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December 10, 2018

Biddeford mill developers pay penalty, again, for missing deadline

Developers planning to convert downtown Biddeford's former Lincoln Mill into apartments will have to pay a $10,000 penalty after failing a second time to obtain building permits for the $40 million project.

Tim Harrington of LHL Holdings LLC and Eric Chinburg of Chinburg Properties had until Nov. 30 to secure permits, after missing an Aug. 29 deadline and being forced to pay $5,000, the Biddeford-Saco-OOB Courier reported last week.

The developers now must get the approvals by Feb. 28, 2019, or face a $15,000 penalty under terms of a joint development agreement with the city.

Biddeford inked the agreement with LHL Holdings last year.

The city then modified the deal in March, after Harrington and Chinburg said development had been delayed because of complicated financing and questions of whether the project would qualify for historic-property tax credits.

LHL purchased the mill in 2015 for $2.5 million and originally proposed converting it into a boutique hotel and 96 apartments. In 2016, LHL tabled plans for the hotel and instead upped the number of proposed apartments to 181.

The development is also slated to include a restaurant and a 10,000-square-foot fitness facility. According to the last estimate from Harrington and Chinburg, construction was to be complete by July 2020.

City Manager James Bennett told the Courier that he was not surprised by the missed deadline and remained confident the project would move forward.

"A project of that size will have a substantial amount of work done by architects and/or engineers in order to submit the necessary documents for the building permit," he wrote in a Dec. 3 email.

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