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March 20, 2020

A new B&B in York is on the site of hotel destroyed by fire

Courtesy / Anne Erwin Real Estate  A century-old residence in York is being converted into a bed-and-breakfast named the Albracca, in honor of the original Hotel Albracca that stood there in the 19th century.

The developers of a new bed-and-breakfast in York are aiming to open in June, once renovations are completed.

Dole Phiri and her husband Kris Lubanski are converting a house at 560 York St., dating back to around 1900, into the Albracca Bed & Breakfast.

The couple bought the property for $1.3 million in a deal that closed March 6. The transaction was brokered by Anne Erwin Real Estate and Don Wunder of Team Wunder at RE/MAX Realty One.

The 7,062-square-foot two-story Colonial style structure is on 3.57 acres that feature expansive lawns and stone walls. The structure consists of a main house and two smaller buildings, which were all connected in the early 1900s, according to the listing.

The main house includes three bedrooms, three-and-a-half baths, and period details such as wide-plank wood flooring, custom moldings, custom tiled fireplace and expansive windows. The property is near the beach and town.

South Africa to southern Maine

Phiri is originally from South Africa, where she was pursuing a degree in accounting. In the spirit of adventure, in 2003, she traveled to the United States. Lubanski is from Poland and had also traveled to the U.S. with a similar inspiration. 

Courtesy / Anne Erwin Real Estate 
The home is in great shape and includes historic features like hardwood floors and wood paneling, which will be kept intact and polished up.

Phiri came to the U.S. on a J-1 visa to work at an inn and then a resort, both in Vermont. She met her husband-to-be at the latter. It turned out that they had landed at JFK Airport on the same day. 

They moved to Ogunquit to continue working in hospitality. Lubanski had to return to Poland to complete his master’s degree. Phiri didn’t want to stay in Ogunquit by herself, so she moved to California, where she had friends, and worked at hotels there.

When Lubanski returned to the U.S. in 2012, the couple shortly thereafter returned to Maine and became managers at two separate properties. 

In March 2019, they bought the turnkey Lighthouse Inn in York Beach and had a successful first season.

“With our experience, we just jumped right in,” Phiri told Mainebiz.

Iconic landmark

They found the York property right after they acquired the Lighthouse Inn. 

“My husband has always had an eye on that property,” she said. “It’s an iconic landmark; a lot of people stop to take pictures.”

Courtesy / Dole Phiri
Dole Phiri and her husband Kris Lubanski bought 560 York St., York, for $1.3 million.

One day, he was driving by and noticed a for-sale sign. The couple contacted Wunder, who had helped them with the Lighthouse Inn transaction.

The property was once home to Hotel Albracca, which was destroyed by fire. It opened June 17, 1891. According to a newspaper clipping of the day that Phiri provided, the hotel had accommodations for 150 guests and featured piazzas, balconies and a dome. Modern improvements included steam heat, open fires, electric bells, telephone, baths, a dance hall and billiard room.

“It has a system of water works of its own, while the sewerage and sanitary conditions are perfect, leading into the ocean,” the clip reads.

The hotel burned down and the house that stands there now was built.

Honoring original hotel

The B&B’s name and the opening date were chosen in honor of the original hotel, Phiri said.

Courtesy / Anne Erwin Real Estate 
Features like the original fireplace will be preserved.

The B&B will have seven guest rooms. Five of the rooms, in the main house just needed some upgrades and are close to completion. A former garage is being converted into two more. System upgrades includes installing a sprinkler system and working with the fire marshal and inspectors with York’s fire department to make sure everything is up to code. Cosmetic upgrades include polishing the hardwood floors and removing outdated wallpaper and replacing it with paint. 

The purchase was financed by a bank loan. 

Phiri said they plan to hold onto their plan of opening in June, despite uncertainties around the upcoming hospitality season.

“We’re keeping our fingers crossed,” she said.

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March 20, 2020

This is NOT the original location of the Hotel Albracca. The hotel burned to the ground in 1924 - the house at 560 York St was built circa 1910. The hotel was located closer to the ocean (where Norwood Farm Rd is now). It's a great story, but it's not accurate.

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