The property at 186 Main St. in Auburn, highlighted in yellow, will be purchased by Great Falls Construction and redeveloped into a mixed-use building featuring a restaurant space and rental housing. City of Auburn

AUBURN — A city-owned lot next to the Androscoggin River will be developed into a restaurant, brewery or distillery with housing, a city news release said Tuesday.

According to the announcement, the Gorham-based Great Falls Construction is planning to purchase the vacant property at 186 Main St. and turn the site into “an extraordinary new mixed-use facility.”

“The hope is that the ground and first floors will be occupied by a brewery, distillery, restaurant tenant, while the remainder of the facility will have rental apartment units with a variety of studio, 1-bedroom, and 2-bedroom offerings,” the release states.

“This is a true economic development ‘win’ for our downtown,” said Jay Brenchick, Auburn’s director of economic development. “It has been a pleasure working with Great Falls Construction and exploring their vision for this property; we’re proud to help make this project a reality.”

The city has been shopping multiple parcels in the Main Street area since last year in an effort to grow the downtown riverfront area. The list also includes the parking lot at 131 Main St. next to the Auburn Hall parking garage.

The project at 186 Main St. has been in the works since at least last year, when Brenchick told the Sun Journal that there was “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.”


Jon Smith, president and owner of Great Falls Construction, said the Main Street property’s vicinity to the river was a major factor.

“This is a gorgeous location, near the Androscoggin River and within walking distance to Auburn’s vibrant downtown,” he said. “We are pleased to not only bring a top-notch eatery to central Maine, but also to help add some much-needed housing units. This beautiful building will complement the charm and character of Auburn’s downtown district and demonstrate our team’s meticulous craftsmanship.”

City officials said the project “aligns well with the city’s strategic vision for the downtown.”

Mayor Jason Levesque said one of the final recommendations from the recent strategic plan was “focusing on our downtown and the Androscoggin River.”

“And for the last several years, we have worked hard to transform our downtown into a place where people can work, live and play. With this significant investment by Jon and the terrific crew at GFC, that will become reality,” he said.

City officials have also recently considered plans for a revamped Festival Plaza, and the City Council approved the purchase of a kayak rental station as well as two “OpBox” modulars, which can be used for events or pop-up stores. Staff said the kayak rental station would be placed near the Androscoggin River behind Gritty McDuff’s Brew Pub.

According to the city property record, the 0.16-acre parcel at 186 Main St. is valued at $40,000.

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