Norwich Reid & Hughes developer secures funds, seeks 30-day extension

The boarded-up Reid & Hughes building on Main Street in Norwich is seen Jan. 30, 2017.  (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)
The boarded-up Reid & Hughes building on Main Street in Norwich is seen Jan. 30, 2017. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)

Norwich — The developer with plans to renovate the long-vacant Reid & Hughes building into apartments and commercial space has secured financing for the necessary temporary stabilization of the building, but will ask the City Council on Monday for a 30-day extension of that work to seek grant funding.

The city reached an agreement with the Women’s Institute for Housing and Economic Development in August for the group’s proposed $6 million renovation of the Main Street building into 20 apartments. The agreement gave the institute 90 days to secure a funding source for the estimated $500,000 needed to shore up the decaying building temporarily while the group seeks major financing for the entire renovation project.

Institute has secured a $50,000 forgivable loan and a $450,000 loan from the Local Initiative Support Corp. for the stabilization work. But on Nov. 22, the institute contacted City Manager John Salomone to request a 30-day extension in the city’s development agreement for the stabilization work “to continue to explore the possibility of a greater portion of the financing” coming in the form of a grant from other sources.

Institute officials offered to meet with the City Council during the 30-day extension period to discuss the project.

Monday’s 7:30 p.m. council meeting is the final meeting of the current council before the newly elected members are sworn in on Tuesday. The current council — with four members, including Mayor-elect Peter Nystrom, returning — will be asked to approve the 30-day extension Monday.

Part of that resolution calls for the Women’s Institute to meet with the new council on Dec. 18 to discuss the status of the project.

The Women’s Institute was the lone bidder for the Reid & Hughes renovation project last spring. The group had proposed its project a year ago, when the council was considering tearing down the historical former department store. The state Historic Preservation Council last December voted unanimously to reject the city’s request to demolish the building, action that led the city to seek formal development proposals.

c.bessette@theday.com

Officials tour the interior of the Reid & Hughes Building in Norwich on Oct. 13, 2016. (Tim Martin/The Day)
Officials tour the interior of the Reid & Hughes Building in Norwich on Oct. 13, 2016. (Tim Martin/The Day)
State architectural historian Todd Levine tours the interior of the Reid and Hughes Building in Norwich on Oct. 13, 2016. (Tim Martin/The Day)
State architectural historian Todd Levine tours the interior of the Reid and Hughes Building in Norwich on Oct. 13, 2016. (Tim Martin/The Day)

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