Boynton historic landmark set to open as restaurant

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. - In Boynton Beach, an historic building was literally picked up and moved.

Now city leaders hope it's going to become a key part of bringing people to Boynton from all over South Florida.

A hammer and a nail. Finishing touches for a restaurateur planning for opening night.

Over a year ago, Boynton Beach's 1940s era Ruth Jones cottage was on wheels, being moved six blocks to downtown.

The city's economic development agency awarded restaurant veteran Chrissy Benoit the shot at making "The Little House" a big part of downtown.

"When a downtown ends up looking beautiful and drawing people in, people don't realize how much thought went into the top of the banister," said Benoit.

Benoit has invested a $100,000 of her own money.

Boynton's Community Redevelopment Agency has spent $300,000 public dollars to renovate the cottage.

"It's already, in my opinion, from a philosophical standpoint, worth it. This is the jump start of this whole area," said Boynton Beach Mayor Woodrow Hay.

Two of The Little House's new neighbors on Ocean Avenue, a men's clothing shop and a restaurant , say they've noticed business picking up since work started on the cottage.

To them, the construction work became symbolic of a recovering economy.

"We have an increase for 2012. I can tell you that. Maybe 8 or 9 percent," said Giovanni Marquez, the owner of FSB Fashion Shoppes.

"Its been a good summer. I've been really surprised," said Kim Kelly, an owner at Hurricane Alley, a restaurant.

Benoit is hopeful that her restaurant will build on that momentum and help Boynton become a draw for people and business and help Boynton become the envy of other South Florida cities.

"If we show that we have a thriving and happy business, I think it will encourage other businesses to feel comfortable. Someone has to trail blaze at some point," said Benoit.

Benoit hopes to have The Little House open on Saturday.

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