Whaler's Inn buys John's Cafe building, is exploring options for site

A crowd gathers at John's Mystic River Tavern on Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017.  After 50 years in business, the popular bar closed its doors for the final time. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)
A crowd gathers at John's Mystic River Tavern on Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017. After 50 years in business, the popular bar closed its doors for the final time. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)

Mystic — The Whaler's Inn has purchased the adjacent building at 9 Cottrell St., the former site of John's Mystic River Tavern.

While a sign on the window of John's reads "Closed for Renovations," a decision on what to do with the building is pending, according to a Whaler's Inn official.

"At this point, we are working on plans but nothing is set in stone and we are still exploring our options," Assistant General Manager Amy Munoz said on Monday.

According to Stonington town records, Mystic River Real Estate, LLC, managed by Tim Murray, sold the property to Whaler's Inn 9 Cottrell LLC for $900,000. The warranty deed was recorded with the town on Dec. 20.

Mystic River Real Estate had owned John's since late 2005, when original owners John and Mary Lowe sold it for $535,000.

John's announced in December that it would close after 50 years in business, as the building had been sold.

Realtor Greg Broadbent said that prior to the recent sale, 9 Cottrell St. had been on the market for about 100 days.

Whaler's Inn management has not made any large decisions on what can happen at the site and is waiting for information from contractors, engineers and architects, Munoz said. The Whaler's Inn will likely have to obtain approvals from the Stonington Planning and Zoning Commission for a new use. 

"It's really going to depend on what we're allowed to do over there," Munoz said.

She added that Whaler's Inn is at least six months out from an announcement on the use.

The sale follows other news in recent months of Whaler's Inn expansion. The inn announced in late November that the Bravo, Bravo restaurant will remain on its ground floor through 2018, and then the inn will use the space for its own restaurant. Bravo, Bravo will move across East Main Street to a building it will construct on a vacant lot there.  

The inn will also be turning its current lobby into a library and putting a new lobby where the jewelry store Mallove's in Mystic has operated. Mallove's is moving to where Puffins has been located, and Puffins is moving to 44 Washington St.

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