Lowell restaurant owner bullish on downtown's future

By Christopher Scott, cscott@lowellsun.com
Updated:   02/08/2017 02:44:13 PM EST

LOWELL -- Athenian Corner Restaurant owner Teddy Panos isn't just saying he's bullish on the future of the downtown -- he's about to prove it.

Next month Panos will put before city regulatory boards a plan to dramatically make-over the property at 207 Market St. that his family has owned for more than four decades.

Panos briefly discussed what's on the drawing board during the latest episode of Sun Spot -- the newspaper's contribution to the Lowell Telecommunication Corp.'s weekly news magazine, LTC News -- before talking in more general terms about why he's excited about the downtown.

The show airs every Thursday at 6 p.m. on LTC Channels 8 and 99.

Panos made one thing perfectly clear: the new development will, of course, be built around the restaurant that has developed a loyal following. Because the precise scope of the project may change over the course of the next few weeks, Panos declined to discuss specifics about what else is planned, other than to say it will be mixed use.

Panos and his family have envisioned redeveloping the property since 2003, but for several reasons -- including the 2008 economic downtown -- the project never moved forward.

Panos doesn't have to look far to know the timing might never be better: the $220 million Lowell Judicial Center; the $50 million Thorndike Exchange; Dave Daly's high-end apartment/condo project on East Merrimack Street, coming in at $30 million.

Panos also highlighted positive economic spin-offs from UMass Lowell, Middlesex Community College, the Lowell National Historical Park and the Merrimack Repertory Theater.

"This is the most optimistic I've been about the downtown in two decades," Panos said.

The 30-minute show is anchored by LTC volunteer Alexander Gentile and features other local content. It is rebroadcast at different times during the upcoming week. Check the LTC website for times and channels.

Follow Scott on Twitter @cscottlowellsun.

Read more: http://www.lowellsun.com/breakingnews/ci_30782322/lowell-restaurant-owner-bullish-downtowns-future#ixzz4bEwIaXmQ