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Former Mai Thai restaurant building in Norwich sold again

Norwich — The building at 327 Laurel Hill Ave. that housed the former Mai Thai restaurant has been sold for the third time in the past five years, with no specific development plans submitted to the city.

The former Laurel Hill Avenue School building, which dates to 1900, was sold by former owner Rosdev Capital Funding LP on June 3 to Gilbert Peralte for $210,000. The property is now a vacant commercial building. There was no activity there Monday.

Peralte has not submitted any proposed development plans to the city, officials in the zoning and building departments said. The power had been turned off in the building, city Building Official Dan Coley said, and there have been no requests to restore the power.

The sale was announced by Ron Lyman, CEO of Lyman Real Estate, which represented Rosdev in the sale. In a news release, Lyman Real Estate wrote that Peralte “has not yet announced plans for the property.” The two-story brick building has 9,272 square feet of space on 0.7 acres and is zoned in the city’s Waterfront District.

The building has had a troubled recent history. Under the owner Laurel Hill Investment LLC, the building housed the Mai Thai Restaurant, where a fatal shooting occurred on the back deck on June 24, 2012. Patron Donna Richardson was fatally shot and her niece, Crystal Roderick, was wounded when David Grant of Norwich fired into a crowd on the back deck at closing time. Grant was found guilty of manslaughter on April 1, 2015.

The restaurant closed immediately after the shooting, and the bar owners surrendered their license a month later. The building sat vacant and was sold to Rosdev in July 2016. Rosdev sold it to Cabinfields Investments LLC in 2018, but Rosdev retook possession of the building 20 months later.

In 2016, James Clanton of Mystic started renovations with plans to open Ambiance Lounge & Martini Bar, but the plan never materialized.

In July 2019, city building, zoning and fire inspectors discovered an illegal second-story apartment had been created and was occupied by six tenants, who also had set up a music venue with paying customers.

The city condemned the building and ordered the power to be turned off.

c.bessette@theday.com

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