2016-05-26 / Front Page

Delay at mill due to plan change

By Ben Meiklejohn
Staff Writer

BIDDEFORD – Construction of the Lincoln Lofts project at 17 Lincoln St. has yet to begin, despite approval having been granted by the planning board on March 2 to amend the original design.

According to Director of Code Enforcement & Emergency Management Roby Fecteau, however, LHL Holdings LLC has not yet applied for the building permits to begin construction.

Atlantic Holdings LLC had submitted the original design for Lincoln Hotel and Lofts, which was supposed to be an 80-room hotel with 96 loft apartments. However, earlier this year, the hotel portion of the project was nixed, and LHL Holdings LLC, a subsidiary of Atlantic Holdings LLC, submitted an amendment to the planning board to alter the project to 181 market-rate apartments with a rooftop pool, 107-seat restaurant and 10,000 square feet for a gym and 18,000 square feet of commercial space on the first floor.

The board also approved increasing a waiver for parking spaces to a total of 263.

LHL Holdings LLC intends to eventually build a hotel on adjacent property that it leased from the city for $1 for 99 years, initially for 60 parking spaces. However, City Planner Greg Tansley said the hotel would still be subject to approval by the planning board.

Fecteau said the costs for the building permits won’t be known until the company applies for the permits with the amended design. The building permits for the initial design would have cost $280,000 for one building permit to do $20 million worth of construction, and $140,000 for another permit to do $10 million of construction. In addition, sewer impact fees would need to be paid before building permits could be issued.

The permits do not include plumbing or electrical work, which are typically applied for after the building permits are paid for. Fecteau said construction can’t begin until the permits have been applied and paid for.

Mark Robinson, communications consultant for Atlantic Holdings LLC and LHL Holdings LLC, said the project is still moving forward even though the permits have not been applied for and construction not yet begun.

“Forward movement on the Lincoln Lofts project continues, although unseen by the public,” Robinson said. “The owners are moving ahead with the typical and ongoing re-adjustments and investments that are inherent in a complex project like this.

“That includes revised appraisals, redesign work for mechanical, engineering and plumbing, negotiating and signing new vendor contracts, and so forth – all the typical groundwork and sequencing that is necessary in a project this large.”

Robinson said Lincoln Lofts recently received its permit from the Office of State Fire Marshal, which reviews construction design plans to ensure they conform to statutes established to reduce fire hazards. Fecteau said the fire marshal’s permit is required as part of the application for the city’s construction permits.

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