The NYLO Hotel, a victim of the March flood of 2010, has the necessary permits to reopen its lounge and hold entertainment events indoors and outdoors and, if all goes as planned, will be back in business by mid-August.
“We’re very excited to hear that you’re reopening,” said Leslie Walaska Baxter, chair of the Board of Public Safety on Tuesday. The board approved the required licenses on condition of approvals from the fire marshal and building inspector.
Baxter’s immediate question was, what the reopening of the 163-room hotel would mean in jobs?
Hotel manager Susan Shaw said the hotel will open in phases and that, initially, 40 to 45 would be employed to run the restaurant, lounge and hotel.
She said the hotel decor would be basically the same as before the flood that swept through the hotel first floor, destroying the restaurant, ruining its information technology systems and sweeping over the extensive deck overlooking the Pawtuxet River and the historic Pontiac Mill complex.
“It was the heart of the hotel,” Shaw said.
While much will look the same, Shaw said it is changing its marketing strategy to attract an older clientele. She said there wouldn’t be heavily discounted rooms and the restaurant and lounge will be looking to attract groups drawn more to jazz, for instance, as compared to live rock music.
NYLO is one of the last of the major establishments to reopen in the wake of the March 31, 2010 flood when the river crested at a record 21 feet. Sections of the Warwick Mall, across Route 5 from NYLO, reopened about a year ago and Macy’s followed suit earlier this year.
Although not intended, Shaw hopes being among the last to recover will place the media spotlight on the hotel and give it a welcome boost in business.
Shaw and hotel attorney John Revens found a packed meeting room, as the board was scheduled to consider outdoor entertainment licenses for Chelo’s on the Waterfront and a one month review of outdoor seating at Flanagan’s Shannon View Inn on Post Road.
Baxter made it clear from the start that the purpose of Tuesday’s meeting was not to review Chelo’s performance over the past two weeks, as it did at its June meeting, but to determine whether the restaurant had taken the sound abatement measures it pledged to do, as well as to grant license for outside entertainment on the Victory Day and Labor Day holidays.
Craig Chelo said the band shell outside the restaurant had been sound insulated. He provided the board with a sample of the material and said “drum guards” had been installed at a cost of $250. The installation was completed as of last Friday.
Baxter said she visited the restaurant over the weekend during the day as well as nearby neighborhoods and across Apponaug Cove at Cedar Tree Point. She said she did not find the noise to be excessive. Since the last board hearing, Col. Stephen McCartney said police responded to complaints on June 30 and July 7 and that in both instances noise readings fell within the allowable decibel readings set by ordinance.
Area residents still complained of the noise of drumming and Brain Goldblatt maintained that the type of music played during the day is very different than the groups playing at night.
“You are going to hear something,” Baxter said. “He is bending over and spending a lot of money to be a good neighbor.”
Chelo’s has spent more than $10,000 for a new sound system and other modifications, such as sound insulation, to address complaints.
The board granted Chelo’s request to extend Sunday hours to both holidays. On those days they will be permitted to have outdoor music from noon to 4 p.m. and again from 6 to 10 p.m.
About eight people showed up to hear the review of Flanagan’s use of their outdoor deck for lunches, including Ward 3 Councilwoman Camille Vella-Wilkinson. But the bar and grill was not represented. Additionally, there were no complaints. Speaking outside the meeting, Vella-Wilkinson commended Flanagan’s for the numerous fundraisers that she said has raised $130,000 for community non-profits. She called the business a city treasure, a good neighbor and was hopeful that it continues to be successful.The board also approved the petition of Texas Road House to hold a Homes for Our Troops Bike Run Aug. 7 from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.