STRUTHERS, Ohio – Selah Restaurant co-owner Brian Palumbo has purchased a long-vacant neighboring building in downtown Struthers and plans to renovate it into an event hall and boutique hotel.
The two-story building at 126 S. Bridge St., shares an alley with Selah, 130 S. Bridge St.
Its ground floor would become a catering hall with seating for up to 100. A large doorway would be installed along its side that would open onto the alley for an indoor-outdoor atmosphere, Palumbo says.
The second floor, which is already subdivided into four apartments, will be converted into at least four rooms or suites. Its target customers would be the families of baseball players who have traveled to Struthers for tournaments at Cene Park, which is a few blocks away, and also businessmen visiting the neighboring Astro Shapes plant.
“People might say ‘that’s crazy’ for Struthers, but with the ballfields there, people are always coming in and the closest hotels are in Boardman,” Palumbo says. “Also, Astro Shapes brings people in all the time.”
Palumbo has not yet obtained an estimated cost of the project but says the roof will be replaced first, followed by work on the event center.
Selah – a Struthers institution for 17 years – already has a small event room on its second floor that seats 45. The Selah dessert theater is also on the second floor. Jeffrey Chann co-owns Selah along with Palumbo.
Selah uses the alley, which is closed to traffic, for outdoor dining and music on weekends. The event center in the neighboring building would provide extra seating for those nights, Palumbo says.
He is also looking into installing a retractable cover over the alley that would allow outdoor dining on rainy nights. All renovations would maintain the building’s historic look and style, Palumbo says.
The restaurateur, who also is the executive director of Top Hat Theater in Youngstown, has also purchased a second downtown building at 170 S. Bridge St.
The vacant building a block away has three storefronts and sits along the sidewalk. The renovation of that building is underway. Palumbo estimated the project at $125,000.
He already has two tenants lined up: a costume shop and a dress shop.
“These will not be antique shops or junk stores,” Palumbo stressed. “Those have been tried in downtown Struthers and didn’t work.”