Stabilization work completed early on Reid & Hughes building in Norwich

Norwich — Stabilization work on the Reid & Hughes building has been completed ahead of schedule, and the building’s new owner has started applying for grants and financing for the proposed $6 million renovation into 20 apartments.

The Women’s Institute for Housing and Economic Development took ownership of the building at 193-201 Main St. from the city on July 30. The building was transferred to the group subject to a development agreement signed by the City Council.

The agreement gave the institute 120 days to complete the $500,000 in stabilization work to prevent further decay while waiting for financing for the major renovation work to begin. The work, which began May 28, was completed one month ahead of schedule, Women’s Institute Senior Development Manager Christine Rogers said.

The work included removing debris from collapsed floors, shoring up sagging walls and the roof and replacing a collapsed portion of the roof. Rogers said the work cost a little more than the $500,000 that was budgeted.

“Everyone was really pleased when we got in how good the structure was,” Rogers said. “People kept saying ‘it’s got good bones.’”

Now that it is safe to enter, architects and project planners will be combing through the building to finalize development plan that calls for 20 apartments in the upper stories and commercial space at street level. The institute is working with the state Historic Preservation Office on the final design, Rogers said.

The Women’s Institute has applied for state and federal historic preservation tax credits, aiming to retain as many historic features as possible.

“It’s easier now to see what we can save,” Rogers said.

The institute also recently applied for a $500,000 grant with partner Chelsea Groton Bank.

“Chelsea Groton was great to work with,” Rogers said. “I’m happy to have them as a partner at the table.”

Rogers said the institute is working with state officials on the next round of financing available through the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority and the state Department of Housing for the renovation project.

The development agreement with the city called for giving the institute 36 months to secure financing and another 36 months after that to complete the work.

c.bessette@theday.com

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