With more than a million new square feet of industrial and commercial space in development in Auburn, the city’s mayor Jason Levesque said on Tuesday he was looking to add 2,000 homes at market price during over the next five to seven years.
During his biennial State of the City address, Levesque said Auburn already sees a development that includes a new Target store and Chipotle restaurant on Center Street, the Holy Donut store on Minot Avenue, the expansion and hiring at other companies, and record growth in housing construction and rehabilitation.
“You can’t miss the transformation when driving around town these days,” he said.
In addition, the city has completed a new anniversary park in the center of the village of New Auburn, the waterfront area between Mill and Broad streets.
“Although we have accomplished so much, there is still a lot to do,” he continued. “We still have problems within our city; from generational poverty, to food insecurity, to the lack of affordable and equitable housing, to an above-average property tax rate.
File photo / Tim Greenway
Jason Levesque, mayor of Auburn, hopes the city can expand its housing stock to 2,000 homes over the next five to seven years.
The most effective solution to the problems, he said, is to promote growth and allow more investment, especially in terms of building and selling more homes at market prices.
“And when I say more, I mean around 2,000 more households, over the next five to seven years,” he said.
Auburn’s population is around 24,000, spread over nearly 70 square miles – larger than the combined land area of Portland, South Portland, Westbrook and Cape Elizabeth, he noted.
About half of the city’s land is underdeveloped or underdeveloped.
“We have the space, the perfect location within the state and the infrastructure to comfortably manage 2,000 new homes at market rates,” he continued.
The city also has the infrastructure and public security personnel to handle an influx of residents, he said.
The new homes, he said, would have several advantages:
• Taxes would decrease by about 20%.
• New industries and businesses would settle in Auburn, further improving the quality of life and reducing reliance on residential property taxes.
• Existing businesses would have more employees and customers.
He continued, “My promise to anyone looking to invest in Auburn: come here with an open mind. Know that you will find willing and welcoming partners in town hall.
The boom in development and the desire to attract more businesses and residents to Auburn are the engines of a reinvigorated economic development, which included the restructuring of the city’s economic development department last fall.
The new structure is intended to help streamline development projects.