2018-08-23 / News

Empty bank site again rumored to become restaurant


The former Bank of America building at 29 Narragansett Ave. has been vacant since April 2011. PHOTO BY ANDREA VON HOHENLEITEN The former Bank of America building at 29 Narragansett Ave. has been vacant since April 2011. PHOTO BY ANDREA VON HOHENLEITEN Whether a new restaurant is coming to the vacant Bank of America building on Narragansett Avenue depends on the source.

Alex & Ani founder Carolyn Rafaelian, who bought the downtown property in March 2014 for $650,000, owns the building that been vacant since the bank closed in April 2011.

Kate Richard, senior vice president for branding at Alex & Ani, told the Newport City Council last month that Rafaelian planned to open Bar and Board locations in Newport, Providence, Wickford and Jamestown, according to the Newport Daily News.

While the Newport site is expected to open this month and Providence is listed on the restaurant’s website, the other two locales are not mentioned.

Richard did not return several calls seeking comment, but Shahin Barzin, Rafaelian’s Jamestown based architect, said it’s premature to discuss a Bar and Board in town.

“That is not confirmed so I don’t want to start any unconfirmed stories,” he said. “The other ones are on drawing boards right now.”

Because there is no timetable for a Jamestown site, Barzin did not want to speculate.

“Right now, we’re looking at all options to see what’s the best strategy,” he said.

The Newport location on Thames Street, which will serve locally sourced foods, will be open for fine dining during breakfast, lunch and dinner, according to the website.

This is the second potential eatery at the former bank at 29 Narragansett Ave. discussed by Rafaelian, an East Shore Road resident. In April 2016, the town approved expanded utility service. At that time, the application proposed a takeout commissary that would sell prepackaged sandwiches and salads. The plans never progressed from there.

Return to top