2013-06-07 / Front Page

Renovations at 84 Main St. near end

Former Pythian building to house businesses and residential units
By Alex Acquisto
Staff Writer


Ed Beckett, owner of the newly named and remodeled Residences at 84 Main Street, stands on the balcony of one of the housing units that overlooks Main Street in Kennebunk. Beckett bought the Knights of Pythian building two years ago and began remodeling last May. The finished project will consist of three business spaces on the first floor and seven housing units on the second, third, and fourth floors, including a penthouse. The residences will be completed by mid July. (Alex Acquisto photo) Ed Beckett, owner of the newly named and remodeled Residences at 84 Main Street, stands on the balcony of one of the housing units that overlooks Main Street in Kennebunk. Beckett bought the Knights of Pythian building two years ago and began remodeling last May. The finished project will consist of three business spaces on the first floor and seven housing units on the second, third, and fourth floors, including a penthouse. The residences will be completed by mid July. (Alex Acquisto photo) KENNEBUNK — Ed Beckett Jr. relocated his barbershop business from Dock Square to the bottom floor of the antiquated Pythian building two years ago when his father, Ed Beckett Sr., decided to purchase the building with the intention of remodeling it.

Soon after the purchase an organization called The Hive — designed as space for artists and musicians to mingle — moved into the other space on the first floor.


Bare countertops in the fourth-floor penthouse of the old Knights of Pythian building are the final areas under construction. The building will be completed by mid July. Renamed The Residences at 84 Main Street, building owner Ed Beckett began remodeling in May 2012. Seven housing units were installed in addition to the business spaces on the first floor. (Alex Acquisto photo) Bare countertops in the fourth-floor penthouse of the old Knights of Pythian building are the final areas under construction. The building will be completed by mid July. Renamed The Residences at 84 Main Street, building owner Ed Beckett began remodeling in May 2012. Seven housing units were installed in addition to the business spaces on the first floor. (Alex Acquisto photo) Beckett, owner of two design and build firms in Boston — The Richmond Group and TRG Builders — decided in May of last year to fully remodel the late 19th century building. Those renovations are nearing completion.

The revamped building, renamed the Residences at 84 Main Street, now consists of three spaces for businesses on the bottom floor, two of which are occupied by the Main Street Barbershop and The Hive, and seven bedroom units, the biggest of which is a 3,270-square-foot penthouse on the fourth floor. The penthouse offers a wraparound porch that overlooks three sides of the building, including Main Street.

The price of the housing units, including the penthouse, range from $950,000 to $240,000. The six smaller units have a square footage between 835 and 1,395–generous footage for the price if one asks Better Homes and Garden’s Real Estate Agent John Everest, the sole agent for the build- ing.

“This is one of the last pieces of the puzzle which will complete the downtown revitalization effort,” Everest said. “It has been very visible and very important to not only the downtown committee and the town selectmen, but to the residents of Kennebunk.”

The total cost to remodel was about $2 million. Beckett gutted the building: his team installed new wiring, plumbing, a structural skeleton, removed the asbestos siding and installed two stairwells and an elevator. He also lowered the building eight feet and added 10 feet onto the front as a means to shape up the appearance in every way possible.

Beckett also chose to use only local contractors so that the economy could benefit as much as possible; the local businesses ranged from drywallers to plumbers, to electricians to local lumberyards.

“It’s rare that a building owner is so involved in the design, the way Ed is,” Everest said of Beckett.

Beckett is not only involved with the physical reconstruction of the building, he avidly supports art education.

Beckett met Laura Savard, The Hives’ founder, as she was trying to lift her idea off the ground two years ago. They began a partnership almost immediately.

“I know it’s difficult to maintain a location like The Hive on just donations from dedicated patrons,” said Beckett. “I told her I’d be willing to take over ownership and make her creative director,” Beckett said.

He let The Hive use the space rent-free at first, so as to alleviate the pressure on Savard and her team.

Beckett is partial to the advocacy of art education because of his sister, Ruth, who was an art teacher at Lincoln Middle School in Portland up until a few years ago. Ruth died unexpectedly of a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 39.

“I thought it would be good to dedicate the live art studio to her,” Beckett said.

A sign dedicated to Ruth will hang on the wall of The Hive.

The Hive is set to open June 14 for an artist talk, and a grand opening is scheduled for the 15th. Alcohol and food will be served at the renewed space to accompany gallery openings, literature gatherings, movie screenings and band performances.

Everest has begun what he calls “previews” for interested buyers and for those who are simply curious.

The apartments are not yet ready to be sold; however, Everest wants to satiate what he refers to as the “buzz around town from residents wanting to know more about ‘what businesses will be located here,’ ‘when will this property be available,’ and ‘what does it look like inside?’”

All of the housing units will be ready for purchase by the middle of July. In the meantime, Everest is organizing an open house the third week of June for brokers from Portland to Portsmouth.

“In July, once we get the units finished, we will have open houses every weekend. I want to encourage people’s curiosity. The community has noticed that this building has been under construction. We want them to come by and take a look for themselves,” Everest said.

Everest is also planning an open house the third week of June for Kennebunk’s officials and board members as a way to express appreciation for helping to orchestrate the revitalization of the building.

“The building went from a liability to an asset,” Beckett said.

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