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Lathrop tackles fourth downtown Pawcatuck project

Stonington — Downtown Pawcatuck businessman James Lathrop has begun rehabilitating another historic downtown building, this one a very visible, dilapidated structure at the corner of Route 1 and Mechanic Street.

The two-story, 1,950-square-foot building has been vacant for about 15 years and has since been damaged by fire and struck by a car. Built across the street in 1870 and moved to its current location at 6 Mechanic St. in 1920, it last housed an attorney’s office and before that a hardware store, according to Lathrop.

The building is located next to another vacant building at 2-4 Mechanic St. that Lathrop previously had renovated into space for his business, Best Energy, and Stonington Realty.

“We’re trying to end vacancy and blight in downtown Pawcatuck and this is part of that,” he said this week about his latest project.

Lathrop said the building will be renovated into commercial space on the first floor and a two-bedroom apartment upstairs. He said he has had discussions with possible commercial tenants but does not yet have a commitment.

Lathrop also is continuing to renovate the second floor of a building at 29 West Broad St. into two apartments. He previously renovated the ground floor into commercial space.

Across the street at 34 West Broad St. is the long vacant, three-story Laura’s Landing building, which Lathrop purchased in 2019 and now plans to renovate into a mix of commercial space and apartments in keeping with the historical character of the structure. He said he has gutted the inside, made structural repairs and restored power.

Lathrop said passersby will not see much new activity there until 2021, as he is waiting for the state to designate it a historic district, which he said will help in obtaining financing, grants and tax credits for his project, which has 160 feet of frontage along the Pawcatuck River.

The town's Economic Development Commission has made the revitalization of downtown Pawcatuck a priority. Two weeks ago, a Boston-based developer announced a $30 million project that calls for the construction of a four-story, mixed income apartment building on the site of the former Campbell Grain building at the end of Coggswell Street. That project, which borders the Pawcatuck River, is expected to go before the Planning and Zoning Commission for approval this fall.


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