Former Club Rio nightclub will become city cafe

The former Club Rio on Franklin Street in Watertown. Watertown Daily Times

WATERTOWN — Three women who want to open a cafe in the former Club Rio on Franklin Street have received a $40,000 loan from the Watertown Local Development Corp.

The local development corporation, also known as the Watertown Trust, on Thursday approved the five-year loan with 3% interest and a stipulation that the owners only have to pay on the interest portion of the loan for the first 12 months.

In September, local real estate developer Jake Johnson purchased the former nightclub at 136 Franklin St. for $102,517 under the business name VanDuzee Street Properties LLC.

Now three women — Christin Filipelli, Patricia Jarvis and Jessica Williams — are opening The Eatery in the location. The former Club Rio will soon be turned into a cafe that serves an assortment of sweets and desserts, sandwiches, beverages, bagels and other items.

The loan will be used to create a kitchen in the 4,000-square-foot space, complete renovations and purchase equipment.

The restaurant would employ eight workers in its first year of business.

The business also will receive rent assistance through the Watertown Trust for the first two years of its five-year lease.

In other business, the Watertown Trust tabled another request for rental assistance for a tutoring business that wants to move into the FunXcape building at 223 J.B. Wise Place.

The board held off the request because the owner of the building, Vina Bonner, is delinquent 120 days on a loan to the agency. The board wants to sort out the consequences of providing rental assistance to a tenant who would be moving into a building with existing financial issues with the Watertown Trust.

Donald W. Rutherford, chief executive officer of the Watertown Trust, wants to know whether the building remains condemned by the city and if there are any tenants currently renting space in it.

He’s heard there are two potential buyers for the building, but hasn’t heard what is happening with that. The last time Mr. Rutherford talked to Ms. Bonner, who has moved to Hawaii, was about a month ago when she indicated she had to make some expensive repairs to the building’s fire suppression equipment.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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