downtown_bar_grill
Patricia Minichiello Photo / The outside of the Downtown Bar & Grill.

By Patricia Minichiello
@vtpresspass

Rutland City — The owners of the Downtown Bar and Grill, located at 42 and 44 Center St., have purchased the former Army / Navy store at 46 Center St.
Erica Balestra and co-owner Dave Means purchased the new building for $110,000 and are in the process of putting just under $200,000 worth of renovations into it, Balestra said Sunday.
“We own the building right next to it and we’ve always wanted it,” she said. “We’re trying to revitalize downtown.”
The announced happened Friday on the establishment’s Facebook page.
Formally the Army / Navy store for 30 years and then a vacant storefront for 10 years, Balestra said she’s excited to see a new business go there. And she’s already gotten a few inquiries.
“I’d like to see some type of retail store go there. … Someone did inquire about it for office space,” but Balestra said she would prefer a new store downtown.
Demolition of the interior is under way, and everything will be new from windows to wiring to a new furnace. They will also try to restore the brick on the outside of the building.
In addition, the property will be home to five new apartments. Balestra said there will be a mix of one- and two-bedroom apartments, ranging in price from $700 to $1,000 each.
“They’ll be perfect for a single professional or young couple,” she said.
Renovation of the building is expected to take between six and eight months.
Michael Coppinger, executive director of the Downtown Rutland Partnership, said he’s delighted the building has been purchased and will soon be renovated.
“It’s been the lone vacant storefront that hasn’t had any activity for the past 10 years,” he said.
Coppinger also said that Balestra has found a recipe for success in combining apartments on the upper level with retail space on the lower. 
“Keeping (the first floor) retail, will help with the foot traffic downtown, and that stretch of Center Street,” he said.
Anyone interested in leasing the first-floor retail space or renting an apartment can call 802-558-0385.

Patricia Minichiello is a freelance reporter and editor of vtpresspass.com. You can reach her at vtpresspass@gmail.com.