BREWER, Maine — Contracts to transfer ownership of the Muddy Rudder restaurant to a Bangor developer have been sent to the respective attorneys, and the closing is tentatively set for mid-February, key people involved in the sale said Friday.
“There [are] still a few details to work out,” said Larry Springer of Bangor, who said he is in the process of purchasing the riverfront restaurant. “I’m keeping it just the way it is, with all the employees and everything.”
Springer’s liquor license application, which he will need to serve alcohol at the restaurant, is on the Feb. 8 City Council agenda.
The restaurant was never officially listed for sale, John Vogell, senior commercial broker for Dawson Commercial Brokers, said Friday.
“It wasn’t listed at all,” he said.
Vogell said once he heard the restaurant’s owner was thinking of selling, he brokered one deal that fell through and then connected the owner with Springer.
“I knew he had a dream to own a higher-end place,” Vogell said of Springer.
The purchase deal is “pretty much all put together. It should happen fairly soon now,” he said, adding that nothing will be final until the contract ink is dry.
Terms of the sale were not disclosed.
Springer, who was on a backhoe cleaning up snow from one of his various businesses Friday morning, said eventually his plan is to change the name to the Starboard Side.
Springer owns the old Pepsi plant on Wilson Street and in the last two years has refurbished the building, which now houses five businesses.
Lumber Liquidators opened in October 2009; the W.I.N. Training Center, an indoor pitching, hitting and fielding facility, opened in December 2009; and Fruit Bouquets, which makes edible fruit arrangements, a courier service and Revision Heat opened in the building during 2010.
“He’s done a great job with the Pepsi building,” said Tanya Pereira, Brewer’s deputy economic development director, on Friday. “He’s a quality developer.”
The Bangor native said properties he currently owns include the Bank of America building in Orono, Broadway Storage, a 10-story building and a 600-car parking garage in Portland, and the old 50,000-square-foot Dennis Paper building on Thatcher Street in Bangor.
The 230-seat waterfront restaurant he hopes to buy is located just off the Joshua Chamberlain Bridge in Brewer and opened as the Muddy Rudder in July 2002 at the site of the former Harborside restaurant.
Attempts to reach Peter Anastos, who owns the Muddy Rudder in Yarmouth, the Muddy Rudder Cafe in Freeport and the Brewer locale, were unsuccessful. An employee said he is out of town, and a message left at the corporate office was not returned Friday evening.
Springer said he also is looking into establishing a Portside bar and lounge on the Bangor side of the river to complement the Brewer restaurant. He said ensuring that the Brewer restaurant’s employees — from management to the dishwasher — experience a seamless transition is very important to him.
If the deal goes through as planned, “everything is going to be just the same, and we’re going to try and keep everybody,” Springer said.