MASSENA ? Downtown?s newest entrepreneur will be tending to village affairs by day and serving up draft beer at night.
Mayor James F. Hidy will be the new manager of the renovated Hotel Nadeau, 43 Andrews St.
A group of investors, including Paul L. Post, owner of Paul Post Realty, Paul Morrow, CEO of SkinStitch Corp., and town Supervisor Joseph D. Gray recently purchased the downtown institution.
Crews have been working on installing a new bar and making other improvements throughout October. On Facebook, the group is marketing the bar as ?Hotel Nadeau: A Downtown Massena Tradition Since 1928.? Nadeau?s is set to reopen the week of Thanksgiving, Mr. Hidy said.
?It?s taking on a face-lift that hasn?t been done in 40 years,? Mr. Hidy said. ?We?re looking at it being the premier bar in the north country.?
Part of the structure traces its roots to a mid-19th century schoolhouse and could be the oldest business building in Massena, according to ?Images of America: Massena? by Teresa S. Sharp and David E. Martin. Thomas Nadeau bought it in 1928 and converted it into apartments, and later a bar.
?I think it?s the oldest continuously operating bar in St. Lawrence County,? Mr. Hidy said.
Nadeau?s was a favorite stop for Mr. Hidy as a young adult, he said.
?There?s not anyone that hasn?t been touched by Nadeau?s,? Mr. Hidy said. ?This was the ?Cheers? of Massena for a number of years.?
Mr. Hidy approached Mr. Morrow with the idea of purchasing Nadeau?s last summer after it had been listed on the market.
?Paul?s been very generous in helping to restore what is a Massena icon, with the help of Joe Gray and Paul Post,? Mr. Hidy said.
The bar will begin offering a light menu of sandwiches, nachos, chicken wings and pizza. Mr. Hidy is targeting the ?23 and over? age group and intends to carve out a niche among downtown?s bars.
?We?re going to play the oldies, the nostalgia music people were comfortable with back in the day,? Mr. Hidy said. ?It?ll fill the niche of people our age group.?
A staff of five to 10 waiters, waitresses, cooks and bartenders will be hired. Mr. Hidy said he plans to regularly tend bar and work at Nadeau?s outside of his mayoral duties.
His new home will help him do that. Mr. Hidy and his family moved into the apartment above the bar. He now lives across from Veterans Memorial Park and the Massena Fire Department.
?I think the firemen purposely blast their sirens to wake me up,? he said. ?If they should be out of bed, so should the mayor.?
The move puts him a stone?s throw away from the mayor?s office on Main Street.
?I take the subway to work,? Mr. Hidy joked. ?I?ve been walking all over now. It?s convenient. I?m a couple hundred yards from everything.?
Mr. Post said he was glad to bring Nadeau?s back to life. He also expects to see a return on his investment.
?Personally, I?d hate to see another hole in our downtown,? he said. ?It represents Massena. It has for a long time. I?d like to see it come back.?