TD Bank announced this week that it’s vacating Bates Mill No. 7 in Lewiston, foreground, and two floors of Bates Mill No. 3, on the right, in the background, as more people work remotely during the pandemic. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

LEWISTON — After a major, two-decades presence downtown, TD Bank announced that it’s leaving Bates Mill No. 7 and two of four floors in Bates Mill No. 3 as more employees work from home.

Spokeswoman Caitlin Day said Wednesday that roughly 1,000 people, 21% of them contractors, had been based in the Bates Mill Complex, but due to COVID-19, 90% are working remotely.

She called the move a “strategic decision” to align real estate space with business needs.

After Oct. 31, TD Bank will remain in two floors of Mill No. 3 and continue to maintain office space at 6 Atlantis Way in Lewiston and the Auburn Contact Center at 550 Center St. in Auburn.

No local jobs are impacted by the changes, Day said. TD Bank employs roughly 2,000 people, including contractors, between its Lewiston and Auburn sites.

“We have been, still are and continue to be committed to Lewiston, and Maine,” Day said. “Our move into Bates Mill was part of the catalyst for the redevelopment of the entire Bates Mill complex, including the building of the parking garage, which contributed to a rebirth of Lisbon Street. We’re proud to be part of the greater Lewiston community and an employer in the state of Maine.”

One of TD Bank’s predecessors, Peoples Savings Bank, located in the Bates Mill Complex in 1998.

In 2013, Maine Market President Larry Wold said TD Bank had extended its lease in Mill No. 3 through 2025. When Wold made that announcement, Lincoln Jeffers, director of economic and community development for the city, credited the bank as being a pioneer tenant of the complex, opening people’s eyes and helping “define what that space at the mill could become.”

Jeffers said the city had known since last winter that TD Bank had not renewed its lease at Mill No. 7, planning instead to consolidate to Mill No. 3. But Jeffers said the city wasn’t aware the company made plans to pull out of some Mill No. 3 space.

“With the COVID pandemic resulting in many companies moving much more quickly to work from home options, it is disappointing but not surprising to hear that TD Bank plans to have a smaller footprint in the Bates Mill complex,” he said. “However, it is heartening to know that the jobs and payroll will remain in the Lewiston-Auburn area.”

Jeffers said while it’s too early to forecast the impact on city parking revenue, “I remain hopeful that residents of the area will continue to support downtown businesses and institutions as they make choices on where they shop, dine and recreate.”

Both mills are part of a massive undertaking led by Auburn developer Tom Platz to bring back and rehabilitate the 1 million-square-foot-plus complex. Platz couldn’t be reached for comment.


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