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April 23, 2024

Fitchburg’s 147-year-old building eyed for retro arcade bar, 8 apartments

A three-story brick building in an urban area Image | Courtesy of Google Maps 347-355 Main St. in Fitchburg could soon be the site of a retro arcade bar and eight new residential units.

A Fitchburg property owner is hoping to bring new life into a disused downtown building, as the location is involved in two separate proposals to see it host a new retro arcade bar and eight residential units. 

Paul Tocci, owner of 347-355 Main St., is proposing to renovate the building to feature two commercial spaces on the ground floor and four residentials units on both the second and third floors. Plans call for the construction of four two-bedroom units and four one-bedroom units, according to documents submitted to the Fitchburg Planning Board.

The project will require a special permit to waive lot density and buffer requirements and to allow for more than six residential units to be constructed. 

The three-story brick building at 347-355 Main St. was built in 1877, according to City of Fitchburg property records. The building was given a tax assessment value of $307,600 for 2024. 

Tocci owns several nearby properties, including 298-300 Main St. and 359-361 Main St.

A separate proposal submitted by Joshua Rife of Leominster would see a 80s and 90s retro arcade bar occupy one of the two ground floor commercial spaces. The venue, dubbed Level-1 Arcade Bar, would feature more than 25 classic arcade cabinets, such as Dance Dance Revolution, as well as shooting games, driving simulators, and pinball machines, according to planning board documents. The bar will feature novelty cocktails inspired by retro video games, with food being catered by local businesses, rather than being prepared on-site. 

“Level-1 Retro Arcade bar will provide a much-needed entertainment space in an area with few alternatives other than restaurants or dive bars,” reads a summary of the proposal submitted to the City. “This retro barcade provides a nostalgic atmosphere reminiscent of the 80s and 90s culture.”

Games will be free to play, with patrons charged a cover fee to enter the venue. The bar plans on opening from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. every day. It will be a 21+ venue, with the exception of 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays, which will be open to families. The bar plans on hosting parties and corporate events.

Level-1 plans on opening in September, according to its Facebook page. 

Both proposals are in front of the Fitchburg Planning Board for review during its Tuesday night meeting. 

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April 25, 2024

So cool!

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