AUGUSTA — By the end of the first week in February, work is expected to be complete at Senior Living at the Marketplace, adding 42 apartment units to the capital city’s rental housing inventory.

While demand statewide for affordable units remains high, projects like these coming online are broadening options for people looking for a place to live.

“We typically say we are between 20,000 and 25,000 units statewide short of affordable housing that would cover demand,” said Scott Thistle, communications director for MaineHousing. “Whenever there is a development like this one, it helps fill that gap.”

For developer Tim Gooch, the project has been a journey of more than four years. While he secured Planning Board approval to start his project targeted at people 55 or older at 75 Civic Center Drive in 2019, construction only started when crews broke ground in November 2021.

In the months leading up to the start of work, Gooch said, estimating costs was difficult because the price of  materials was spiking due to the lingering impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the supply chain.

But now that the $10 million project is wrapping up, Gooch said he i’s pleased with the results.


The three-story building has 38 one-bedroom and four two-bedroom apartments, with common area space, including laundry facilities, set aside on each floor, and a patio area behind the building.

A handicapped-accessible bathroom sink is seen Wednesday at the Senior Living at the Marketplace building in Augusta. Construction of the 42-unit affordable housing development targeted at those 55 or older is expected to wrap up in February. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Several units are adaptable for wheelchair access, with lowered shelves and sinks set at the appropriate height and removable cabinets below to allow a wheelchair chair underneath them.

The building is to be heated and cooled using heat pump technology that will circulate air throughout the building and it offers internet connectivity that will allow residents to take advantage of telehealth and other services.

The project was funded using low-income housing tax credits, and 23 of the units are being offered at reduced rents — 50% of the area median income — and 15 are being offered at 60% of the average median income.

“People don’t realize that older people are starting to be back in the workforce,” Gooch said, “so people can live here and still make $8,000, $10,000, $12,000 a year.”

Thistle said older people are often an important part of the workforce that goes underrepresented.


“Oftentimes, affordable senior housing is really workforce housing,” he said. “Whether they are part-time or full-time workers, they are filling important niches in the workforce.”

Gooch said he likes that the complex is close to the the Marketplace at Augusta shopping center, Interstate 95 and the University of Maine at Augusta, which is home to the Augusta Senior College.

Because the 40-acre parcel on which the apartment building sits is hilly, the 12,713-square-foot building is on the flattest portion, next to Civic Center Drive, leaving a large portion undeveloped. Gooch said he is considering installing a solar farm on some of the property.

Thistle said four affordable housing projects are now in the pipeline in Augusta. Regardless of where they are in the state, however, they tend to be leased while the project is still under construction.

“As an observer of this across the state,” Thistle said., “Augusta is very active in trying to create more and develop as much as possible.”

Other projects under development to provide some affordable housing units include the Lockwood Mill project in Waterville, which is receiving funds from Kennebec County’s American Rescue Plan allotment of $23.7 million to develop a mix of market-rate and affordable apartments.

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