Log In

Reset Password
  • MENU
    Local News
    Monday, May 29, 2023

    Norwich receives environmental assessment grant for Ponemah Mill building

    Norwich – The city has received a $200,000 state grant to study contamination at the second building in the historic Ponemah Mill complex in Taftville.

    The 5.5-acre site is at 555-559 Norwich Ave., the building that once housed Central Sports retail store. The building is owned by a subsidiary of Onekey LLC, the developer renovating the largest mill building in the complex as part of a $62 million project to create 237 apartments.

    The first phase, a $30 million project, received a certificate of occupancy from the Norwich Building Department Friday allowing occupancy of all 116 apartments, common areas and the tenant recreational facilities in a rear building at the complex. Onekey spokesman Louis Kaufman said the first tenants should be moving in imminently.

    Construction on the second phase, the northern half of the giant building, where another 121 apartments are being created as part of a $32 million project, should begin in January and be completed in about 18 months.

    Mayor Deberey Hinchey said she was excited to learn about the new grant Monday to keep the Ponemah renovation project going.

    City Planner Deanna Rhodes said Onekey asked the city to apply for the environmental assessment grant for the central building and grounds as a prelude to possible future development. The building is owned under the name 555 South Mill LLC. No specific development plans have been submitted, but Onekey officials have said they would like to promote commercial development in the building. 

    Kaufman said the developers want to see results of a marketing study before committing to specific plans. Ideas include a possible grocery, a commercial kitchen incubator and perhaps a trade school.

    Kaufman thanked Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who announced the grants at a press conference Monday, and city officials for supporting the grant application. He said Norwich officials at City Hall and the Norwich Community Development Corp. have encouraged commercial development in the center building, and the developers hope to comply.

    "The city of Norwich, (NCDC President) Bob Mills and Mayor Hinchey have been trying to promote that space for commercial purposes for a while now," Kaufman said. "I think the state (approving the grant) is another recognition that the Taftville area will grow. Bob Mills, Mayor Hinchey, the City Council have all been focused on that. And of course, they have a willing partner with us."

    Malloy on Monday announced $13.6 million in state funding to 14 municipalities across the state for assessment, remediation and revitalization of blighted properties. Norwich was the only southeastern Connecticut recipient.

    “These kinds of properties that have been vacant for decades are causing blight in neighborhoods, draining local resources, and having a negative impact on towns and cities,” Malloy said in a press release. “We can add value in our communities by making smart investments that repurpose these properties, resulting in a boost for local economies and spurring growth and private investments.”


    Comment threads are monitored for 48 hours after publication and then closed.