Mortgage holder's bid retains Norwich building

Norwich - A mortgage holder on a three-story commercial building at 59-61 Broadway outbid three others in a tax foreclosure auction Saturday, with a bid of $86,000.

Attorney Robert Cohen of Bristol bid on behalf of his brother, Edward Cohen, to protect a $50,000 mortgage plus interest on the property that brought the total to more than $63,000.

The city started the bidding at the 15-minute auction with an opening bid of $36,860 to cover back taxes, interest and fees owed to court-appointed auction Committee of Sale John T. Asselin.

Bidding rose quickly with downtown businessman Scott Capano, whose family owns the nearby Harp & Dragon Irish pub on Main Street and other downtown buildings, and Alderman H. Tucker Braddock. Robert Cohen started bidding when the price reached $60,000 and he and Capano continued bidding until Capano dropped out at Cohen's winning bid of $86,000.

Asselin said the bid will be submitted to New London Superior Court by Wednesday for approval. If the judge approves the sale, then parties in the foreclosure, former owner Bishop Taylor and mortgage holders Cohen and Howard Goldstein would have 20 days to file an appeal, Asselin said.

If no appeals are filed, the closing would be held within 21 to 30 days after the judge approves the sale.

Robert Cohen said his brother has a few possible plans for the building, including one potential commercial tenant. He also might seek downtown revitalization funds to renovate the building for occupation or resale.

The building, the original home of New London County Mutual Insurance Co., now is strewn with more broken office furniture, an old TV and a desktop computer. Paint was peeling from the walls and ceilings.

Once the taxes are paid, the building would qualify for three downtown revitalization programs approved by voters in 2010, including matching grants for structural and building code upgrades, a revolving loan program and lease rebates for qualifying tenants.

c.bessette@theday.com

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