Auburn Mayor Jason Levesque, who owns the former Peck building, foreground, is planning on developing the parking lot just behind it at the corner of Middle and Lowell streets in Lewiston as seen in this photo from May. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

LEWISTON — Auburn Mayor Jason Levesque is proposing a multi-phase development on Lowell and Middle streets, starting with a 150-unit building on what is currently a surface parking lot used by Central Maine Medical Center.

The development is planned to be just the beginning of an ambitious multi-phase effort, with Levesque teaming up with developer Joe Mannisto on a first phase, and plans for a second phase that could include another housing development on Middle Street, and renovations to the former Peck building that Levesque already owns.

As part of the first phase, Levesque said Mannisto is working on plans to develop an additional 150-unit building across the street from Levesque’s property, but that the pair would partner on several development elements to cut costs.

In all, the development could lead to roughly 400 new housing units, along with planned restaurant space and pedestrian upgrades.

“What this is going to do is develop a new, urban corridor within Lewiston,” Levesque said.

The City Council is slated to have a workshop discussion Tuesday on a potential tax-increment financing district for the development, but the details of that proposal were not yet public Monday. According to Levesque, the proposed TIF would capture new value that would be used for infrastructure improvements, including the city’s planned extension of the riverwalk between the Sunnyside neighborhood and Simard-Payne Memorial Park.


According to a concept design, Levesque’s initial six-story building would feature a mix of amenities for tenants and commercial uses on the ground floor.

Levesque said the 150-unit building, which would have an address of 55 Middle St. but have the majority of its frontage on Lowell Street, would have market rate rents. Current estimates based in the Lewiston-Auburn area range between $1,340 for a studio apartment and $2,000 for a two-bedroom unit.

He said the housing is meant to be “attainable” for young professionals, health care students, traveling nurses and more, especially as rents would be at least 30% cheaper than the Greater Portland area.

A concept image shows a six-story, 150-unit apartment building proposed by Auburn Mayor Jason Levesque on Lowell and Middle streets in Lewiston. Submitted image

The concept design says the breakdown of the first building would be 106 studio units, 22 one-bedroom units, and 22 two-bedroom.

Lincoln Jeffers, director of economic and community development, said the area proposed for development hasn’t seen considerable investment in many years, and that Levesque’s vision would add needed tax dollars and housing options.

When reached Monday, Lewiston Mayor Carl Sheline said, “We need housing for all income levels in Lewiston and I’m excited about the prospect of this development coming together.”


Parking for tenants would be in an adjacent parking garage attached to the Peck Building, where he also plans to relocate overflow parking from CMMC.

Levesque said the development “ticks off a lot of boxes” for downtown infill development, “taking underutilized surface lots, converting them into housing and taxable value, and making efficient use of existing infrastructure — in this case a parking garage.” He said the Peck building once housed 900 employees, but like large office buildings across the country, was “a victim of COVID.”

“This is a way of reinvigorating downtowns,” he said.

The project would also be located directly behind Island Point, an area of the city that is eyed for future redevelopment in the newly-updated Riverfront Island Master Plan.

If the first phase moves ahead as planned, Levesque said phase two would take place at 38 Middle St., which could feature between 70-90 units. He said that’s in the early design phase. He’s also envisioning a potential renovation of the Peck building to add studio and loft apartments on the third and fourth floors.

Levesque said if approved, he expects construction to begin in 2024.

Auburn Mayor Jason Levesque, who owns the former Peck building, background left, is planning on developing the parking lot, middle, at the corner of Middle and Lowell streets in Lewiston, seen Monday afternoon. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

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