52 affordable housing units proposed for Pawcatuck site

Stonington - An Iowa company is negotiating to buy the dilapidated Campbell Grain Building in downtown Pawcatuck so it can tear it down and build up to 52 units of affordable housing for seniors, according to First Selectmen Ed Haberek.

Haberek said that Newbury Development is finalizing an agreement with the owner of the Coggswell Street property, Frank Deciantis, who has been cited by the town for failing to properly maintain the building.

Haberek said the project would not only provide tax revenue for the town, but help continue the revitalization of downtown Pawcatuck and provide much needed affordable housing for seniors, two of the main initiatives of his administration.

In addition, it would eliminate a building that town officials say poses a fire and safety hazard.

Haberek said the project would be within walking distance of shopping, banking and other services and would bring more people into the downtown area.

He called the project, which would be bordered by the Pawcatuck River, "a beautiful concept."

"This would be fantastic. I've been trying for years to get more affordable senior housing in town," he said.

Haberek said that in July he had been contacted by Newbury president Frank Levy, who was looking for a site in Stonington for a project and had heard about Haberek's unsuccessful effort to get an affordable senior project built behind Mystic Middle School. In November, he and Levy met and toured the downtown.

Haberek said Newbury is also talking to the state of Connecticut about obtaining housing tax credits for the project.

Newbury is currently developing a 55-plus active adult community in Westerly called Winnipaug Cottages where units start at $565,000. The company has also developed upscale retirement communities in Iowa. Levy could not be reached for comment Thursday.

j.wojtas@theday.com

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