A rendering shows the planned 104-unit second phase of the Choice Neighborhoods redevelopment known as DeWitt, with City Hall shown on left and Kennedy Park in the foreground. The developers behind the $45 million project along Pine Street have asked the city for additional funding help due to a funding gap. City of Lewiston

LEWISTON — The city will be asked to provide additional funding and approve a tax-increment financing district for the second phase of the Choice Neighborhoods redevelopment along Pine Street.

The developers behind the project, Avesta Housing and Lewiston Housing, said despite some additional funds that have already been secured, stubbornly high construction costs have left a funding gap of about $2 million for the $45 million project.

The DeWitt project, between 40-60 Pine St., calls for 104 mixed-income units in two buildings with a total of 15,000 square feet of commercial space between the two buildings. The site plan was approved by the Planning Board in July 2023.

The units will be a majority of one-bedroom units, with 36 two-bedroom units. Most will be limited to a mix of income levels between 50% and 80% of area median income, with 21 market-rate units.

Due to the funding gap, the city has been asked to provide an additional $450,000 in federal HOME funds toward the project, as well as approving a TIF that would return 50% of the increased assessed value from the project to the developers over the first 16 years. A council memo said the total amount returned to the developer would be $1.2 million.

The council is scheduled to hold a public hearing and vote on the TIF and joint development agreement during its March 19 meeting.


Officials from Lewiston Housing and Avesta said Tuesday that if its funding sources come together as planned, construction on DeWitt could begin this fall.

The project is the second phase of the Choice Neighborhoods initiative, which is using a $30 million federal grant to replace distressed housing and support new services and neighborhood improvements in Lewiston. The first phase, known as Wedgewood, along Pine, Pierce, Walnut and Bartlett streets, is under construction.

According to a city memo, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which awarded the Choice grant, recognized that construction costs were “rising drastically across the country, making it near impossible for grantees to develop as planned.” Because of that, additional funding was made available for grantees to apply for, and Lewiston Housing received an additional $1.7 million for the Dewitt development.

“This funding helps address some of the construction gap but will not provide all the funds needed,” the memo states.

The development team said that a similar TIF with a 50% return was approved for the Wedgewood development.

Earlier in the meeting, the council approved an agreement that will see additional streetscape improvements for the Wedgewood project. As part of the site plan approval, the developers were only required to complete certain street improvements abutting the parcels under development, but the agreement approved Tuesday will result in an entire block of new sidewalks, pedestrian-friendly bump outs and pavement.



The council Tuesday also approved the annual five-year capital improvement plan, which is a working document that prioritizes city spending on capital expenses like equipment and infrastructure.

The plan includes $59.5 million in spending, $46 million of which would be paid for with local funds. However, the plan is used as a prioritization list, and each project must ultimately receive approval for funding.

The list of projects includes a $2.75 million airport hangar at the Auburn-Lewiston Municipal Airport, of which the city would have to fund $68,000; a $2.8 million L-A 911 communications center that would receive $1.25 million in local funding; and the long discussed Bates Mill No. 5 cleanup project, slated to cost $5.4 million. The cleanup would require $3.9 million in city funding.

Other projects include a $1.26 million Public Works wash facility; an interior renovation of the Lewiston Armory for $930,000; $4.6 million for street maintenance; and $1.24 million for municipal garage vehicle and equipment replacements.

Leading up to the council’s approval of the plan, the Finance Committee and Planning Board are asked for recommendations.

In its recommendation, the Planning Board voted to cut all but one school department request, which is a renovation of entryways and façade at Longley and Montello schools for $686,000.

The vote is simply a recommendation and not a final funding decision.

A comment from Planning Board member Michael Marcotte regarding the five-year plan said, “To financially handcuff a community with ever increasing debt load without a mechanism to provide more meaningful business and industry to secure the tax revenue necessary to pay for it is shortsighted and chasing after rainbows and pixie dust.”

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