Plans are in place to renovate the first Lockwood Mill building, which is adjacent to the Ticonic Bridge over the Kennebec River, in Waterville. The building is shown Monday. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

WATERVILLE — The company planning a more than $30 million project to transform about half of the former Lockwood-Duchess Mill building at 6 Water St. into housing and commercial space hopes to begin construction soon after receiving word about a key financing milestone.

The project by North River Co. would include 65 apartments on upper floors of the building’s southernmost wing, with 48 of those units intended to be affordable and 17 at market rates. The affordable housing would be tied to the local median income.

While North River does not have a specific start date, Mariah Monks, a director at the company, is optimistic.

“We are working to close on the financing and start construction as soon as possible,” Monks wrote in an email.

She said North River is working with the Maine State Housing Authority to set a closing date for financing. As of January, the project cost was expected to cost more than $20 million, although Monks said Tuesday it is now estimated at more than $30 million.

“Similarly to many other projects nationwide, our construction costs have gone up significantly due to the global supply chain and inflation challenges,” Monks said. “However, we are actively working to secure additional capital sources, which now include the project’s recent award of $1 million in ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) financing from Kennebec County.


“We are grateful to Waterville city officials and the City Council for their assistance in securing the ARPA funds and their continued support of the project.”

North River was awarded a $450,000 Community Development Block Grant for which the city of Waterville acted as a conduit, but the company was timed out of that funding and is reapplying for it, Monks said.



Waterville Mayor Jay Coelho said he is excited about the Lockwood project and the much-needed housing options it should provide the city.

“One of the biggest issues we have in Waterville is, we just don’t have enough housing,” Coelho said Tuesday. “We need it, and a lot of it is workforce housing, which is what’s important because if you want businesses to come, you have to have housing for them.”


Like Monks, Coelho said the start date for construction is just a matter of when MaineHousing can give the go-ahead. MaineHousing is an independent authority created by the state Legislature to address problems of unsafe, unsuitable, overcrowded and unaffordable housing. It also has oversight authority on housing that involves rental assistance, according to its website.

Scott Thistle, communications director for MaineHousing, wrote in an email Tuesday the Lockwood plan is one of 57 such projects in 34 towns and cities from Kittery to Presque Isle and Fryeburg to Ellsworth. They are in MaineHousing’s development pipeline as being “underwritten,” which means they are still in the application process and being reviewed. The former Seton Hospital housing project in Waterville is in the same category, according to Thistle.

The projects under review, he said, include 1,325 new affordable units.

“If these proposals meet the programmatic requirements for funding, we will fund them,” Thistle said.

He said 30 other proposed developments are on MaineHousing’s radar and have not made it to the application stage, but they could get there shortly.




The southern wing of 6 Water St., which is parallel to the Ticonic Bridge, would be developed as part of a first project phase, and the wing parallel to Water Street would be done later, according to Monks.

The cost and details of the second phase have yet to be determined. Commercial and retail uses would take up about 4,000 square feet of the 120,000-square-foot, four-story building, according to plans. Work to clean up and remove asbestos inside the building has been ongoing in preparation for construction.

North River owns the building and the two adjacent mill buildings. The three were called the Lockwood-Duchess Mill complex, used for textile manufacturing for many years until 1956. The southernmost mill building on Water Street was home to C.F. Hathaway Co., a shirt and other clothing manufacturer, from 1957 to 1992.

The Hathaway Creative Center at 10 Water St. includes 67  apartments on the upper floors, MaineGeneral Health offices, Waterville Brewing Co., Bricks Coworking & Innovation Space, GenoTyping Center of America, Waterville Creates and Hathaway Mill Antiques, among other tenants.

Redevelopment of the 66,000-square-foot, two-story building at 8 Water St., between the other two buildings, could be done as part of phase two, according to Monks.


The three mill buildings, built in the late 1800s, were designed by mill complex architect Amos Lockwood.

North River bought the buildings at 6 and 8 Water St. in 2019 for $1.5 million from Paul Boghossian, who developed the Hathaway Creative Center. North River bought the center from him in 2017 for $20 million.

Plans are in place to renovate the first Lockwood Mill building in Waterville, adjacent to the Ticonic Bridge over the Kennebec River.

The northernmost mill building, at 6 Water St., belonged previously to Marden’s Surplus & Salvage, while Central Maine Power Co. used the middle building, at 8 Water St. The buildings at 6 and 8 Water sit on 3.27 acres. The entire mill complex complex, including the Hathaway Creative Center, is 412,000 square feet and overlooks the Kennebec River.

North River is a privately held real estate investment and management firm based in New York City. It invests in and manages real property on behalf of those with high net worths, family offices and institutional investors, according to the company, which operates an office in Brunswick.

Monks said earlier this year that Maine, and the Waterville area in particular, is in desperate need of quality affordable housing, and North River is working to help provide safe, quality housing.

North River also owns the Fort Andross Mill in Brunswick and other mills in Portland, Boston and New York.


Garvan Donegan, director of planning, innovation and economic development for the Central Maine Growth Council, is working with North River to redevelop the former Lockwood mills.

The Central Maine Growth Council in 2019 awarded North River the Developer of the Year Award.

Redeveloping the Waterville buildings is planned as a separate $11.2 million downtown revitalization project progresses. The work includes changing Main and Front streets from one-way to two-way traffic, improving sidewalks and intersections for safer pedestrian space and landscaping.

The two-way traffic pattern is expected to begin in October or November, officials said.

In addition, the $18 million Paul J. Schupf Art Center is under construction in downtown Waterville, and will join other Colby College developments, including the $6.5 million Greene Block + Studios, the $25.5 million Bill & Joan Alfond Main Street Commons, the $5 million redevelopment of 173 Main St. and the $26 million Lockwood Hotel.

The hotel was built at the site of the former Crescent Hotel, previously the site of the Lockwood House, which opened in 1880 and whose patrons were overnight passengers of the narrow gauge railway.

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