The owner of the former Griffin Club property in South Portland’s Knightville neighborhood has decided against redeveloping the lot for condominiums.

Ginger Cote, who bought the property at 60 Ocean St. in June 2017 for $600,000, 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, with prices ranging from $525,000 to $875,000.

The project, estimated to cost $2.4 million, according to a November 2017 application submitted to the city, was approved by the Planning Board in April.

Ginger Cote stands inside the former Griffin Club in South Portland before it was razed.

But last week, Cote said she plans to submit revisions to the board for review at a meeting Sept. 12, and condos will not be part of the project. She declined to discuss details before she files paperwork with the Planning Department.

An Aroostook County native, Cote has lived in South Portland for 15 years. She is a professional musician who has toured for 40 years with artists including Bonnie Raitt, Cidny Bullens and Emmylou Harris, and says there is a need for a music scene in the city and additional support for the arts.

Cote demolished the 5,800-square-foot, circa-1900 Griffin Club building in April, with plans to rebuild on the same footprint. Construction was previously expected to begin in mid-May after the building was razed.

But the lot has remained vacant.

In a recent public meeting about redevelopment in Knightville, Planning Director Tex Haeuser was asked when construction of the project would begin and whether changes were expected.

Haeuser said that if there are changes proposed, the project would come back to the Planning Board.

Under Cote’s existing proposal, the tavern would have a lounge area and 47 seats, and be open for lunch and dinner until midnight.

Eric Flynn, Cote’s business manager and real estate broker, said he planned to meet with Cote last week. He said he is aware the project is changing, but could not provide any details.

Cote said previously that she will install in the new space a plaque dedicated to Griffin Club founder Eddie Griffin as a tribute and acknowledgment of the building’s history as a boxing club and Irish pub, which in its heyday attracted national sports celebrities along with a local clientele.

Juliette Laaka can be contacted at 781-3661, ext. 106, or at:

[email protected]

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