The Right Equation for Responsible Development: Spotlight on Lincoln Hotel & Lofts (Biddeford)

Each year, the Maine Real Estate & Development Association (MEREDA) recognizes some of the state’s most “noteworthy and significant” real estate projects, completed in the previous year. The exemplary projects from across the state, completed in 2022, not only embody MEREDA’s belief in responsible real estate development, but also exemplify best practices in the industry, contributing to Maine’s economic growth by significant investment of resources and job creation statewide.

This year, MEREDA honored projects from Lewiston to Portland to Biddeford, with each receiving special recognition at MEREDA’s 2023 Spring Conference on May 25th.

In a multi-part series exclusive to the Maine Real Estate Insider, we’ll provide an up-close look at the most notable commercial development projects of the past year that are helping to fuel Maine’s economy in terms of investment and job creation. MEREDA is proud to recognize responsible development based upon criteria including environmental sustainability, economic impact, energy efficiency, difficulty of the development, uniqueness, social impact and job creation.

MEREDA’s 2022 Top 7 recipients include:

Lincoln Hotel & Lofts, LHL Holdings and Chinburg Properties (Biddeford)Gauvreau Place, Community Concepts Inc. and Avesta Housing (Lewiston)
Shipyard Brewing Redevelopment, Bateman Partners, LLC (Portland)
Reconstruction & Reuse of Historic Building 12, Portland Foreside Development Company (Portland)
L.L.Bean Corporate Headquarters, Zachau Construction (Freeport)
Freedom Place at 66 State Street, Developers Collaborative (Portland)
VA Outpatient Clinic, J.B. Brown & Sons and FD Stonewater (Portland)

Please join us this week in celebrating Lincoln Hotel & Lofts.

MEREDA:  Describe the building and project.

Lincoln Hotel & Lofts: The Lincoln Lofts and Hotel project began with a vision many years before its completion to turn the historic textile mill in downtown Biddeford into a vibrant mixed-use property including a luxurious boutique hotel and 147 apartments, with a gym, rooftop pool and restaurant. The massive mill building has seen many commercial uses over the years dating back to the 1830’s when giant turbines first began converting water flow from the Saco River into the power needed for the looms to weave cotton into fabrics. The Hotel occupies the northern 40,000 square feet of the mill while the remaining 230,000 square feet are comprised of various commercial tenants and 147 apartments with common areas and resident amenities throughout.

MEREDA:  What was the impetus for this project? 

Lincoln Hotel & Lofts: This project was driven by the spirit of revitalization and the goal to create a unique guest experience for travelers while giving the local community a fun place to gather for great food and beverages in the heart of Biddeford.

MEREDA:  That sounds like quite a process.  How long were you in the planning stages before construction started?

Lincoln Hotel & Lofts: Tim Harrington acquired the Mill in January 2015 and began efforts to plan the adaptive re-use of the mill. Eric Chinburg and the Chinburg Properties team became involved in the summer of 2017. We began construction in earnest in March 2020 with the first phase of apartments occupied in August 2021.

MEREDA:  Tell us about the most challenging aspect of getting this project completed.

Lincoln Hotel & Lofts: Working on a 200-year-old mill building always presents unique challenges for any project, such as structural repairs and substantial amounts of brick restoration but bringing a mill to the level of luxury desired for the hotel here certainly raised the bar on renovation efforts. From flooring to light fixtures and a grand staircase in the middle of the hotel lobby, meticulous details added to the schedule every step of the way but in the end created an amazing finished product.

MEREDA:  Something unexpected you learned along the way was….

Lincoln Hotel & Lofts: Have patience and expect the unexpected on every historic restoration project and you’ll never be caught off guard.

MEREDA:  Now that it’s complete, what feature of the project do you think makes it the most notable? 

Lincoln Hotel & Lofts: We believe the rooftop swimming pool is the most notable feature of this project and adds a special flare to this historic mill that surprises most for Biddeford Maine.

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