Jul 30, 2009 Ami Olson Uncategorized
The stop work order preventing Village Tavern owners Ray and Sarah Nesci from completing the renovations of the property was lifted last week, allowing the improvement to move forward after months of suspension.
And what an improvement it is – anyone who remembers the watering hole for its dark, cave-like atmosphere would hardly recognize it now. Which was kind of the point.
“It was a dated bar, and the clientele were a little bit dated, too – not that there’s anything wrong with that, it was just time for a change,” Ray Nesci said.
The Nescis purchased the Village Tavern in 2004, and Ray Nesci said the couple started “chipping away” at the interior about two years ago. As the bar’s regulars got older or moved away, the couple took advantage of the changing business climate.
Adding food specials and live music didn’t hurt, but the overall change in appearance and atmosphere has been a driving factor in getting people through the door.
Major renovations began in 2008, including the conversion of the second floor apartment into a completed dining room, exposing the 100-year-old brick walls and removing the drop ceiling. New windows on the face of the building drench the two floors in light; the facade of the building speaks for itself.
“We knew the building had potential,” Nesci said.
The couple owes a lot of their success to architect and village resident Dave Tucker.
“Without him it wasn’t going any where,” Nesci said. Tucker helped the couple turn their ideas into hard architectural plans — at no cost — just for the sake of seeing an improvement in the village.
The couple agreed that many villagers and patrons wanted to be a part of the change, and several even offered to help out with the renovations during the weekends.
“That’s what’s nice about the village of Marcellus,” Nesci said. People appreciate what they’re trying to do, and are willing to help out for the betterment of the village.
A serious facelift
Though the “new” Village Tavern can already hold its own against the swanky Skaneateles competition, there’s more to come. The couple hopes to have the dining area open for business by fall, adding a family-friendly restaurant dimension to the bar. The second-level dining room will be open year-round and feature a working fireplace, great view of the village center and an open view of the bar area below.
The couple hopes the dining area will also appeal to business clientele who would otherwise probably not patronize the bar during the weekday.
The goal is to give the experience of being in a downtown bar without having to go downtown, Sarah Nesci said.
“It’s been a long process, but it’s been worth it,” Ray said.
Planning board between a rock and a hard place
The Marcellus Village Planning Board found itself in a tight spot last week when it weighed penalizing a local business owner for not going through proper channels against setting a precedent of bending the rules.
In the end, the board suspended the stop work order it had granted against the Nescis for what both sides agreed was a series of miscommunications.
Differences between board-approved plans and actual renovations made to the building had caused the board to stop any work at the Tavern, and as a result the board could have required the Nescis to make major changes to the work that has already been done. The board agreed last week to allow the building to stand “as is,” and allow work to continue. The couple has already spent about $75,000 to improve the property.
But the board agreed that remaining strict about village rules in the future would be critical. One of the biggest concerns was the disconnect between the plans the board had approved and the actual changes that had taken place — a situation board members agreed they did not want to face down the road, particularly as plans for a major project on Main Street move forward.
A public forum will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday Aug. 4 at the Marcellus Fire Station to allow residents the opporunity to learn about and voice their concerns and opinions about the Main Street Project. For more information, call the village office at 673-3112.