A pedestrian crosses Sabattus Street 0n Friday morning in front of the former C & C Beauty & Barber Supply at 48 Sabattus St. in Lewiston. The building was a proposed location of a 24-bed homeless shelter and resource center, but those behind the effort said they are considering alternate locations after interference in negotiations. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

LEWISTON — Residents behind an effort to open a 24-hour homeless shelter and resource center in Lewiston say they are looking at alternative locations after someone with access to confidential information interfered with negotiations on the property.

Kevin Boilard, one of five team members behind the proposed Lewiston Auburn Transitional Resource Center, confirmed Friday the team is considering other options after negotiations on a long-vacant Sabattus Street building broke down. The team said after a meeting with Lewiston officials Tuesday, someone contacted the property owner, disclosing confidential details about the proposed financing of the center and claiming there are other interested parties.

Now, they say, the owner has raised the asking price and is “no longer willing to negotiate,” making the project unlikely to move forward there.

The property, at 48 Sabattus St., was shared with the City Council in a confidential memo this week after a councilor was adamant it be shared, the team said. Boilard said prior to Tuesday’s meeting, the team was hesitant to disclose the location of the property in order to protect negotiations on the purchase price.

A statement from the resource center team on Friday said, “Somebody used their access to confidential information to try to sabotage our project. We are looking at other properties, which will remain confidential.”

“Exactly what we didn’t want to happen played out,” Boilard said. “The odds of us ending up at that location have drastically gone down at this point, unless we have further discussions with the owners that go differently than we’ve been advised.”


City Administrator Heather Hunter said Friday afternoon that she was notified of the issue by the resource center team late Thursday, but said that no one from city staff was directed to call the property owner.

The Sabattus Street building is the former C & C Beauty & Barber Supply, which has been vacant for a number of years. According to city records, the building is owned by Jasim, LLC, connected to Portland retailer Sam Patel. The Sun Journal was unable to reach the owners late Friday.

The resource center team, which detailed its proposal Tuesday, hoped to raise $600,000 from local and state sources toward renovating the building into a 24-hour shelter and resource center that could provide “wrap-around” services aimed at transitioning people out of homelessness. The city does not have a 24-hour, low-barrier shelter.

Boilard said it’s “frustrating” because the building has been sitting vacant for years, and he pointed to city councilor concerns this week that a shelter would worsen the homelessness issue.

“The reality is it already exists at that location,” he said. “The building is spray-painted, homeless people sleep in the doorways. So it’s ironic they’re concerned it’s going to attract a negative atmosphere.”

Boilard said he knows there is a lot of support behind the effort and the team will continue to “aggressively pursue” it.

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