The troubled bar closed after the former building owner failed to make mortgage payments and fell into foreclosure, ending O’Malley’s 20-year run. The business had changed hands at least four times during a six-year period and had fallen in status from a popular community pub to a sometimes rough and tumble crowd.
While the new owner Ron Holehouse doesn’t yet know what business might occupy the space, he plans to restore the building, keeping much of its original structure.
“I like the building. I believe in the historical integrity of it,” Holehouse said. “I believe in Waynesville, and I believe in the core of Main Street.”
When asked if the Main Street building would once again house a bar, Holehouse said he planned to lease the building and therefore didn’t know what type of business would move in, but it would be a restaurant before a bar.
“Probably more food service with a bar than a bar with food service. But, it could be anything,” Holehouse said. “I hope to do something very nice.
The St. Pete Beach, Fla., resident purchased the three-story building with more than 5,000-square-foot for $260,000 — more than $100,000 less than the asking price.
Jason Burke, a Realtor at Whitney Commercial Real Estate in Asheville, said he was surprised that someone bought the property without a renter lined up for the main floor but believed that was not a problem.
“The income should be solid,” Burke said. “It’s an investor who has the money.”
In total, the purchase includes not only the shell of O’Malley’s but also an upstairs apartment and basement. Holehouse plans to redo the apartment first while drumming up possible tenants for the main floor.
He has already been talking with Buffy Phillips, head of the Downtown Waynesville Association, to see what niche he could fill.
“It is great to see that somebody has purchased it with what sounds like great ideas,” Phillips said.
Although he declined to say whom, Holehouse stated that he was already in conversation with a few different restaurants.
Holehouse, who has a house in Waynesville, owns several residential properties in the county in addition to the newly acquired O’Malley’s. He splits his time between Western North Carolina and St. Pete Beach, where his insurance business is located.
The downtown business shuffle
The sale of O’Malley’s On Main Pub and Grill is not the only change to Waynesville’s business community as of late.
Nico’s Café on Montgomery Street moved from its downtown Waynesville location to the Waynesville Plaza on Russ Avenue. The change has given the business more space for both its kitchen and dining areas. The new building also includes a drive-thru.
Buffy Phillips, head of the Downtown Waynesville Association, said she is glad Nico’s will continue to operate in town but lamented their departure from the Main Street area.
“They were different. They weren’t just another sandwich plate,” Phillips said.
However, another business plans to open downtown any day now. The owners of Bocelli’s Italian Eatery on Haywood Street are opening a sports bar next door called Pub 319.
The bar will add its name to Waynesville’s downtown bar scene, which already includes Tipping Point Brewing, The Gateway Club, The Classic Wine Seller, Frog’s Leap and Frog Level Brewing.