“We are planning on opening the end of this summer,” said an employee of LB Kitchen, 249 Congress Street, this afternoon. She was referring to the expansion plans of LB Kitchen owner, Lee Farrington, who recently purchased three buildings from Alice Dunn, owner of Portland Architectural Salvage on Preble Street.
The current plan calls for the kitchen of LB Kitchen to relocate to the former site of ENVY, a former beauty salon at the corner of Congress and Smith Streets. The building next to it is expected to be converted to the sit down dining area. Carol Morrisette, of ADS Architects, and former member of the city’s planning board told Mhn.com last September: “We can work miracles,” Morrisette also said that so much depends on how much money Farrington wants to invest to upgrade the building for her purposes; the interior of which is known to be in run down condition because of lack of maintenance under the ownership of Dunn. It was the storefront for Jen Burrall Designs Jewelry who relocated last year.
This transaction is not the first one between Farrington and Dunn. Back in 2008 Farrington purchased the building in which LB Kitchen is located. Following the purchase, Farrington learned that the sale did not include water rights. Previously a beauty salon had occupied the space and was responsible for its own water supply and costs.
That shocking discovery forced Farrington to repeatedly delay the opening of her new restaurant FIGA. Rather, she was forced to borrow money from a family member to finance the installation of a new water line into FIGA. She called it the “Big Dig” and even had T-shirts made up to commemorate the installaltion of the pipe line installation date. This blogger was fortunate enough to get one.
Eventually, however,, FIGA shut down and the building was empty for years. Prospective business owners tried to rent this space from Farrington, but no one succeeded in meeting her rental terms. Until LB Kitchen came along.
Next door at Kurier, owner Jasmine Clayton, is in the midst of an expansion to the storefront formerly occupied by KnitWit, a yarn shop. Clayton, a former student at Maine College of Art, (MECA), told this blogger recently that she intends to sell her handcrafted leather products, clogs and other products such as home goods in that space. The re-opening is anticipated to take place on Saturday, March 12.. Her current space will be used for the production of her popular handbags and clogs. Clayton began making clogs three years ago and they have become a major part of her product line – requiring more space to produce them. And that’s what she is about these days.
Who is next for expansion on the block? It seems to be the trend on Munjoy Hill.
Please visit post herein dated September 24, 2021 for background information on the Dunn/Farrington matter and when the buildings were placed under contract by them.