The Professional Building at 145 Lisbon St. could be redeveloped into one-bedroom apartments on the upper floors, with commercial space remaining on the lower floors. Sun Journal file photo

LEWISTON — The owners of the historic Professional Building on Lisbon Street plan to redevelop it into market-rate housing, and have asked for some help from the city.

Next week, the City Council will consider a tax-increment financing agreement with developer Jason Hutchins, who is looking to redevelop the seven-story building into 17 one-bedroom apartments, with ground-floor commercial space.

Economic development staff said because the building, which is on the National Register of Historic Buildings, is considered a “high-rise” structure, it will require additional life safety measures that add to an already costly project.

Lincoln Jeffers, director of Economic and Community Development, said the project is slated to cost $4.8 million, with the additional life safety requirements adding more than $500,000.

Jeffers said those costs led Hutchins to approach the city.

According to Jeffers, the redevelopment is estimated to produce $57,000 in new taxes each year. If the proposed TIF agreement is approved next week, it would return 55% of the tax revenue to the developer for 20 years. The building is assessed at $289,700, but staff said it is estimated to be assessed at $2.3 million following the renovation.


The Professional Building at 145 Lisbon St. opened to the public in 1914 as the Manufacturers National Bank Building. Designed by Hutchins & French of Boston and built by a host of Massachusetts-based contractors, the building featured architecture adapted from Italian Renaissance. Among the many interior offerings were wrought-iron staircase railings, mahogany doors and marble throughout, as well as state-of-the-art electrical security systems and bank vault materials.

The 20,000-square-foot building has changed hands multiple times in recent years, but officials said this week that the building has maintained many of its original features that make it stand out.

In a memo to the council, Jeffers said the building has been “a signature building in the heart of downtown Lewiston for over 100 years. In recent years, it’s been used as a relatively low-cost option for small offices, but Jeffers said most of the building is now vacant due to less demand for office space. He also said many “critical operational systems” in the building are failing.

“Mr. Hutchins has a plan to bring this building back into productive use, and to create market-rate housing where there is significant demand for it,” he said. “Having more people living and spending money in the downtown will add energy, presence, and economic vitality to the community.”

As part of the project, the elevator will be refurbished and made operational. During a council workshop Tuesday, Jeffers said just the windows on the building are slated to cost $350,000.

Hutchins will also receive a roughly $35,000 city grant toward facade improvements.


During the workshop, Councilor Linda Scott said it was welcome news “to have someone who wants to come in and redevelop a historic building.”

“I love that building,” she said, adding that the city should consider the possibly of making one single TIF district that includes other historic buildings.

Jeffers said staff will likely be back in front of the council within a year to discuss a similar proposal.

Asked about the redevelopment, and the choice of one-bedroom units, Hutchins said the building is narrow. He said one-bedroom apartments are “the best use of the space” and current rental market demand.

He believes work would begin in the winter of 2023, with construction taking a year. He said because it’s a historic renovation, certain “discovery” work needs to take place before any demolition can occur.

Mayor Carl Sheline said Tuesday that he’s “entirely supportive” of the project. He also said the building boasts a “beautiful view from the top floor.”

“Tax increment financing is an effective tool in our economic development toolbox that we can use to encourage development and help projects get to the finish line,” he said. “This building is an incredible piece of neo-classical architecture in our downtown and I’m excited to see this move forward.”

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