Owner tears down part of Pawcatuck mill

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Stonington — The owners of the former Harris Graphics building in Pawcatuck began demolishing a small section of the sprawling mill complex this week.

Some residents expressed concern about the possible scope of the demolition of the building at 100 Mechanic St. as an excavator began tearing down the walls. Meanwhile, town officials said they were not sure of the plans for the building, as they have had little contact with its owner, Phoenix Investors of Milwaukee, Wis.

But a spokesman for Phoenix Investors said late Tuesday afternoon that an older, wooden section of the building was being taken down “for safety and aesthetic reasons” and to clean up the site, which was the firm’s intention when it acquired the building in April 2018 for $5.3 million.

The town issued building and zoning permits for the estimated $200,000 of work on March 8.

Economic Development Commission Chairman Dave Hammond said that in late 2017, his commissioned toured the mill and worked with the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation to help define the property's market potential and come up with some designs for what the building could become.

He said the trust created some conceptual drawings that depicted a restored wooden mill building, “which was identified as the most historically significant building on the property — the original mill.”

“The renderings were provided to the new owner, but again we were unsuccessful in initiating a conversation,” he said in an email.

The mill is home to businesses such as General Dynamics and Cottrell Brewing Co.

Editor's Note: This version corrects the sale price of the mill property.

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