The Kibby Equipment buildings

Worth Knowing: What do you think should go into the two WRJ buildings Mike Davidson has just bought?

Submitted 2 months ago

Upper Valley real estate developer Mike Davidson recently closed a deal to buy the two buildings on the right just as you pass under the bridge into White River Junction from West Lebanon. They were owned by Phyllis and William Shambo who operated their Kibby Equipment business out of them for nearly 60 years. 

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So what's Davidson planning? We don't know, but he sure has done some unusual things with his developments in the Upper Valley.

In 2014, Davidson bought the former Lebanon Junior High School on Bank Street and converted it into 43 loft-stye apartments. 

Former College Cleaners, now studio apartments

He purchased the unsightly College Cleaners building on South Main Street in White River Junction and has constructed 36 studio apartments there. He purchased the old Roy's Gulf Station in Colburn Park after it was slated for demolition, and it's since been converted into the much-loved Lucky's Coffee Garage.

Lucky’s Coffee Garage in downtown Lebanon

More recently, Davidson purchased the iconic Polka Dot Diner, which sits partly on top of land owned by Canadian National Railway in White River Junction. Davidson has leased this property to a Cambodian restaurant, Phnom Penh Sandwich Station.

The former Polka Dot Restaurant, soon to be Phnom Penh Sandwich Station

 Davidson also owns the enormous building in White River Junction that houses the restaurant Elixir and the entertainment and catering venue The Engine Room, as well as multiple multi-use buildings in Lebanon and White River Junction (including the building in White River Junction that’s home to reader-adored C & S Pizza). 


Entrance to The Engine Room, a music and event space, as well as catering operation

C & S Pizza

But back to the question of what's next for the Kibby Equipment buildings.

Tim Sidore, Davidson's General Manager, says nothing has been set in stone and that they've received inquiries from people with interests in restaurants and the performing arts, but that certainly doesn't rule out more housing.

Unless you haven't been to White River Junction in the last 3 years, you know that it's been undergoing something of a wicked cool Renaissance. It's seen the creation of Northern Stage's Barrette Center for the Arts, the expansion of Tuckerbox restaurant, the opening of eateries Trail Break, Piecemeal Pies, and Juel, the new retail spaces Little Istanbul and Flourish Beauty Lab, the creation of Newberry Market's First Friday events, and the initial opening and quick expansion of the integrative health center Open Door. And let's not forget developer Bill Bittonger’s shiny new mixed-use building on North Main Street and The Village at White River Junction, which is slated to open soon with assisted living and memory care units for 80 people. There's more, but that list gives you an idea of just how much has been going on in White River Junction in the past few years. 

The Barrette Center in front of The Village at White River Junction

So what's next? What do you think White River Junction needs? It sure would be interesting to know what the Upper Valley community thinks should or could be next in White River Junction. Please leave a comment below if you’ve got an opinion on this.

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