Developer buys former Friendly's in Norwich

Norwich - West Hartford-based Simon Konover Development Corp. has purchased the former Friendly's restaurant building at 620 W. Main St. for $1 million and hopes to find a new tenant for the building located adjacent to the Marcus Plaza shopping center the company also owns.

Konover purchased the Friendly's building under the name 620 West Main Street LLC for $1.05 million from 55 Wall Street Realty Inc., a New York company, according to the deed filed last week in the city land records.

"We are pleased to expand our investment and commitment in the Norwich community and look forward to attracting a new tenant to the building," said James Wakim, president and chief operating officer of The Simon Konover Co.

The former restaurant building, which sits on approximately 1 acre of land, was gutted by a fire in November 2010 and was renovated and reopened in 2011. But the restaurant was one of nine that closed suddenly on Jan. 8 of this year as part of Friendly's bankruptcy court proceedings.

The building has since sat vacant with a "for lease" sign.

The property abuts Marcus Plaza, which is owned by Norwich Realty Associates LCC, a Simon Konover-related entity. Marcus Plaza is anchored by ShopRite supermarket and T.J. Maxx department store. Several smaller stores occupy space between the two anchors, with People's United Bank at the end closest to the restaurant building.

Norwich Planning Director Peter Davis said he had brief discussions recently with a Konover representative, mainly on the traffic access to the Friendly's building. If Konover brings a new restaurant to the building, it would not need planning permits.


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