N.Y. developer bids $500K for Norwich Main Street buildings at tax foreclosure auction

Norwich — The large two-building complex at 77-91 Main St., proposed as a heritage museum 20 years ago, sold for $500,000 Saturday at a tax foreclosure auction that featured several minutes of rapidly rising competitive bids between two interested parties.

The bidding started with the city’s minimum price of $134,971.62 to cover back taxes, interest and legal fees. Two bidders, at first unidentified, took over from there, starting at $150,000 and ending with the $500,000 bid offered by Bedford, N.Y., real estate developer Mirash Dedvukaj.

“That’s it,” the second bidder said, indicating he wouldn’t top the price. He had bid $450,000 before Dedvukaj offered his top bid. A third potential bidder arrived too late and said he was stuck in traffic.

Attorney James Young, appointed by New London Superior Court to conduct the auction, told bidders the sale is subject to court approval, and the balance after the minimum deposit of $31,000 paid Saturday would be due 30 days after court approval. The case is on the court calendar for Monday.

The two five-story buildings that front on both Main and Water streets were appraised for a total value of $288,000 in late April.

In addition to the city’s debt, mortgage holder Chelsea Properties LLC, headed by North Haven developer Eugene Singer, has two mortgages on the property totaling a combined $1.2 million.

“I want to renovate it and make it unique to the town,” Dedvukaj said after the bidding concluded.

He said the buildings would be renovated for housing and commercial development. He said he would attempt to negotiate new leases with the three current business tenants, Ice & Fire Asian Cuisine on Main Street and Sunlight Foot Spa and JC Image Hair Salon on the Water Street first floor on the opposite side. “Tenants are always welcome,” Dedvukaj said.

Dedvukaj said he heard about the auction from a friend. He does not currently own any properties in eastern Connecticut.

The upper stories are vacant and unfinished. Appraiser Howard Russ of Riess Appraisal Co. of Norwich wrote in his appraisal that only 20 percent of the street-level space is renovated and usable. The remaining 80 percent of the combined 38,434 total square feet is gutted, but not renovated. There’s an elevator shaft but no elevator, and a second stairway is needed, Russ wrote.

The buildings were proposed as the Norwich Heritage Discovery Center in the 1990s and early 2000s. The group received a $1 million grant from the state Department of Economic and Community Development and $800,000 from the city for structural repairs to the dilapidated buildings but fundraising to develop the museum never materialized.

In 2009, DJ Norwich Enterprises, then headed by Norwich developer Janny Lam, took ownership and renovated several storefront spaces for restaurants and small shops. State business records show DJ Norwich Enterprises headed by LLC President Henry Shen and members Chu Ling-Chiao Shen and Chen-Ping Shen, all of Flushing, N.Y.

The Norwich Community Development Corp., the city’s economic development agency, had rented street-level space in the 77 Main St. portion of the building before moving to its new Foundry 66 facility at 66 Franklin St. in October 2016.

c.bessette@theday.com

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