BEVERLY — A redevelopment plan aimed bringing a banquet hall owned by Barraco’s Pizza Inc. to Beverly was approved Wednesday by the City Council.
The $1.8 million plan will transform the long-vacant library at 2125 W. 95th St. into an 8,200-square-foot banquet hall, according to a release from the mayor's press office.
The .61-acre site also includes a 25-space parking lot and a 2,800-square-foot building at 2105 W. 95th St. that will feature a limited carry-out menu, a staff member for Ald. Matt O'Shea (19th) said Wednesday.
The property, which was originally built as a funeral home, is valued at $267,000 but will be sold for $1 under terms of the agreement, according to the release.
To better accommodate parking, the restaurant chain also signed a 10-year lease for a nearby lot at 9448 S. Pleasant Ave. The city-owned lot will be used to valet park cars during banquets.
The lease for the parking lot is also set at $1. Barraco's would pay all of the taxes associated with the property. In exchange, the restaurant would be able to acquire the land at the end of the lease for the fair market value of the parking lot minus the amount of taxes paid, the aldermanic staffer said.
The much-anticipated banquet and carry-out restaurant will operate under a different name than Barraco's as the chain is looking to attract more funeral luncheons, birthday parties, showers and small weddings, restaurateur Nick Barraco said at a community meeting Dec. 8.
The owner of the chain then asked neighbors to sign a petition lifting the ban on alcohol sales on the property prior to moving forward with his redevelopment plans. That stretch of 95th Street that runs throughout Beverly has been "dry" since Prohibition.
The necessary signatures were secured at the meeting, making only the property associated with the new banquet hall available for a liquor license. O'Shea championed the switch, personally meeting with neighbors who ultimately decided the issue.
The alderman on the Far Southwest Side said he backed the restaurant's effort after Barraco's successfully transformed another blighted storefront at 3047 W. 111th St. in Mount Greenwood. The Italian restaurant's first city location opened there in May 2014.
O'Shea said there is a 20 percent vacancy rate along the 95th Street shopping strip, and he believes Barraco's will help breathe new life into the area. This new banquet hall will also employ 90 people.
The limestone facility will have the capacity for about 185 patrons when up and running. The building served as the neighborhood library from 1981-2009.
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