The historic Wedgewood house at 101 Pine St. in downtown Lewiston will be renovated as part of the 82-unit first phase of the Choice Neighborhoods redevelopment. There will be eight additional buildings of new construction. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

LEWISTON — A development review application for the 82-unit first phase of the Choice Neighborhoods redevelopment in downtown Lewiston was approved by the Planning Board on Monday.

With a 6-1 vote, the board approved development plans that will see eight new buildings erected on 14 consolidated parcels between Pine, Pierce, Walnut and Bartlett streets, along with the renovation of the historic Wedgewood house on Pine Street.

The board voted 6-1 in favor, with Michael Marcotte opposed.

The project is the first phase of the city’s ambitious Choice Neighborhoods effort, a redevelopment and community revitalization plan that was bolstered by a $30 million federal grant last year.

Members of the development team, led by Avesta Housing and Lewiston Housing, were on hand Monday to answer questions. No one from the public spoke during public comment.

Architects working on the project described some of the design elements, which were mostly guided by the city’s recently established design guidelines to better ensure that new buildings fit the surrounding neighborhood character.


According to a memo from the development team, the proposed new buildings will range from eight to 12 units and will be three and four stories. The two four-story buildings will include an elevator, and the six three-story buildings will include townhouse style apartments and walk-ups, the memo said.

“One of the key features of the design is the smaller scale buildings, which are scaled to fit the neighborhood context and incorporate key features of the traditional triple-decker housing seen in this neighborhood,” it states.

The Wedgewood house, it states, will be rehabilitated according to historic tax credit standards, “preserving and restoring historic details such as the exterior siding, the cupola and railing, window openings, and key interior details such as the historic stair, fireplaces, and trim.”

Pat Carol, a landscape architect working on the project, said it’s been designed to be as “pedestrian-friendly as possible,” and will include an interior green space set back from the surrounding streets, as well as benches, bike racks and street trees.

The board Monday also approved two waiver requests related to the design, one that allows a reduction in required windows, and another that allows street trees on Pierce Street within the public right of way.

Several board members questioned the window design and waiver request, but Phil Kaplan, an architect on the project, said that while the total number of windows is less than the city requirement, the size of windows is larger.


He said the larger windows are more energy efficient, and the buildings will include air conditioning. One board member said the proposed window design would provide tenants with more natural light.

Avesta development officer Catherine Elliot said the estimated total number of tenants expected from the development is roughly 200. There will be 53 on-site parking spaces.

The Planning Board approval was given under several conditions, including that the design for street trees along the site “be adjusted to meet code requirements as part of the final drawing set before the issuance of a building permit.”

According to Lincoln Jeffers, director of economic and community development, city staff will present at the City Council workshop Oct. 11 on a proposed tax-increment financing district and allocation of federal HOME funds toward the project.

The City Council had previously approved a contract zone for the project in June.

During Monday’s meeting, Elliot said the project is under environmental review now, with approval expected this fall. She said if that timeline holds, site work would begin this winter.

Following the vote, Planning Board Chairman Lucy Bisson, who grew up in the Tree Streets neighborhood, said, “I can’t wait to see my old neighborhood revitalized.”

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