Luke’s Lobster signs long-term lease in Maine, announces San Francisco opening
New York, U.S.A.-based Luke’s Lobster recently announced the company has entered into a long-term lease at 60 Portland Pier, in Portland, Maine, the former site of New Meadows Lobster.
The lease will allow Luke’s Lobster to begin buying and shipping operations in Portland, expanding from their current location in Tenants Harbor in St. George, Maine. According to the company, the location will start smaller with one employee, with potential to increase in volume.
Soon after the announcement for the new pier location, Luke’s Lobster also announced that it will be opening a space in San Francisco, California, the first location on the west coast for the company. According to the company, the location will be open sometime later in the year.
Luke Holden, the founder and CEO of Luke’s Lobster, said the new pier location is part of the company’s commitment to keep working waterfronts in Maine active.
"Portland's working waterfront is a crucial part of the lobster industry, both for fishermen who rely on it to sell their catch, and for visitors to understand exactly what it takes to put the state's signature dish on their plate," Holden said. Holden also sits on the board of directors for the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative and the Lobster Institute, as well as the board of trustees for the Island Institute.
The move to preserve working waterfront comes amid increasing tension along the water of Maine’s largest city. As real estate values along the waterfront climb, more developers are proposing projects for the city’s wharfs that crowd out structures’ more traditional uses, inciting protests from fishermen and new proposals to ease space crunches from lobstermen.
The conflict even led one Maine congresswoman to propose a grant program for working waterfronts.
"Operating Portland Pier is an opportunity for us to support our community and extend the tradition of the working waterfront for those who depend on it and for those who can learn from it,” Holden said.
Luke’s Lobster also operates a Saco, Maine-based seafood company, where 100 percent of the catch at the Portland Pier will be processed.
“While plans for a Luke’s Lobster restaurant in the currently-vacant adjacent condo and office spaces are also in discussion, no further development beyond the lobster station and structural fortification of the pier has been finalized,” the company wrote in a release.
Buying and shipping operations have already commenced, and the company is interested in looking at new floats for lobstermen that dock in the area, said Holden.
“We’re looking into putting in new floats for the lobstermen that dock here, our hope is to outfit the new floats with water and electric which hasn’t been available in the past,” Holden said. “We’re also brainstorming ways to enhance the public’s access to the waterfront through the Harborwalk Trail and make it more inviting.”