Realtors on Wednesday show 409 housing units were sold between June 1 and Aug. 31 in Androscoggin County, a 10.8% increase over the same three months in 2020, for a median price of $250,000, a 15.4% increase.

In Franklin County, it was 179 units, a 24.3% increase, at a median sales price of $225,000, a 15.8% increase. And in Oxford County, 300 units, a 4.5 % increase, for a median sales price of $267,000, a 36.9% increase.

AND PROVING THERE’S A SURVEY FOR EVERYTHING

Rehabs.com surveyed would-be property buyers to ask how much of a discount they’d want off the list price if they discovered the location had been a former meth lab.

In Maine, it was $55,216, in New Hampshire $103,372 and in Hawaii, $249,538.

In other results, 26% of respondents said they’d be worried about the property’s stigma and 59% they’d immediately pull out of the deal.

BUT WHAT WOULD THEY THEN HAVE FOR BREAKFAST?

Let’s end on a nationally recognized sweeter note.

MealFinds.com asked survey participants to rank each state’s signature breakfast dish in order of popularity and Maine’s blueberry pancake came in at the No. 2 favorite breakfast food.

Texas’ breakfast taco, or breakfast burrito — apparently there’s regional dispute over the name? — came in at No. 1.

Curious about No. 50? It’s South Dakota’s sorghum pie. (Though frankly, No. 49’s fried cornmeal mush in Indiana also sounds like an acquired taste.)

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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