Norwich officials to seek plans for two Chestnut Street properties

Norwich - City officials are ready to seek new commercial development proposals for two properties on Chestnut Street that had been part of a defunct former development plan.

The city posted a request for proposals Friday on its website for the former Arruda Sign company building at 105 Chestnut St. and for a 0.3-acre vacant lot across the street at 122 Chestnut St. to be used as parking for the development.

The two derelict properties were taken by the city for back taxes and had been included as a future phase in a multi-property development plan by a Providence developer several years ago. The first two phases of that project were completed - a renovated brick tenement building at 88-98 Chestnut St. and a new 10-unit apartment building at 93-99 Chestnut St. - before the city revoked preferred developer status for future phases on the street.

H. Tucker Braddock, former alderman and current chairman of the Chestnut Street Committee of Sale, said he is hopeful the city will receive viable proposals by the Oct. 17 deadline.

"Part of the building is in pretty good shape," Braddock said. "The proposal is to get it back on the tax rolls. The opportunity is going to be there for someone to do it."

James Troeger, director of inspections for the city, said the metal frame building is structurally sound and in "great shape," although the exterior appears rundown and needs work, he said.

Despite the building's condition, the request for proposals would allow a developer to "renovate, partially demolish or totally demolish the existing structure." The committee's preference is for an owner-occupied commercial development, possibly with rental units also included in the building. Second preference would be for totally rented commercial units and then for developments that would renovate the building and seek to sell the property.

Braddock said a business incubator type development could be considered, but the 3,008-square-foot building might be too small for such a plan.

The schedule calls for developers to submit proposals, references and a $5,000 performance bond by 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 17. Bids will be opened by the Chestnut Street Committee of Sale - whose members also comprise the Board of Review of Dangerous Buildings - after the deadline in Norwich City Hall.

The Chestnut Street Committee of Sale will review the proposals and make a recommendation to the City Council by the Nov. 17 meeting. The city would transfer ownership of the properties for $1, but only after the work is completed. The developer would have one year from signing a contract to finish the project.

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