Lewiston Maine Struggles With Ideas For What To Do With Bates Mill No.5

Real Estate Agent with Better Homes & Gardens | The Masiello Group

Tear it down, or spend a kazillion dollars renovating the space?

Bates MillThe City of Lewiston Maine has long struggled with ideas for what to do with the Bates Mill No. 5 building.  Much of the city center has been undergoing a revival over the past ten years.  This landmark remnant of Lewiston's textile mill hay days came to the forefront this past year when an initiative to build a casino, hotel, and convention center on the site failed to get voter approval.

Most of us in the Lewiston/Auburn Maine area have never seen the inside of the building that we pass by each day.  From the outside, it appears to be fraught with possibilities.  Mainers pride themselves on their creative utilization of the old for something new.  Other mill buildings in the area have been successfully renovated, although they are still not at full occupancy.  However, in this case, has the deterioration gone beyond the point of usefulness?

Today, the Lewiston Sun Journal ran a good story on the potential fate of the Bates Mill No. 5 building and included the video below.  Personally, I was struck by the level of deterioration on the interior and the fact that so much of the old factory equipment is still there.  What do you think?  Time to tear it down...or is there still hope?

Click here to view video and see inside Bates Mill No. 5.    

Posted by

The Maine Real Estate Network - Kristen Wheatley - Lewiston-Auburn Maine Real Estate

Maine Realtor Kristen Wheatley  

Kristen Wheatley is a Maine Realtor working and living in Central Maine.  She specializes in the sale of residential and investment property in the Lewiston-Auburn area and surrounding towns.  Kristen uses the latest tools and mobile technology to provide a superior experience and results for her clients and enjoys sharing these technology skills and teaching other real estate professionals and local small business owners.

The Maine Real Estate NetworkKristen Wheatley, Associate Broker
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Comments (6)

Jill Sackler
Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500 - Long Beach, NY
LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate

We had a famous Lace Mill building in the Town of Patchogue that sat vacant for years and years and was finally torn down. A college was built on the site. Like one of the speakers in the video said, "not every old building has to be saved." It has to make financial sense. They can always save remnants or momentos of a time gone by.

Jan 08, 2012 07:22 AM
Ginny Gorman
RI Real Estate Services ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate - North Kingstown, RI
Homes for Sale in Southern RI and beyond

Kristen, they have the same problem in Ma & we do in RI..some burn & some are made into office buildings, lofts...it is expensive and tough financial decisions need to be made.

Jan 08, 2012 08:46 AM
Lloyd Binen
Certified Realty Services - Saratoga, CA
Silicon Valley Realtor since 1976; 408-373-4411

Kristen, I watched the video and felt sad. While it's a shame to demolish historic buildings the cost of re-habbing a building whose re-bar is rotting out is prohibitive.  Way more than new construction, is my guess.  Otherwise, get the prisoners from the State Penitentiary do supply the labor for re-hab and convert it to live-work art studios.  That's what Del Monte did with some old fruit canning buildings in San Jose.  Place the old equipment in museums, sell it on E-Bay, and then scrap what's left.

Jan 08, 2012 08:55 AM
Roger D. Mucci
Shaken...with a Twist 216.633.2092 - Euclid, OH
Lets shake things up at your home today!

Sad to say, but it looks like it might be time to tear it down Kristen...............the cost of renovation would be outrageous.

Jan 08, 2012 10:22 AM
Kristen Wheatley
Better Homes & Gardens | The Masiello Group - Brunswick, ME
Supporting Success - Best Job in the World!

Jill.  Yes, some things are just old.  A new college must be a real asset to your town.

Yes, Ginny.  It's just hard to let it go.  The mills and the pride of those who worked in them are embedded in the psyche of this area.  We had one burn down as well.  Sadly, it was arson.  It was also one of the most beautiful and undergoing conversion into condos.  It was literally perched on the rocks on the Great Falls and was shocking to watch it burn and crumble.

So true Lloyd.  I like the labor idea.  We also have a metal recycling plant across the river in Auburn and the City could probably get a good amount of money for the metal from the machinery.  A lot has already been placed into the local museum.  Fortunately, we have no shortage of historic buildings here, but it's still hard to think of tearing it down.  The local paper also had an ongoing input session for ideas for the space.  People came up with some great ones, but I think this building is just too far gone.

Jan 08, 2012 10:22 AM
Kristen Wheatley
Better Homes & Gardens | The Masiello Group - Brunswick, ME
Supporting Success - Best Job in the World!

I think you're right Roger.  It's also at a major cross roads as you enter Lewiston from the bridge over the Androscoggin River.  It sure would be nice to have something in that spot other than a sad run down building.

Jan 08, 2012 10:25 AM