Fourteen months after announcing that it would renovate and move into an historic downtown building, La Dolce Vita pizzeria has settled into its new location.
Renee Fincher, who has owned the downtown pizzeria since 2001, made an agreement back in May of 2017 with the city of Sanford to purchase the building at 226 Carthage St. for $80,000. In exchange, she committed to investing $300,000 in building upgrades (and you can tell) and providing more than a dozen new jobs which pay at least $10.75 per hour through July of 2020.
The Rant made a visit to the restaurant on Monday. The food tastes as good as ever and the place looks great. You can view our pictures below.
The federal building was most recently home to offices for local government agencies including Lee County’s old Economic Development Corporation and Downtown Sanford, Inc. – organizations which vacated the building upon the completion of renovations at the Sanford Buggy Company. Completed in 1937, it was originally home to Sanford’s Post Office until the late 1960s. Later, it housed a variety of federal employees ranging from the draft board to agriculture agents and more. It was this function that earned the facility its moniker of “federal building,” as which it is still informally known today.
The city council had publicly mulled selling the building, which it bought in 1996 for $141,000, since February of 2016 according to this report in the Sanford Herald (subscription required).
And, before you ask, the restaurant’s website has a helpful primer on where to park – and if we can editorialize a little bit, it’s not nearly as difficult as you’re thinking – there are multiple public options for both on-street and off-street parking within less than a block. Look:
We purposefully parked in the furthest lot away from the restaurant. You might walk further trying to get to Walmart. La Dolce Vita’s new location is a great thing for downtown, and we wish them the best of luck.