by Joshua Maloni
Both the Village of Lewiston Planning Board and the Board of Trustees approved the first submission for Emery Simon's "First and Last Chance Saloon" at meetings Tuesday night. The Simon Construction Co. proprietor hopes to have 755 Center St. North reopened to the public by spring or summer at the latest.
"I think Lewiston needs a classy place to go and sit down; relax and just unwind," Simon said, and suggested the wine bar could be used for showers and christenings. "I'd love to see something positive happen with a building that is truly historical."
"This is really a classy building," he said. "When you walk in it, you say, 'Wow.' "
Simon is currently working on the inside of the 24-foot-by-34-foot, two-story structure. His plan calls for the addition of an open-air, 36-by-40-foot patio west of the building.
"It looks great," Deputy Mayor Bruce Sutherland said.
"I think it looks very nice and would be an excellent addition to Center Street," Mayor Terry Collesano said.
The two boards approved the site plan. The Planning Board also OK'd an outside bar, a 42-inch-high stone wall, an Americans with Disabilities Act ramp, and Simon's use of stone from the Village Inn. The former Barton Hill Hotel spa, also known as the "Bucket of Blood," is set to be relocated north of its current location, and its base converted into a parking lot.
Planning Board Chairman David Giusiana quipped it was nice to see an eatery owner use his own property for patio space. There is currently a debate in the village concerning the use of outdoor tables and chairs on municipal right-of-ways.
Simon may or may not keep the gazebo in his outdoor pavilion and is pondering other minor aesthetic modifications. He said he's received a "tremendous amount of positive feedback" and some good suggestions about the project.
"I'm very appreciative of the fact that people are putting in positive info," Simon said.
"Ultimately, I don't want to build something that is nice -- I want to build something that is spectacular," he said. "I want to build something that you look at it (and) you go, 'Wow,' and you want to come back to it."
"You want to build something that is inviting," added his architect, Jim Fittante of Lewiston's Fittante Architecture P.C.