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Norwich pub to use revitalization grant to expand

By Claire Bessette

Publication: theday.com

Published January 24. 2013 10:00AM   Updated January 24. 2013 11:47PM

Norwich — The Harp & Dragon Irish pub will be expanding again on Main Street, using funding from two downtown revitalization programs to build a banquet hall and tasting bar on the second floor, expand the first-floor restaurant now and add outdoor deck seating come summer.

Norwich Community Development Corp. program manager Jackie Roy announced Thursday that both the restaurant business and building owner CAP Realty, both owned by the Capano family, will receive the funding through the downtown revitalization bond approved by residents in 2010.

CAP Realty will receive $9,500 in a matching building code upgrade grant to renovate the second floor at 130 Main St. to accommodate the banquet hall and an adjacent wine and beer tasting lounge. Harp & Dragon, which just signed a new 15-year lease, will receive lease rebates over 10 years that will start with $34,000 in the first year and decrease in following years.

Scott Capano, co-owner of the family business, said the expansion already is under way and is expected to cost $300,000 to $400,000. Capano said the banquet hall, which will seat about 70 at dining tables or accommodate about 100 people in standing buffet service, should open within the next three weeks. The tasting lounge could open by the first week of March.

Downstairs renovations to expand the seating area also are under way, Capano said.

The final phase of the three-part expansion will be a second-floor outdoor deck at the rear of the building. Capano said the 2,600-square-foot deck will include dining tables and a limited service bar.

"My family has done nothing but reinvest in everything we've made down there," Capano said. "We're very happy to have NCDC as a partner."

CAP Realty last March also purchased a five-story building at 146 Main St. at a city tax foreclosure auction for $28,851. Capano said he has only conceptual plans at this point for the building, including possibly a second restaurant and bar with an 18-hole golf simulator on the second floor.

"The downtown needs it," Capano said. "It would be another downtown destination."

c.bessette@theday.com

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