SOUTH PORTLAND — The owner of Big Babe’s Tavern, which was scheduled to open in June, this week said the Knightville project was delayed in part by the 35-day government shutdown last December and January.

Big Babe’s Tavern owner Ginger Cote in front of her building on Aug. 7. The business at Ocean and C streets in South Portland’s Knightville neighborhood is now expected to open at the end of October. Contributed

It is now expected to open at the end of October.

“We applied for a small business loan from the federal government, and those loans go hand-in-hand with the bank,” Ginger Cote said. “You can’t get one without the other, especially a loan of that size. So when the president shut it down, it put a halt on everything.”

Cote is redeveloping the former Griffin Club property at 62 Ocean St. as a tavern and small inn.

Construction of the $2.2 million project began last November. At the time, Cote expressed optimism about opening by June.

But the government shutdown and unpredictable weather pushed the project off track.

“In Maine, there is limited time with construction to build a foundation,” Caitlin Houser, general manager of the business, said. “It’s been a long, meticulous process, but everything is falling into place. It takes a lot of time with something like this because you have to start from scratch.”

Cote and Houser said there were also other obstacles they had to overcome, although they wouldn’t provide details.

Cote bought the property in June 2017 for $600,000 and originally presented plans for a four-story building with a music venue and restaurant on the first floor, and five residential condos above priced from $525,000-$875,000.

Cote later decided a two-story building with a five-room inn above the tavern would be a better fit for the neighborhood. Plans were approved by the city Planning Board last September.

Cote said the 64-seat tavern will have a separate lounge, serve lunch and dinner, and be open until midnight, with live music from 8:30-11:30 p.m. In keeping with the original proposal, Cote will reside in the building.

Cote, who grew up in Aroostook County, has lived in South Portland for almost 16 years. She is a professional musician who has toured for decades with artists such as Bonnie Raitt and Emmylou Harris, and has said there is a need for a music scene in the city and more support for the arts.

“We’re really lacking something like this here in South Portland, so when I heard (the Griffin Club) was for sale, I just love this area and thought it was the perfect spot,” Cote said. “I remember what it was like to get my first chance at performing, and it made a world of difference. I want to do that for inspiring artists of all ages.”

Cote and Houser said their ultimate goal is to make Big Babe’s an affordable experience, so anyone can come in and have a good time without having to empty their wallets.

“Ginger wanted to provide a place where, no matter where you’re standing in life, you can come in, have a drink, get fed and not go broke,” Houser said. “To partake in it. To not feel excluded, but included.”