Artee Homes dept. store in downtown Pawt.

Posted in: NAP- Neighborhood Alliance of Pawtucket

December 26, 2009


Dear Neighborhood Alliance Readers,


Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Kwaanza, Blessed Agnosticism, and Great Winter Solistice, and Joyous Atheism to all,


The city and "Pawtucket Times" announced a new department store will open before March 2010 in downtown Pawtucket on Main Street at the former Toole Hardware and Salzman's Department Store.  The new store,   Artee Homes, a high class textiles shop and furniture store will occupy the century old brick, five story, building.


A few concerns:  Does this mean Main Street, High Street, and East Avenue will finally be made into two way traffic to accommodate new shoppers?   In addition to the parking garage, will there be new parking spaces behind Main Street, where the Boys and Girls Club once stood?


In closing, what other businesses are being planned for the revitalized Main Street?


Give EM Hell,  Harry S. Truman   

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Am sure there are plans, but when we see them may be the big questions?

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Major retail boost for downtown E-mail

on 12-26-2009 00:21  


By Donna Kenny Kirwan

PAWTUCKET — In what is being hailed as a major retail booster for the downtown, the owners of an upscale textiles and home furnishings business have purchased the historic Toole Building located at 228-230 Main Street to open a showroom and store.

According to city officials, the 22,000-square-foot building, built in 1892, has been largely vacant since it was purchased in 2002 by Louis Yip. Yip had sold the building once to a developer for a condominium project, but ended up taking possession of it again when the deal fell through.
This week, the five-story building was sold to Shekhar LLC for $230,000. The owners plan to open an Artee Home store within the next three months, selling fine quality textiles for drapes and upholstery, as well as rugs, furniture and other home decor items.
The latest transaction came about thanks to a little luck and a lot of perseverance on the part of Phyllis Nathanson, of Morris Nathanson Design. Nathanson, who, with her husband, Morris, is a long time ambassador for the city’s redevelopment,  steered  the new owners to the site and encouraged them to work with Yip to acquire the building.
Herb Weiss, the city's Economic and Cultural Affairs Officer, said the sale of the commercial building and the upcoming retail store “will jump start the downtown.” He noted that Artee Home is known for  high quality textiles and other home furnishings, and said the store will draw a wide range of shoppers to Main Street.  “This is a big deal for the downtown,” he stated.
Weiss also praised Nathanson for her leadership role in bringing the new owners and Yip together and for being persistent when the deal at one point appeared to be in lost due to some scheduling problems and legal entanglements.  He also said that city officials worked with the new owners to provide assistance with zoning and fire code requirements.
Weiss added that the textiles and home furnishing store will fit in perfectly with the other art galleries and antiques stores that are located in and around the downtown area.
Nathanson said that her meeting with Larry Leiberman, who was representing the owners of Shekhar, was accidental. She had happened to be in the Slater Cotton Mill condominium building visiting an acquaintance when she overheard Leiberman asking if there was commercial space available. When told the building was residential, she said she approached him, explained who she and her husband were, and offered to take him on a tour of some commercial buildings in the city.
Nathanson said that when she found out about the type of business involved, she had initially wanted to have the Artee Home store as a tenant in her own building on Exchange Street. When that space couldn't be readied in time for the owners' liking, she said she steered Leiberman to other locations, including the Toole building.
“To me, the Toole building is beautiful and would be perfect for this type of retail store,” said Nathanson. She compared the business to the ABC Carpet & Home store in Manhattan and said it even looks like a smaller version of that retailer with its stately columns, ornate tin ceiling and open floor plan. She also said that she showed Leiberman many other things that Pawtucket has going on in terms of the arts, local theater and other points of cultural interest, and that he was impressed.
Again, however, due to some legal entanglements, the building couldn't be made available in the three-month time frame that the owners wanted for opening their first retail store. They opted instead for a location in Westport, CT.
Undeterred, Nathanson kept the lines of communication open, and now, with the Westport store thriving, they are opening a second location in Pawtucket. “This will be great for Pawtucket,”said Nathanson. She said that the type of high quality textiles that will be available, such as those sought by interior decorators, can only be found currently at Zimmans in Lynn, Mass.
 “This is not just a local Pawtucket thing. People will be coming from all over the East Bay, Newport, and throughout the entire region,” Nathanson said.  “This will be a new retail engine for the downtown.”

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Sure...what a magnet! For politicians maybe

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