A plan to build an Ion Bank branch and two retail storefronts at the former site of Renaldo's Pizza is good news for that prominent Route 10 location in Southington. It may also be a positive sign that there will be post-pandemic prosperity.
Since the pizza restaurant was damaged in a fire in 2016, the property at 378 N. Main St. has been vacant. While Renaldo’s relocated to Queen Street, the old location turned into an eyesore, according to Economic Development Coordinator Lou Perillo, who spoke with Record-Journal reporter Devin Leith-Yessian about the situation.
Perillo said, “We’re extremely pleased to learn that a brick and mortar bank is coming into our market.”
The Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission has already approved a site plan for the project and now the project has progressed to the Planning and Zoning Commission. The new development would replace two existing buildings on the site with a 4,000 square foot building. The bank would take up half that space and face the street with two retail storefronts behind it.
Perillo offered insight into why he feels the Ion Bank plan, while welcome on its own merits, has much wider implications.
“There's a multiplier effect with new construction and usually banks build a higher per square foot cost building, so it's something that generally kind of ups the game if you will and puts more pressure on like businesses to kind of dress up their place as well,” Perillo said.
Given the pandemic and the disruptions the banking industry was facing already, Perillo said Ion Bank’s decision to build a new branch in town shows its confidence in the local economy.
Ion Bank, based in Naugatuck, has 20 locations in the state. This new branch office will be its first foray into Southington.
Turning an eyesore into an economic driver is a scenario that deservedly gives rise to optimism. Even a rough spot has potential and change is possible.