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Purple Cat property planned to become antique business – Valley Breeze



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Updated: January 14, 2022 @ 1:53 am
GLOCESTER – The days of the nearly 100-year-old building that once housed the Purple Cat Restaurant in Chepachet are numbered after a business developer purchased the property and is formulating plans to revive the site.
Smithfield resident and business owner Al Costantino this week confirmed plans to demolish the commercial portion of the building at 4 Stafford Yard to make space for a barn-like antique store with space for boutiques as well as possible housing units.
Costantino said he has had eyes on Glocester to open a new business for some time. He previously scrapped plans for a similar type of business at a property he purchased at 1200 Putnam Pike.
When the Purple Cat property came up for sale, Costantino sold the Putnam Pike property and purchased the Purple Cat, according to Town Planner Karen Scott.
Scott said initial plans she’s seen show a mixed-use development with retail on the bottom floor and some residential units above the stores. She said the development would extend the walking feel of the village further.
“It will blend with the feel of the village of a historic walk and mixed-use area,” Scott said.
She said plans are in the very early stages, and they need to go through the right departments and processes for approvals before anything moves forward. Still, Scott said, Costantino and his “transformational” business ideas are welcome in Glocester.
“We’re excited to have him here and bring in new business,” she said.
Costantino said he has a lot of plans for properties across the state, and has had his eye on Glocester for some time. He said he hopes to build a post-and-beam style barn to house the finished furniture and antiques business.
Plans need to go through the Planning Board, Costantino said, adding that he’s met with the Historic District Commission and plans to meet with the Economic Development Commission and Town Council as well.
“It’s a serious landmark in town,” he acknowleged.
The new building will conform to the historic village design, Costantino said, and will feature a similar façade to the stone and wood buildings in town.
“There’s a lot of history in that building and the town,” Costantino said.
“As soon as we’re up and running, I have a demolition crew contracted for the building,” he added.
Costantino said the property has been blighted for some time, with the last occupants being the Purple Cat Vineyard and Winery.
The town last appraised the property in 2021 for $509,800 when it was owned by Stafford Realty Management Inc. The property contains four buildings constructed between 1850 and 1970 on 1.47 acres off Route 44 known as Stafford Yard.
The Purple Cat Restaurant opened in 1929, feeding Glocester residents into the 2000s. Owned by the LaVoie family, the restaurant was a local landmark for Glocester and Rhode Island residents. The LaVoie family later went into partnership with Dan Ribeiro to run the Purple Cat Vineyard and Winery at 11 Money Hill Road, which opened in 2015 and closed a few years later in 2019.
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