Owner completes demolition of Campbell Grain building in Pawcatuck

The remains of the former Campbell Grain Building in Pawcatuck lie in piles Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018, after its owner decided to complete the long-stalled demolition project. (Joe Wojtas/The Day)
The remains of the former Campbell Grain Building in Pawcatuck lie in piles Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018, after its owner decided to complete the long-stalled demolition project. (Joe Wojtas/The Day)

Stonington — The owner of the Campbell Grain building in downtown Pawcatuck has completed its demolition after the town proposed to do the work, place a lien on the property and possibly foreclose on it.

On Tuesday, the remainder of the wooden building lay in piles as crews continued to clean up the site.

Three weeks ago, the Board of Selectmen discussed a plan to knock down the remainder of the blighted building and then cover the cost by placing a $40,000 lien on the property, which is owned by Frank DeCiantis of Virginia.

But before selectmen had a chance to vote on the plan, DeCiantis started work last week to tear down the remaining portion of the building. Selectman John Prue, who met with DeCiantis on Tuesday, said he very happy to see the building finally coming down.

He and other town officials hope that removing the building will make the parcel more attractive to a developer and that the site can become part of the revitalization of downtown Pawcatuck. In addition, town officials and Pawcatuck Fire Chief Kevin Burns have expressed concerns that the building is a fire hazard and attractive to trespassers.

DeCiantis had begun the demolition in 2016 and was financing the work by selling the posts and beams recycled from the building, which was located at the end of Coggswell Street. But after 80 percent of the structure was taken down, DeCiantis found that there was no more salvage value in taking down the rest, so the work ceased. Director of Planning Jason Vincent told selectmen just three weeks ago that DeCiantis did not have the money to complete the demolition.

The town also has a $77,000 lien on the property for work it did to demolish a section of the building damaged in 2011 by Hurricane Irene.

That means that if the property is sold, the town will receive the $77,000 from the proceeds of the sale plus interest. If it had approved the $40,000 demolition plan, there would have been a total of $117,000 in liens on the property.

While the assessed value of the 2-acre site along the Pawcatuck River is $109,000, Vincent has said its market value is many times that.

j.wojtas@theday.com

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