Local developer Thomas J. Farone has purchased the Everglades Barbecue restaurant on Route 9 along with 3.9 acres of land around it from Wilton resident Timothy McNamara.
Farone said he plans to lease out the currently closed barbecue eatery on the east side of Route 9 just north of Northern Pines Road for the next two or three years while he develops plans for apartments and retail space on the property.
The restaurant, which specialized in Florida-style barbecue, has been in operation for about a decade under more than one owner.
Farone said he has several people interested in taking over operation of the restaurant. He said one of those interested plans on operating a catering business out of the building, while another person wants to reopen the restaurant and offer the same type of barbecue ribs fish, and steaks that the Everglades served.
The restaurant is still fully equipped, including apparatus to smoke meat and fish. The purchase price for the property was not released by Farone.
Farone has built more than 2,000 single-family homes in the Wilton-Saratoga Springs area but in recent years has been concentrating on the construction of luxury apartments.
He said his Saratoga Heritage Apartments I and II on Route 9 at Waller Road are full and a waiting list has been developed. He is also just about finished with approximately 40 more luxury apartment units on the west side of Route 9, directly across from his Heritage II apartments. These units were first proposed as condominiums but the plans changed over the past year.
Farone said the Everglades Barbecue property would make an ideal site for a building with apartments on the upper floors and retail space on the ground floor. He said such a project is allowed in the town’s Northern Pines Road hamlet zone.
Town Supervisor Arthur Johnson said the Everglades property is, indeed, in a hamlet zone. Farone’s plans for the apartments there have not yet been presented to the town.
Farone has, however, presented plans to the Town Board for an apartment complex where Farone’s office and self-storage facility are currently located on Route 9 just north of Waller Road. This project for 48 apartment units is in the early stages of review.
The trend of luxury apartment construction in Wilton over the past five years is a good thing for the town, Johnson said.
“Luxury apartments are the housing choice for many people,” Johnson said. “They are in demand.”
He said the apartments add value to the town’s tax base yet don’t burden the school system with additional students like single-family housing does.