MERIDEN — The owner of the Silver City Convenience Store and Deli has added to his downtown holdings with the purchase of the former Noiise sports bar on Lewis Avenue.
Mourad Mourabit, of Berlin, bought the former nightclub from Ada Vega for $80,000 in January. It closed after an April 2016 shooting that injured three people and remained vacant for two years.
The City Council Thursday approved selling Mourabit the 4,000 square foot lot at 143 Lewis Ave., next to the former bar, for a parking lot. Mourabit will pay $6,500, and the property transfer requires that Mourabit combine the properties 143 and 151 Lewis Ave. and work with the city Planning Department to create a modified site plan, according to Economic Development Director Juliet Burdelski.
“He has committed to doing so if the council agrees to transfer the property,” Burdelski said. “He plans to convert the existing building into a commercial/retail establishment, not a nightclub or bar. This (transfer) proposal is a win-win for the city in that it helps a local business improve their property while converting a tax exempt property to taxable.”
Before he finalizes plans for 151 Lewis Ave., Mourabit wants to complete his renovation at 29 Pratt St., where he rehabbed a former dilapidated commercial/residential building into a storefront and two apartments on the second and third floors overlooking the Meriden Green. He thinks it would make a great spot for an ice cream shop, bakery or pizza shop.
“The city is helping me,” Mourabit said. “We’re working together closely to improve the (Lewis Avenue) area like we did on Pratt Street.”
Mourabit has worked with Burdelski’s office to improve his downtown properties and has sought assistance through the Meriden Match program that offers up to $20,000 for building improvements.
“We have a nice pipeline…, like Mourad, who are interested in the Meriden Match facade improvement program which is good to see,” said David Cooley director of Making Meriden Business Center.
It isn’t the first time the city has made a deal with Mourabit for strips of vacant land.
A year ago, the city sold Mourabit a vacant East Main Street lot for $2,500 that he wanted for possible expansion on his convenience store and restaurant. A year earlier the city sold him a lot facing Pratt Street for $2,500 for use as a patio.
The added lot will further expand his options for development, he said. Mourabit also plans to renovate his convenience store into more of a restaurant-style business and has added soul food to his deli menu.
The patio would provide a place for customers to enjoy a meal with a view overlooking the Meriden Green.