GLOCESTER – While many shops and stores in Chepachet Village have undergone facelifts, there is another major development that is finally beginning to take shape. Stafford Yard, located where the old Purple Cat Restaurant used to exist on Route 100, is bringing major changes to what was previously an eyesore.
“The project at the Purple Cat is so exciting because it is taking what has been an eyesore for many years and constructing a mixed use development that exactly aligns with the vision the town has put forward for the village,” said Town Planner Karen Scott. “By pulling the structures up close to the road, it creates a more comfortable walking environment for pedestrians and further extends the walkable village area.”
Al Costantino, who owns the property along with Meshell Adamo, explained that the project has taken longer than expected. He added that he wants to see it completed, but wants it done right, not rushed.
“Ask me when it will be finished,” he quipped. “Everyone wants to know the answer. The answer is, when it is done. I’m not going to be yelling at workers to meet deadlines. I want it done right.”
Costantino explained that the project has been saddled with delays in obtaining building materials due to manufacturing back orders, as well as increases in costs.
“This is not a cookie cutter design of buildings,” he said. “It is a process of design as we go with research of buildings in the 1920s era.”
The project includes a large post and beam building for antique dealers to rent space, along with an ice cream parlor with an antique soda fountain.
“The penny tile floor, antique ceiling tiles and soda fountain stools and counter will bring you back in time,” promised Costantino.
The courtyard will not be covered in asphalt, he added. The area and walkways will consist of antique brick, cobble and granite. The antique barn has a porch to sit and relax. There will also be a maintenance garage with a 2nd floor apartment behind the main building, and two duplex buildings with retail on the 1st floor and one bedroom apartments on the 2nd floor off to the side.
In essence, the area will be something like a small village in and of itself, welcoming visitors.
“Meshell Adamo and I both have a vision to start a business of antiques and salvaging items of the past,” said Costantino. “We both have a passion, whether it is the preservation or refinishing pieces that may otherwise be disposed of. We feel it is our duty to preserve such fine craftsmanship and keep it alive.”
“Al Costantino has been great to work with,” said Scott. “He told us he wanted to build his dream project here.”
Costantino explained that he and Adamo did their research firsthand before deciding that Chepachet was the location where they wanted to invest. They interviewed shop owners and visitors alike, observed various events such as the Scarecrow Festival and Candlelight Shopping, and were impressed by what they saw.
“The walkability and quaintness of Chepachet Village is the perfect fit for all of our needs,” Costantino said. “It is truly a destination for families to visit throughout the year.”
He praised the work of the Glocester Business Association and the Historic District Commission, adding that they knew their investment would be in good hands. The area was previously owned by the Lavoie family, including the late Rose Lavoie, who played a major role in the Village and town over the years in various capacities.
“We are committed to make the Lavoie family and the town of Glocester proud that Stafford Yard has been preserved as it should be and will be a pleasant addition to the village for all to feel at home,” Costantino said.