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- The Forecaster
SOUTH PORTLAND — The revised plan for Big Babe’s Tavern will come before the Planning Board on Sept. 26.
Ginger Cote, who owns the former Griffin Club property in Knightville, has decided to redevelop the lot with a tavern and small inn instead of condominiums.
Two entrances will be located on C Street. One will be for the tavern and the other will provide access to the lodging space. Relocating the tavern entrance to C Street from Ocean Avenue will use available space more efficiently, said Steve Puleo, the city’s community planner.
Due to the revisions being proposed, the plan is required to come before the board for approval. The meeting and public hearing are slated for 7 p.m. Wednesday in council chambers.
Cote bought the property at 60 Ocean St. in June 2017 for $600,000 and presented plans in January for a four-story building with a music venue and restaurant called Big Babe’s Tavern on the first floor and five residential condos above. The condos were priced from $525,000-$875,000.
Those plans have now been replaced by a proposal for a two-story building with five rooms to be operated as an inn, located above a restaurant that will also showcase live music, according to documents submitted to the Planning Department Aug. 22.
The revised project will be built on the same footprint as the original proposal.
Cote said last month she is excited about the new project and believes the inn will be a better fit for the neighborhood. She said she hopes to offer rental kayaks and bicycles for her guests and attract more visitors and foot traffic to Knightville.
“It’s better than ridiculous, expensive condos,” she said in August. “There are enough of those already.”
Under Cote’s new proposal, the 47-seat tavern would have a separate lounge, serve lunch and dinner, and be open until midnight. In keeping with the original proposal, Cote will reside in the building.
Parking requirements for the project dictate a total of 15 spaces to accommodate the businesses. Eight parking spaces will be available on site, with three spaces available along C Street and four off-site spaces, according to the plans.
An Aroostook County native, Cote has lived in South Portland for 15 years. As a professional musician who has toured for decades with artists such Bonnie Raitt and Emmylou Harris, Cote has said there is a need for a music scene in the city and additional support for the arts.
The 5,800-square-foot, circa-1900 building that housed the Griffin Club was razed in April, with construction then expected to begin the next month.
Cote previously said she will hang a plaque in the new tavern as a tribute to Griffin Club founder Eddie Griffin and an acknowledgment of the building’s history as a boxing club and Irish pub. In its heyday, the club attracted national sports celebrities and always entertained a loyal local clientele.