Real Estate Report: Higgins Beach Inn gets new owners, major updates

Outside the inn is a newly covered deck that leads into the restaurant, Shade.

SCARBOROUGH (WGME) -- An iconic inn along Maine's coast is taking reservations after getting new owners and major renovations.

"I know what it's like when guests talk about driving down Ocean Avenue and they come up over the hill and you get your first look at the beach and your first smell of the beach," said Phil Kronenthal, director of operations for Migis Hotel Group, a small Maine-based hospitality management company.

When the Higgins Beach Inn went up for sale last year, there was no hesitation.

"Terrific potential, terrific location, fabulous following," added Jesse Henry, a partner at Migis Hotel Group.

They saw a building with great bones and rich history. Originally a private home, it first opened up as Higgins Inn back in the 1920s. In 1955, rooms were just $3 a night during the off-season and $35 a week in the summer. The most recent owners bought the inn in 1997.

"They were ready to pass it on to another group, it seemed like a perfect fit for us," Henry said.

They wanted to build on the work that had already been done and add a trendy twist.

"What it needed from our standpoint is new electrical and new plumbing, it needed bathrooms in every room and some things like electrical outlets in every room," Kronenthal said, "So things that travelers expect to have today when they travel."

That meant expanding rooms upstairs, creating rooms downstairs and moving the dining room of the restaurant, which is now called Shade. Visitors will find modern amenities, along with pieces of history, like the wall-sized mural of the inn in the restaurant and the inn's original cash register.

"You have to keep that character," Kronenthal said.

Kronenthal and Henry say they've been welcomed by the community and are excited to serve as stewards of the property and its guests.

"We look at it as a responsibility, especially when we're dealing with historic properties like this, there's a lot to them and it's our role to respect them and make sure that they're, they're taken care of," Kronenthal said.

Working with Caleb Johnson Architects and Builders out of Biddeford, the renovations cost around $1 million and took about four months to complete.

Shade is open to the public 7 days a week with a whole new menu. Breakfast is served from 8-10 a.m., appetizers and drinks are served at 3 p.m. and dinner starts at 4 p.m.

To learn more about the Higgins Beach Inn, click here.

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