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Construction Begins on Lewiston’s Continental Mill Complex

LEWISTON, ME (June 9, 2023) — The Szanton Company, a Portland-based housing developer, is breaking ground on redevelopment of Continental Mill’s historic picker house as Picker House Lofts, a 72-unit mixed income apartment project. This marks the beginning of a larger redevelopment of the complex, adding momentum to the revitalization of downtown Lewiston.

Built in 1858 and located at 2 Cedar St on east bank of the Androscoggin River, the Picker House is the part of the Continental Mill complex where impurities were picked out of cotton before it was run through textile-making machines elsewhere in the complex. Across the river is the Auburn Riverwalk, soon to be joined by Lewiston’s Riverwalk, to which this project has given rights to along its 560 feet of river frontage. Picker House Lofts joins such other redevelopment projects in downtown Lewiston as Tree Street’s revitalization and adaptive re-use projects along lower Lisbon Street.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held June 9 at 10 a.m. in the Continental Mill inner courtyard. Speakers included Lewiston Mayor Carl Sheline; Maine Housing Director Dan Brennan; TD Bank Maine Market President Larry Wold; Evernorth President Nancy Owens; CEI Chief Investment Officer Daniel Wallace; and Chinburg V.P. Geoff Spitzer.

“We are thrilled to be giving a new birth of life to this historic complex that’s played such a huge role in the history of Lewiston’s economy and people,” said Szanton Company President Nathan Szanton. “It’s been sitting largely empty for decades, waiting for people to imagine something different for it.”

Lewiston Mayor Carl Sheline said “Increasing affordable housing is such a crucial initiative right now for our city and our state. The new Picker House development at the Continental Mill is an essential step to addressing this issue while also repurposing empty mill space. I am proud of the Szanton Company for their vision and hard work developing the plans for this building, and I look forward to seeing the positive difference this will make in our community.”

The project will include one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments. Residents will enjoy a fitness center, roof deck, community room, laundry room, secure indoor bike storage, and off-street parking.

The Picker House is a 79,000 square foot building built in the center of the Continental Mill complex, the rest of which is owned by New Hampshire-based Chinburg Properties. Rents for the workforce units will range from approximately $700-$1,100, while the market rents are expected to range from $1,050-$1,450. Heat and hot water, off-street parking, and wi-fi will be included in the rent.

The Szanton Company also built the 48-unit Lofts at Bates Mill, which opened in 2012, and the mixed-use, 63-unit Hartley Block, which opened in 2019. Picker House Lofts is expected to open in early 2025.

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