This week the Buzz is investing, looking for leaders and changing things up.

First up: Kevin Fletcher, past president of the Maine Commercial Association of Realtors, has bought a 48-unit complex on Marston Street in Lewiston with big plans ahead.

The complex, built in 1986, has a mix of six one-bedroom units and 42 two-bedroom units, all of it fully rented at market rate.

Fletcher’s Marston Investment Group LLC paid $3.1 million for the property and plans more than $300,000 in improvements that include new windows and exterior doors, a landscaping overhaul and new gazebo.

MIG is a subsidiary of Dirigo Housing Investments LLC, which Fletcher said he created to focus on affordable, market-rate housing in Maine. Dirigo first purchased two mobile home communities, in Windsor and Winthrop, in 2019.

“We have turned both properties around with improvements in each exceeding $50,000 annually since purchase,” he said. “Marston Street fits into the model as a ‘value add’ market rate housing project that can be improved and held to provide good, quality housing options to our tenants.”

The plan is to hold onto the investment long-term and keep looking for other opportunities around Maine, he said.

LOOKING FOR YOUR FINEST

The Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Uplift LA have renamed Uplift’s signature annual event from the 40 Under 40 to the Finest Under 40.

There are still 10 recognition categories, including Building LA and Creative Geniuses. The 2021 nomination period runs through Aug. 6.

The process leads up to an awards ceremony at the Franco Center on Nov. 5 with one award winner in each category, along with a networking social and after-party.

Uplift LA Chair Matthew Shaw said he’s looking forward to the fifth annual event being reenergized and “highlighting the LA Metro region by sharing and (recognizing) the accomplishments of its finest young and rising professionals.”

“This is such a key element to attract and retain younger professionals looking to grow into their careers here in the LA Region,” said Chamber President Shanna Cox. “What we recognized is that sustaining this program is both important and hard to do when 40 new rising professionals become ineligible each year. We are so excited for the program change, which the name reflects. Awarding 10 rising professionals each year in the 10 key areas feels like a great, sustainable approach for Uplift LA and our region.”

CLOSING IN LEWISTON

The Pit Bar & Grill at 838 Lisbon St. in Lewiston will be closing its doors to the full-time restaurant and bar to concentrate on its event, mobile and catering business after not finding enough workers. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

The Pit Bar & Grill announced to customers last week that it will host one last karaoke bash Thursday night before closing its full-time restaurant doors.

In late 2016, the eatery, then The BBQ Pit, moved into the former Margarita’s Restaurant at 838 Lisbon St. after first starting life as the longtime local roadside Alabama BBQ mobile cooker.

Owner Mike Berube said Wednesday that The Pit will continue to offer a full-service menu for holiday, special occasion, company party and private meeting bookings at the facility. He also plans special events at The Pit with food and beverage.

“Our catering and mobile business is so busy and with the difficulty in hiring cooks and people not wanting to work, we cannot get enough help to do both businesses well,” he said. “The actual COVID pandemic did not force us to close. We did well during the pandemic with takeout orders and our local people have been extremely loyal and supportive. It’s the after-effect of COVID and not being able to hire enough help to take care of the business we are generating.”

Quick hits about business comings, goings and happenings. Have a Buzzable tip? Contact staff writer Kathryn Skelton at 689-2844 or [email protected]


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