The Kennebunkport businessman redeveloping the Lincoln Mill in Biddeford is proposing to double the number of apartments in the mill and delay the construction of a new hotel that had been planned for the site.

If the city approves the change in plans, the hotel would be built later as a standalone project on land adjacent to the mill.

The developer, LHL Holdings LLC, has requested to appear before the Biddeford Planning Board on March 3.

The original plans included an 80-room hotel, 96 loft apartments and a formal restaurant. If the city approves the revisions, 181 market-rate apartments – with a rooftop pool for the tenants – would occupy most of the existing mill and the hotel would be moved next door.

The development of Biddeford's Lincoln Mill will be expanded to include 181 market-rate residential apartments. Courtesy photo

The development of Biddeford’s Lincoln Mill will be expanded to include 181 market-rate residential apartments. Courtesy photo

“As updated market studies were completed, we drilled down into the data, and it became apparent that the demand for new market rate apartments is greater than we anticipated,” Tim Harrington, a partner in LHL Holdings, said in a news release. “It’s much better for everyone if we make this adjustment now, rather than too far down the road.”

A 10,000-square-foot gym, expected to be run by Quest Fitness, would be located on the lower floor of the mill, along with 18,000 square feet of commercial space.

A 107-seat casual restaurant would be located in the lobby area of the first floor. Mark Robinson, spokesman for the development group, said it’s still too early to name a restaurant tenant.

The developer will request an expanded parking waiver from the city since the new plan will require an additional 79 parking spaces.

If approved, the revised plans would raise the value of the project from $50 million to $62 million-$65 million.

Mayor Alan Casavant called the changes “very impressive.”

“I like the idea of additional market-rate apartments,” he said, “and I believe the stand-alone hotel, coupled with the amenities that are associated with it in the apartment complex, indicates what I’ve been hearing over and over again, that Biddeford is ripe for development.”

Casavant said there are plenty of apartments in Biddeford, but rents have been rising as more people move there from places like Portland, where the higher cost of living is pushing people to look for more affordable apartments in other towns.

The mayor said the biggest obstacle to the new plans will probably be concern over parking, which is “a central issue in the development of the Biddeford downtown.”

“There’s not enough parking for everything that’s going on, and inevitably a parking structure or two parking structures are going to have to be built,” he said.

 


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