The entry to the Lewiston converter station worksite at 1653 Main St. as seen on Monday, where work has almost come to a stop on New England Clean Energy Connect construction while the project faces legal challenges. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

This week the Buzz is buying, adding, opening and not building, at least for now, to the tune of about $10 million.

First up: The city of Lewiston issued four building permits for New England Clean Energy Connect’s converter station project at 1653 Main St. in November — one for an 18,100-square foot building for $5.9 million, another 11,822-square feet for $2.9 million, another 7,000-square feet for $928,682 and a fourth 1,200-square feet for $359,476.

The buildings were all part of what’s been estimated as a $250 million project at the site.

With the Maine Department of Environmental Protecting suspending the license and prohibiting ongoing construction on NECEC’s $1 billion power transmission line late last month as the project winds through the courts, work at the Lewiston converter station is instead now being buttoned up, according to Gerry Mirabile, director of permitting and compliance for the NECEC project.

“Since the 23rd, no new construction has been done,” he said Monday. “The only work that’s been done at the converter station and elsewhere in the project is either to complete any work that needs to be complete for safety reasons or to do any work that needed to be done to make the site stable.”

That includes, in Lewiston, putting grates on culverts so children or animals can’t get trapped and bolting down stormwater grates to prevent accidental falls.

“There’s a very large, steep slope on the eastern side of the site; it’s basically rocks that had been blasted and graded,” added Mirabile. “The rock in that area is being knocked down so it’s stable so it’s not so steep and at any risk of landsliding, and then any holes around that could be a falling hazard are being back-filled.”

That work should wrap up soon, he said.

City Planner Doug Greene said under the permits, site work has to start within six months and finish in one year unless an extension is requested and granted.

“As of (Friday), we have not received a request to extend the start of work, nor have we gotten notice NECEC has stopped work,” he said.

City officials had been big supporters of the NECEC project, which was rejected by voters in a statewide referendum last month, and several said they were disappointed after the vote. The city has already seen sizable investment and tax revenue impact from it.

ELSEWHERE IN LEWISTON

Warehouse space is being built Monday behind the former Promenade Mall at 855 Lisbon St. in Lewiston. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

Among the other commercial projects permitted last month, according to city records:

• A $1.3 million addition at 855 Lisbon St., the former Promenade Mall, now Gendron Place, adding 64,800-square feet behind the mall for MRE, LLC.

Greene said the space is intended for warehousing.

• A $75,000 project at 1103 Lisbon St. installing a pair of pay kiosks at the car wash for Nouria Energy Corp.

• A $60,000 project at 647 Main St. converting a garage to finished office space and replacing a deck for Landry Property Group.

• A $40,000 store renovation for 539 Washington LLC at 426 Lisbon St.

•  A $36,921 renovation at 393 Main St. for Veterans Inc. working on four units.

• A $27,000 renovation for New Beginnings at 597 Main St., replacing egress entrance decks and stairs for the second and third floors.

NEARLY OPEN

St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center announced Monday that it’s finished work on the new Carlton and Lucille Sedgeley Adult Behavioral Unit and will open for patients on Dec. 22.

The new 18-bed unit, on the fourth floor of the C-wing, is “the culmination of a four-year capital project to improve the facilities at the hospital,” according to a press release.

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins recently toured the space while it was still under construction.

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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