Plan Would Transform Sharon Building into Restaurants, Bars, Hotel

SHARON, Pa. – Walt Novosel, owner of Nova Destinations, has unveiled his plan to turn a vacant Chestnut Street building, downtown, into a cluster of nightlife, dining and entertainment venues.

The project would include an event space, escape rooms and a boutique hotel in the four-story structure at 23 Chestnut St., just off State Street. The building (pictured above) once housed Brewtus Brewing Co.

Sharon City Council awarded Novosel $150,000 in American Rescue Plan funds for the project. He estimates the first phase will carry a price tag of $1.2 million.

The plan would transform the building, which is owned by Jim Landino, into a year-round entertainment complex and put the vacant building back to use. The project has already been approved by the city.

“I told them I wouldn’t open just another restaurant,” Novosel said. “It will be an experience, a destination.”

Work on the first phase is slated to begin before the end of the year and be open early next year. The remaining two phases would begin at roughly six-month intervals after the start of the first, Novosel said.

His Nova Destinations group already includes Nova Cellars-Brew 32 and Scallywag Distilling in Pulaski, Pa.; Knockin Noggin Cidery and Winery in Volant, Pa.; and Fractured Grape Wine Cellars, Hop Asylum Brewing and Pulse Coffee Company in New Wilmington, Pa.

Novosel said he wanted to expand into a business that has a stronger year-round presence.

“Nova Cellars has a walking trail and it has been great. But it’s a very outdoor venue and can only be used when the weather is good,” Novosel said. “We’ve been talking about planning more indoor businesses.”

He started looking at properties in downtown Sharon several years ago because his family has had a connection to the city in the past.

Novosel’s grandfather, Walt Novosel, had established Walt’s Inn in Sharon in the 1970s, and one of his uncles owned Billy’s Black and Gold tavern for years.

He knew he found what he was looking for in the Chestnut Street building. “It is beautiful,” he said.

The first phase of the project will create a speakeasy-type bar in the basement, a tiki bar on the patio in the back, and a traditional pub with an Irish-English atmosphere on the first floor, Novosel said. The pub will be open for lunch and dinner seven days a week

“The speakeasy will have some exclusiveness to it.,” he said. “It won’t be advertised.”

The second floor will be converted into an events center and also used for comedy shows, dinner theater and similar entertainment.

Phases two and three would use upper-floor space in adjacent buildings, which are interconnected with the Chestnut Street building, and also owned by Landino.

Phase two would consist of a high-end wine and cocktail rooftop bar with a fine dining restaurant. Also planned are escape rooms and an ax throwing area.

Phase three would be a 20-room boutique hotel.

“It’s all symbiotic,” Novosel said. “It will work together as a weekend destination, something that you would find in a big city.”

The city of Sharon awarded a total of $1.3 million in its first round of ARP funding this month.
Receiving funding in addition to Nova are:

  • Diehl Automotive (Diehl Hyundai of Sharon), 1300 E. State St., Sharon: $250,000, to update the dealership.
  • ACTS Theatre Group, 40 S. Irvine Ave., Sharon: $225,000, to complete the transformation of the former Sacred Heart church into a theater, which is expected to open in October.
  • Shenango LLC (JCL Development and Hudson Companies), 297 Shenango Ave., Sharon: $450,000 for 12 student housing apartments near the Penn State Shenango campus.
  • Buhl Club, 28 Pine St., Sharon: $225,000 for HVAC improvements.

Carl Sizer, vice president of Sharon City Council, expressed his excitement about the projects.
“The city’s goal is to invest in projects and initiatives that are aligned with the long-term goal of improving the downtown and surrounding areas,” he said in a news release.

City Manager Bob Fiscus agreed.

“We are looking at things a lot differently, which is exciting and stressful at the same time because we want to make sure we remain goal-focused on growing a thriving city,” he said. “We want this money to make lasting change in the city of Sharon.”

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.