WATERVILLE — A plan to renovate two downtown buildings to the tune of $10.5 million got a boost Tuesday as city councilors voted to amend the existing downtown tax increment financing district to remove the buildings and allow a new district to be developed for them.

Kennebec Realty Partners, owned by Thomas DePre Sr. and his sons, Thomas DePre Jr. and Justin DePre, hopes to develop 155 and 165 Main St., across the street from the Bill & Joan Alfond Main Street Commons downtown, according to Raegan LaRochelle, of LaRochelle Consulting, LLC.

Plans call for renovations of 52, 200-square-feet on four levels of the two adjacent buildings, LaRochelle said.

The building at 155 Main is two stories; the building at 165 is three stories. Plans call for an 11,000-square-foot craft brewery and 5,200-square feet of function space in the basement, plus a bowling alley, restaurant and brew pub, she said. The DePres hope to develop 155 Main into office space on the second floor, as well as market-rate apartments on the second and third floors of the building at 165. A new roof and windows, as well as an elevator, are planned.

The DePres, who were in the audience Tuesday, would run the businesses themselves, according to LaRochelle.

Justin DePre is a graduate of both Colby and University of Maine School of Law; Thomas Sr. recently moved to Maine and lives in China; and Thomas Jr. is a Brown University graduate and has a background in construction and project management. They already own properties in Maine and have renovated single-family homes on Carroll Street in Waterville, according to LaRochelle.

The city’s Tax Increment Financing Advisory Committee voted Monday to recommend a new TIF district be created so a financial incentive is provided through a credit-enhancement agreement in the future.

Being in a separate district would allow the owners a longer term for such an agreement. As part of the TIF, the owners would pay taxes on the property, and the city would reimbursement them on an agreed-upon percentage of those taxes.

The council’s vote was just a first step in a fairly long process to create a separate district, according to City Manager Michael Roy. He said two steps must be taken: create a district and program for what happens in the district, and develop a credit-enhancement agreement that describes the terms and amount of reimbursement.

Mayor Nick Isgro said he was very supportive of the project.

“I would encourage the council to move this to the next step,” he said.

Council Chairman Sydney Mayhew, R-Ward 4, concurred.

“I completely support what is being done here and the establishment of this process,” he said.

 

Amy Calder — 861-9247
[email protected]
Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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