February 18, 2017

Have you been to Kittery lately?

I mean the REAL Kittery, not the outlet malls. This is the downtown section that is just over the Memorial Bridge from Portsmouth toward the Shipyard and runs primarily between Route 1 on Government and Walker Streets. This… this is the heart of Kittery called “Kittery Foreside”. And within Kittery Foreside sits a gem called “Wallingford Square”.

Wallingford Square is technically one block that connects Government Street and Walker Street and ends at the Shipyard entrance. On this one little block sits the restored 7 Wallingford Square.

Since this is the largest building in the Kittery Foreside, 7 Wallingford Square was significant to all local businesses (mine included) when it renovated. I wanted to highlight the owners and the building by sharing a brief interview with Michael Landgarten who is one of three investors in the property and owner of Lil’s Cafe & Bob’s Clam Hut.

 

Q & A with

Michael Landgarten

 

Question: When did you purchase/ renovate / start renting space in the building?

Answer: 2013 – seems like 10 years ago now!

Question: Why did you make the decision to invest in Kittery Foreside?

Answer: I had started the Block Party with Janice Grady. At the end of the second one Gavin Barbour – Foreside resident and co-planner told me the building was for sale. I had committed not to do more developing after Robert’s but this one felt too exciting to resist. I love the Black Birch and felt like with the right types of businesses and uses this building could provide the tipping point for the neighborhood becoming a daytime destination. Luckily, Jackie and Tim liked the idea and were fast to jump on board to support.

Question: Is the vision that you had for the building as expected or did it change during the process of renovating/ renting the spaces?

Answer: It came out precisely as I had hoped. The tenants we got are ideal. I feel very lucky they showed up and I give the Black Birch a lot of credit for these creative types being interested in this neighborhood.

Question: Can you tell me a bit about your tenants?

Answer: We are completely rented. Last piece of the puzzle was Thinkyard the co-office space that now inhabits the beautiful old Masonic Temple. There are 9 offices with open ceilings and lots of light up there.

Question: What is something of particular interest that you want people to know?

Answer: There’s a wonderful 2-bedroom apartment on the third floor with beautiful views and light that is spacious and inviting.

The building is home to some of the best stores and restaurants in the area as well as great office space for many entrepreneurs. I encourage you to enjoy a cruller (or any baked good for that matter) at Lil’s Café, a delicious smoothie (yes, in the old bank drive-thru) at the Maine Squeeze, buy organic meat & locally sourced produce at Meat, shop at Folk boutique and lastly, enjoy delicious noodles & more at Anju and artisanal and delicious cocktails at the Wallingford Dram.

After a visit to 7 Wallingford Square, stop by and say “hi” to me just up the street at 9 Walker Street!

Enjoy!