New music venue planned for Main Street in Old Town

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The Old Town City Council last week agreed to sell a commercial property that was seized for back taxes in April to music promoter Alex Gray, who intends to use it as a venue for live music. The Old Town City Council voted in April to take the property at 283 Main Street after its former owner,…The Old Town City Council last week agreed to sell a commercial property that was seized for back taxes in April to music promoter Alex Gray, who intends to use it as a venue for live music.
The Old Town City Council voted in April to take the property at 283 Main Street after its former owner, Ten Cent Properties LLC, didn’t pay taxes for three years. The building had most recently housed Kingman’s and previously The Dime. The building, which was in a state of neglect, was the first commercial property seized by the city since 1999.
In short order it was decided that the city would sell the property. Rather than going the usual route of just awarding it to the high bidder, however, it was decided that the planned usage would also be considered, in hopes of getting the best use for the future of the downtown. Four people looked at the property, and two bid on it – Jim Dubay, who has renovated several downtown buildings in recent years, and concert promoter Alex Gray. Dubay’s bid was $26,5000; Gray’s was $25,000.
Councilors met with each man in executive session last week, and when they came out from behind closed doors it was announced that Gray’s plan had been accepted. According to documents from Gray, he intends to redevelop 283 Main Street as a small capacity, live music venue and nightclub, which would host 50 live performances annually. 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 April as Aura.
Gray said the redevelopment of 283 Main Street would cost $500,000. Historical elements would be incorporated into the design while adding modern functionality in the bar/service area; there also will be seasonal rooftop seating.
Gray said the intent is to begin renovations as soon as possible, with the removal of the existing roof being the likely first step. No date was estimated for when the venue would open.
Gray added that he anticipated the new venue would employ about 20 people, with at least a quarter of them being residents of Old Town. Several of those positions would be full time with benefits, he said.
Gray also said that there may be a desire to acquire and develop additional buildings on that same block, although he did not say which ones he was interested in. The Ross building next door has been on and off the market a few times.
Dubay’s plan would have called for him to move the On the Wagon sports bar on Water Street to 283 Main Street, with a new tenant to move into the Water Street property.