GARDINER — The first building on a Summer Street site that city officials identified for redevelopment years ago is now open for business.

And within about a month, developers will know whether they can proceed with a second project on the site of the former T.W. Dick Co.

On Thursday, Fresenius Kidney Care is holding an open house to celebrate the opening of its newest dialysis facility in Maine and to invite the community to tour the clinic. A ribbon cutting is scheduled for noon.

Stephanie Violette, facility administrator for the Gardiner clinic, which brings the number of facilities in Maine to 11, is intended to serve people in southern Kennebec County, and northern Sagadahoc and Lincoln counties.

Currently, Violette said, the 8,000-square-foot clinic has 10 working stations with the ability to expand to 16 stations. People who require dialysis are typically scheduled for three appointments a week, each lasting four hours on average, she said.

“This has been a long time coming, and it has taken a lot of work,” Mayor Thom Harnett said. “It’s not just Summer Street. It’s the entire corridor, which we have been trying to develop in a responsible manner.

“This is one of the first major steps we are taking for that,” he added.

In all, the city of Gardiner acquired the four industrial properties on Summer Street as part of a larger plan to develop the Cobbossee Corridor that runs along Cobbosseecontee Stream and the edge of Gardiner’s downtown neighborhood.

Developers Collaborative, the firm city officials identified in 2015 through a request-for-qualifications process to develop the blighted parcels that had been owned by T.W. Dick, broke ground on the site in August 2017 and finished construction in June.

“The challenge on this site was the brownfield work that had taken place,” Mike Lyne, project manager for Developers Collaborative, said Tuesday.

With ownership came the responsibility to clean up the contaminants that were left after two centuries of industrial use. City officials secured federal and state grants to do the work so the properties could be redeveloped.

When Developers Collaborative submitted its qualifications, the initial project was expected to be a medical arts building for MaineGeneral Medical Center at 1 Summer St., the lot with frontage on Bridge Street. The regional medical center has a facility on Dresden Avenue, and the hospital had signed a letter of intent to sign a lease on space on Summer Street that would allow it to expand and move to a more central location.

“Fresenius had inquired about that site,” Lyne said, but at the time the company was still working with MaineGeneral.

Earlier this year, MaineGeneral officials confirmed they have opted to build a facility on Brunswick Avenue, near the Libby Hill Business Park and Interstate 295.

Originally, Developers Collaborative had intended to build affordable senior housing on one of the Summer Street parcels, but that application didn’t score well at the Maine State Housing Authority.

Instead, the company built the $2 million facility that now houses Fresenius.

Lyne said the company expects to hear within about a month whether it will win approval and financing for affordable workforce and family housing on parcels to the west of the Fresenius clinic.

“We put the application in a month ago for 15 units of family housing,” Lyne said.

Plans call for one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments.

If the decision is favorable, he said, the company will solidify pricing and financing this winter.

Developers Collaborative still has an option on the parcel at the corner of Summer and Bridge streets for another year.

As that deadline nears, so does the start of a bridge reconstruction project that will replace both the Bridge Street and Maine Avenue bridges.

“We hope the bridge project helps improve circulation everywhere,” Lyne said.

And the work invested in developing 1 Summer St., will not go to waste. Lyne said Developers Collaborative has a better understanding of the size of the foundation and the amount of parking needed.

“As we get prospects, we’ll let the city staff know,” he said.

For Harnett, who is completing his term as mayor this year, the development of Summer Street is important for the city.

“It’s a victory on a lot of levels,” he said.

Because the Fresenius building is not owned by a nonprofit, it adds to the city’s tax base, and it brings a number of professional people to Gardiner who could also shop and eat there.

“I wish them the best success possible,” Harnett said. “We are happy to have them (Fresenius) and their employees, we’re happy to provide a needed medical service and we’re happy to develop properties that have sat idle for too long.”

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

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