BANGOR, Maine — It’s still a good two to three years away, but the owners of the popular Verve burrito and coffee shop in Orono eventually will be bringing that unique flavor of West Coast roadside burrito shops to Bangor.
The Bangor City Council voted 9-0 Monday night to approve a development agreement between the city and the young husband-wife team of Abe and Heather Furth for them to buy and redevelop unoccupied and underutilized buildings on Main Street and turn them into apartment space.
“We did this with the building Verve is in now [in Orono],” said Heather Furth. “It was built in 1848 and [we] completely rehabbed it, making a residential space up top, and then opened the restaurant down below.”
The shorter-term part of the Furths’ plan involves redeveloping and renovating the properties at 89 and 91 Main St. — located across from the Maine Discovery Museum — and eventually turning them from one storage building and one building with three rental units into two buildings with three apartments each.
The 5,000-square-foot property (both buildings) has been listed for $299,500, but the purchase price was not disclosed Monday night. One of the buildings already has an elevator in place.
“Above 89 Main, there are four floors of unfinished space. It doesn’t have any heat, electricity or plumbing up there, so we’re completely rehabbing the entire building,” said Abe Furth. “We’re looking at this as a two-phase project.”
The Furths are hoping to be able to open another Verve by 2013 or 2014.
“We don’t want to put an exact timetable on eventually opening up a restaurant, but it will follow after the residential properties are renovated,” said Abe Furth.
The Furths, who met as undergrads at the University of Maine, opened the popular Woodman’s bar and grill in Orono six years ago. Verve was opened in 2009.
“Getting into Bangor has been something I’ve hoped to do since we started business in Orono,” said Abe Furth, who graduated from Cony High School in Augusta. “It’s a great place to expand and it’s close enough where we can maintain a presence in both areas.”
“We saw opportunity in Orono after getting to know the market and we see the same thing here,” said Heather Furth, a Bangor native. “It’s definitely easier to start a business after you’ve done it before and gotten to know the system.”