The New York group that purchased two abutting historic downtown buildings once envisioned for a heritage museum received approval this past week to create 42 apartments in the upper stories and to renovate the Main and Water street storefront spaces in what city officials hope will bring new life to lower Main Street. The Rochelle, N.Y.-based principals in New England Rose LLC purchased the two buildings at 77-91 Main St. at a tax foreclosure auction in May 2018 with plans to renovate the complex for apartments and commercial space. The project needed zoning variances, because downtown zoning regulations prohibit residential space from being located beneath commercial space. But the Main Street storefronts are really on the third floor. The city Zoning Board of Appeals approved a variance to allow second-floor apartments on Water Street.