Renovations on music promoter Alex Gray’s new music venue in downtown Old Town will begin soon, with plans now calling for a restaurant on the property as well.

Gray bought the property at 283 Main Street that had housed Kingman’s, and previously the Dime, in August 2017 from the city, which had taken it a few months previously for unpaid taxes. The building, which was in a state of neglect, was the first commercial property seized by the city since 1999. Gray later bought the building next door at 277 Main Street as well.

Documents from Gray last year stated he intended to redevelop 283 Main Street as a small capacity, live music venue and nightclub. Gray currently promotes Waterfront Concerts in Bangor, as well as shows at the Maine Street Pier; his company also was a leading partner in the redevelopment of the old Asylum nightclub in Portland, which reopened in last year as Aura.

There had been hopes that the two buildings could be combined into one venue, but differences in their elevation and other structural issues made that an expensive proposition. Initial development for now will take place at 283 Main Street, according to Jeff Wheelden, chief financial officer for Waterfront Concerts, who spoke with the Times this week about the current status of the project.

Wheelden said that some parts of the project remain fluid, 283 Main Street now will house a restaurant downstairs, with live performances and dancing upstairs, and a possible rooftop deck for dining. The music portion of the venue will seat about 200.

“It’s still a work in progress, but we’re thinking primarily acoustic bands, although that could change,” said Wheelden. “We’ll see what the interest is, and decide the number of shows down the road. It could be national and local acts both, probably no more than a couple shows a week.”


The restaurant piece of the puzzle is still being worked on, but Wheelden said it will not be just typical pub fare.

“Our chef (for Waterfront Concerts) specializes in offering some flair, some interesting presentations. It will be a combination of that and pub foods with a twist,” said Wheelden.

It had been hoped that 283 Main Street would be reopened in August, but Wheelden said it now will most likely be later. Renovations in earnes should be starting next month, he said.

“We have the building gutted, but it needs a lot of work,” he said. “Plus we’re getting a bit later start than we had hoped. I am going to guess it will be very late in the summer or early in the fall when we open. But when it’s done we think it’s going to be a nice attraction to the downtown.”

The use for 277 Main Street is still being developed, Wheelden said. He anticipated that plans for that property will be drafted within 90 days.

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