Developers want to create four luxury loft condominiums in a downtown Portland building that was the home of Margaritas Mexican restaurant until the business closed last month.

Jack Soley, a Portland Planning Board member, and his nephew Daniel Soley have submitted a subdivision application to the city to convert the second floor of the Brown Street building into two condominiums and the third and fourth floors into two more. Margarita’s had occupied the first and second floors, while the upper floors have been vacant since the 1930s. The Soleys plan to keep the first floor as restaurant space, which is for lease or sale.

Jack Soley said they’ve already had interest in the first floor from more than 30 business owners, but they are waiting for the right fit. Considering that people will be living upstairs, he said, that’s probably going to be “more casual fine dining than a bar situation.”

The developers plan to build out the kitchens and bathrooms but leave the rest of the condominiums open for the buyer to customize.

The units on the third and fourth floors would be 2,400 square feet each.

Soley said he’s excited to turn the long-underutilized space into much-needed housing units in the city’s downtown.

He said he hopes to have them ready by next summer. He wouldn’t say how much they might cost. Margaritas, a chain with 25 locations in New England and Pennsylvania, including one on St. John Street in Portland, closed its Brown Street restaurant in August after 18 years.

The company said no other locations were affected by the closure and that it plans to expand in southern Maine. Margaritas owned the building and said last month it planned to sell it to a developer. The terms of the sale were not known.


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