That was the word Gayle Caldarazzo-Doty repeated Sunday evening as a stream of people admired the newly restored McGilchrist and Roth buildings, surrounded by construction lights and live jazz.
For 25 years, Caldarazzo-Doty had wanted to open an Italian market, she said. Her dream came true through the restoration of two historic buildings in downtown Salem, and in turn, the city achieved its own dream of sorts.
The re-opening of the 1916 structures, and the five businesses that will fill its commercial spaces, marks the pinnacle of downtown Salem’s revival. For years, the city’s center was plagued with prominent, but empty, storefronts. Amid a handful of new eateries and bars that have recently and will soon open, the vanilla 40,365 square foot building on coming back to life on the corner of State and Liberty streets seemed to validate the area’s comeback.
“It’s encouraging,” said Deb Grant, a 30-year Salem resident who attended Sunday’s party. “I think there’s hope that we can maintain a vibrant downtown.”
Caldarazzo-Doty and her husband, Doug Doty, purchased the buildings in February 2013, and have since invested about $7.5 million in restoring the building. The apartments in the upper level includes the couple’s own new home, which includes exposed brick walls with faded out paint from its life as the old Bligh Hotel.
Caldarazzo-Doty said she envisioned the buildings’ new era as one that fosters community — a place for people to live, eat and shop.
“We just love downtown,” she said.
South Salem High School’s culinary students catered the event, which included tours of the buildings’ nine apartment units. Several have not yet been leased. Family Building Blocks’ executive director Patrice Altenhofen volunteered as one of the tour guides Sunday.
“I just think it’s a spectacular project and Gayle is really making Salem sparkle,” she said.
Among the businesses preparing to open at the building is Archive, a cafe by day and a bar by night. When the business partners heard of the restoration project, they knew it would fit their “speakeasy-meets-library” vision, owner Jesse Hayes said.
“We want to wake Salem up and elevate the culture,” Archive’s second owner Justin Doyle said.
Caldarazzo-Doty said the building should have permanent power by Friday, and that businesses will start opening soon after that. Archive’s opening is set for Dec. 5.
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Article from Statesman Journal, by Saerom Yoo, November 16, 2014