Central Hall building developers clear new hurdle

Groton — The Town Council on Wednesday unanimously approved the drafting of a new lease agreement with developers of the Central Hall building in downtown Mystic that would allow them to use town-owned property on Gravel Street for parking and installation of an underground propane tank.

The approval comes despite a negative recommendation from the town’s Planning Commission last month. The commission had already approved a site plan but cited concerns about liability and the precedent of using public land for private use.

Ken Navarro, a principal with Historic Mystic LLC, said the group continues to meet conditions set by the Planning Commission, which are required before the site plan can be registered.

Construction on the proposed four-story structure with retail and residential components would start once commitments are secured for the retail spaces, he said. The building would replace the row of retail shops destroyed by fire in 2000.

A green wooden fence that had blocked the view of the remains of the former Central Hall block building stood at the site for a decade before it fell last week as Hurricane Sandy passed through the state.

— Greg Smith

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