A real estate investor who owns other restaurant properties has purchased the Manna’s restaurant building on Low Street, which has been a big vacant space in the middle of the village’s downtown.
Tara Stone, of Saratoga Springs, said Friday she has purchased the former banquet house for $425,000, and is looking to lease it either to a restaurant operator or for other retail uses.
“I think it can be an excellent business,” she said Friday.
Stone is a commercial real estate investor whose other holdings include the Limoncello Ristorante building in Saratoga Springs and the site of the new Loca Luna Mexican restaurant in Ballston Spa.
Manna’s Restaurant and Banquet House closed more than a year ago, and the building was foreclosed on by the Ballston Spa National Bank, which had been trying to sell it.
Over last winter, there was a controversy after the local business and professional association came out against a tentative deal for the bank to sell the property to the Saratoga County Economic Opportunity Council, a non-profit human services agency.
The Ballston Spa Business and Professional Association took the position that the downtown site should be used for some kind of retail business that would generate customer traffic, not for human services offices.
In March, the EOC withdrew its offer for the property in the face of the criticism of it and the bank.
Daniel DeFabio, president of the Business and Professional Association, welcomed Stone’s purchase.
“What I’m hearing they want down there, either restaurant or retail, is exactly what we need in that space,” DeFabio said.
Stone said she had expressed interest in the property last November, before the bank made the EOC deal, and re-entered negotiations after the EOC deal fell through.
It’s potentially a good site for a restaurant and banquet house, she said — and its proximity to Wiswall Park makes it a potentially strong site for wedding receptions.
“The space is amazing. There’s no other [banquet] space of its size from Saratoga to Schenectady,” she said. “It would be ready to go immediately as a restaurant/caterer.”