"When the deal with [Bill] Stenger fell through, we thought it was never going to happen," said Ruth Sproull of Newport.
It's a new breath of life for downtown Newport, as one of the state's largest real estate firms says it will be investing in a new waterfront walking path, establishing a new boardwalk for the public and boating access at a dock. It will be built behind a current Pomerleau property. Vista Foods, one of the tenants, will also receive a major facelift.
"We're going to renovate the exterior, spend a lot of money on it. They're going to renovate the interior and draw customers that have been drawn away by Wal-Mart," said Ernie Pomerleau, the president of Pomerleau Real Estate.
The big-box store opened just a few months ago in nearby Derby but Pomerleau says it has already put pressure on local businesses.
Part of their new public-private effort includes a state boost-- over $100,000 in grants-- to be spread to multiple downtown businesses, including Vista.