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The Boston Globe, by Alix Roy

Restaurant Newcomer Helps Medford Move Forward with Parking Garage

February 26, 2010

A newcomer to the Medford business community has helped the city secure funding for a new parking garage, Mayor Michael McGlynn announced on Thursday.

Salvatore’s Restaurant isn’t slated to open for another four months but owner Sal Lupoli wasted no time partnering with city officials to secure an $8,000 state grant to fund the design phase of a new parking facility.

“With this parking garage we’ll be able to bring other people in to your community from other communities,” Lupoli said at a press conference on Thursday.

The grant, funded by the Massachusetts Opportunity Relocation and Expansion (MORE) Jobs Program, is awarded to municipalities undertaking public infrastructure improvements to support business expansion. To be eligible, projects must result in the creation of 100 permanent jobs within 24 month of completion. Salvatore’s will provide 50 new jobs on its own, Lupoli said.

The grant money will be used to fund a feasibility study for a new parking facility to be built on the site of the former Governor’s Avenue garage. The new structure will likely provide more parking spaces than its predecessor, which was torn down in 2005 after it was deemed structurally unsound.

The Massachusetts Development Finance Agency will oversee the study’s competition and assist the city in hiring a project manager and architect and developing a financing plan for actual construction. The feasibility phase should be completed by summer, McGlynn said.

In the meantime, Lupoli is moving forward with construction on his 4,950 square-foot restaurant, located at 55 High Street, which will serve upscale but affordable Italian cuisine with takeout options for the lunch crowd. Luppoli is spending $1 million to renovate the space, formerly occupied by Century Bank and the Medford Transcript, while retaining unique aspects such as the vault, which will be used as a private function room. The main dining area will seat about 140 people, he said.

Lupoli’s decision to open up shop in Medford was contingent upon the city’s willingness to pursue a parking facility downtown, he said. Once the process began, Lupoli signed a 25-year lease agreement with property owner Christopher Senna, whose family has struggled to rent the space since purchasing it several years ago.

“Given these financial times we’ve had very few calls about available retail space,” said Senna, who also owns residential property in Medford. “We’ve been working to try to find something that would be a plus for the community.”

According to McGlynn, Lupoli fits the bill.

“He brings the energy and excitement to the community,” he said. “I think there’s a lot of future opportunity here.”

© Copyright 2010 The Boston Globe.