Massachusetts developer purchases historical bank building in Norwich

A Cape Cod developer has purchased the former People's Bank and Norwich Savings Society building at the corner of Main Street and Broadway and plans to market the property for commercial tenants. (Photo courtesy of O,R&L Commercial LLC)
A Cape Cod developer has purchased the former People's Bank and Norwich Savings Society building at the corner of Main Street and Broadway and plans to market the property for commercial tenants. (Photo courtesy of O,R&L Commercial LLC)

Norwich — A Cape Cod developer has purchased the granite building formerly housing People's Bank and Norwich Savings Society at the corner of Main Street and Broadway with plans to market the property for commercial tenants.

Kris Mahabir of Falmouth, Mass., purchased the building under the firm name Trinicap Properties LLC for $375,000 from People's United Bank N.A. The purchase includes the historical 1895 granite corner building, a modern addition on Main Street, a parking lot behind the complex on Church Street and a small, fenced-off vacant lot on Broadway.

The building is appraised at $1.1 million on the city tax records and assessed for $792,400.

Mahabir said Wednesday that because he was able to purchase the property at such a “competitive” price, he plans to pass along the savings to future tenants, promising to offer “the lowest cost space in the area.”

Mahabir has hired Pequot Commercial to market the building to commercial tenants. He said the building, which has been vacant since People's closed the downtown branch in 2013, obviously would be ideal for a bank branch, since the facilities still are in place. But the building also could house offices or a coffee shop.

“Any bank not currently active in Norwich would be an easy fit,” Mahabir said.

He added that state agencies looking for affordable rent under the state's current fiscal constraints also would have plenty of parking at the building.

And he thinks a street-level cafe would be “a great idea.” But Mahabir is concerned that bringing a restaurant to the building would trigger a zoning change of use that would mandate potentially difficult building upgrades, such as sprinklers, in the historical building.

Mahabir said he was not aware of the downtown revitalization stimulus funding available through the Norwich Community Development Corp., but someone did mention that lease rebates offered in the program could help attract tenants.

NCDC President Robert Mills said he will meet with Mahabir next week to discuss his purchase and possible plans for the building.

“He was enamored with the building and the location and said he would take a risk in investing in downtown Norwich,” Mills said.

City Manager John Salomone welcomed the purchase Wednesday and also looks forward to meeting with Mahabir.

“We're excited that it was purchased, and we're anxious to work with the owner to create a useful and interesting business in the center of the city.”

Pequot Commercial real estate agent Steve Becker said he will emphasize the quality and affordability of the space to potential tenants.

“We're looking for whoever might want to be downtown,” Becker said. “It's professional space, downtown space, inexpensive office space, because he purchased the building at a very competitive price.”

O,R&L Commercial LLC of Branford brokered the sale for People's United, calling the property a “grand former bank building with its ornate lobby and Gothic architecture.”

c.bessette@theday.com

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