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  • Laurie Schreiber

The Uptown, Szanton’s 60-unit apartment project, set to open in Bath


COURTESY / ARCHETYPE ARCHITECTS


The Uptown offers new residential units for people 55 years and older.



Originally published at MaineBiz May 7, 2024, by Laurie Schreiber.


Nearly two years after breaking ground for the project, the Szanton Co. of Portland is preparing to open a $12 million housing development in Bath called the Uptown.


The Uptown is indeed a bit north of downtown, at 26 Summer St. The project a little bit of everything: new construction, adaptive reuse, rehab of existing housing, historic preservation and commercial space.


“It’s been a challenging project, juggling different aspects and timelines while switching between a historic mindset and modern building practices,” said Amy Cullen, Szanton’s vice president and project manager. 


Szanton redeveloped the Moses and Columbia Block buildings, both designed by famed Maine architect John Calvin Stevens and constructed in 1893. The buildings have served variously as retail space, a theater and a YMCA. In 1984, the Y moved and apartments were added to the Moses building. 


Szanton acquired the buildings from Bath Housing Development Corp. in 2022, along with an adjoining vacant lot. Bath Housing is partnering on the project.


The project included the rehabilitation of the two historic properties, which had existing residential and commercial space, and the addition of loft-style apartments and communal space. The majority of apartments were constructed on the vacant lot. Resident access between the historic buildings and the new wing is provided by a glass-and-steel enclosed walkway.


Altogether, the project comprises 60 rental units — 50 are newly built and 10 are modernized existing units. Eighteen will be rented at market rate and 42 are for low-income tenants. Rents range from $794 to $1,495, depending on income.


All of the apartments are reserved for tenants aged 55 or older. 


“From the beginning, we sought a partner to facilitate the preservation of the character of downtown Bath, encourage economic stimulus in the walkable central core and maintain rental housing at modest prices for those who live and work in Bath,” said Debora Keller, Bath Housing’s executive director. “The Szanton Co. was the right partner for this ambitious project.” 


The buildings have an activity room in a former gym, a communal roof deck overlooking the river and park, community rooms and on-site laundry.


“There is a housing crisis in the state and Bath is no exception,” said Mary Ellen Bell, chair of the Bath City Council. “The Uptown project builds density in the downtown, recreates underutilized space and provides attainable housing for some of our older residents, all the while honoring goals set out in our newly completed comprehensive plan.”


The Uptown name is a nod to the movie theater of the same name that occupied the center of the site from 1938 to 1962. The theater was torn down in 1961 to make way for a YMCA pool, which stood until 2012. 


The Uptown was designed by Archetype Architects of Portland and built by Hebert Construction of Lewiston and Portland. Financing was provided by MaineHousing, Evernorth, TD Bank, Coastal Enterprises Inc. and the city of Bath.


The grand opening for the Uptown is scheduled for Wednesday, May, 8 from 2-4 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

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