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Waterford - The vacant nursing home at 171 Rope Ferry Road that Stonington Institute wanted to convert to a residence for recovering substance abuse patients has been sold for $450,000 to a limited liability corporation that plans to turn it into elderly housing.
A company calling itself 171 Rope Ferry Road LLC has purchased the former nursing home property, which is assessed at $1.4 million. The new company's address is 1500 Boston Post Road in Old Saybrook.
At that address is the Heritage Motor Inn. Joseph A. Barbieri, who identified himself Tuesday as a "helper" at the inn, would not say who is the principal of 171 Rope Ferry Road LLC but that the person is "high-profile" in Connecticut.
He said the old nursing home in Waterford has been cleaned up.
"The neighbors are very pleased," Barbieri said. "It looked like a jungle and now it is in good shape."
He said the owners plan to work with the town to determine the final project.
Gunar Murtishi, identified in mortgage documents as a member of the company, signed the $1.5 million mortgage from Westbrook-based Lend More LLC. Michael Dattilo is listed as one of the principals at Lend More LLC, and is also the principal at Water's Edge Resort LLC in Westbrook, according to the secretary of the state's commercial recording division. Water's Edge Resort & Spa is a luxury hotel and conference center that has 101 guest rooms and suites and 68 villas, according to its website.
Murtishi and Old Saybrook attorney Edward M. Cassella are listed as guarantors of the mortgage note.
Stonington Institute had wanted to turn the nursing home into a sober living facility for 144 men. The Waterford Zoning Board of Appeals denied Stonington Institute's proposal, saying it did not have the authority to create a new zoning category.
Stonington Institute wanted a variance to the former nursing home property in order for the sober living facility to operate in a residential zone. After the denial, the institute had 15 days to file an appeal in federal court, but no appeal was filed, according to electronic records.
At the zoning board's meeting in May, Chairman E. Peter Bendfelt said federal law says the board must give "reasonable" consideration to the proposal and that a 144-person facility was not reasonable.
ZBA member Catherine Newlin said she thought there were other options for the former nursing home property.
The property at 171 Rope Ferry Road has been vacant for two years.