Five neighboring properties in downtown Johnstown will soon be combined to create the new Balance Main Street Plaza.
Amanda Artim and Mike Artim, already the owners of Balance Restaurant and Mission Inn Event Space on the 400 block of Main Street, have purchased three other lots on that block.
When completed in about two years, the plaza will include a new casual dining restaurant, an outdoor courtyard, a cigar bar, apartments, a banquet hall and Airbnb rentals, according to plans.
Phase one – a casual dining restaurant in the Vault, a former bank that was most recently a salon and spa, and an adjacent courtyard – is scheduled to be completed and opened around November.
“It’s honestly one of those things that you can only dream of,” Amanda Artim said. “You think about how hard you work and the effort that you put in. It’s something that we’re going to provide such a unique destination spot, which is the coolest thing, I think. People will, I believe, come from all around to experience all the different elements, which is the most important part of the project.”
The buildings, located on the same block as City Hall, are steeped in history, including connections to the city’s historic floods, the bygone heyday of the steel era and the local mob that was written about in author Russell Shorto’s recent book “Smalltime.”
“For me, it’s all about the history of the properties,” said Mike Artim, president of Intrignia Inc., which bought the properties. “I love Mission Inn and the fact that it dates back to 1867 and survived the (1889) flood. We’ve been able to expose that architecture. That’s terrific.
“There’s a lot of history in the office building next door, with the book ‘Smalltime’ and the role it played in the city, which has an interesting and checkered past. The Vault building has always been a classic – built in 1919. That bank is a beautiful building.”
Balance Restaurant opened in March 2018, followed by the Mission Inn Event Space, which started operations in early 2020, right around the time the COVID-19 pandemic started.
The $1.2 million expansion is being funded through Bridgeway Capital, an investment organization that supports small businesses, and the City of Johnstown.
“It’s the investment in downtown and all of the people that are working to make downtown come back,” Mike Artim said. “We’re just excited to be part of the story, and we decided this is where we’re going to invest. We’re going to continue investing in downtown. We think there’s so much potential here. To tie the future and the past is what we like to do.”