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Setting The Standard in Mystic

Mystic — Kody Blake and Eric Goodman spotted the postcard beneath the glass of the table where they were having lunch one day and immediately knew it was the inspiration for their next project.

The two young builders had come from different careers — Goodman was a lawyer working in finance and Blake doing instrumentation and control for nuclear power plants. But they had recently collaborated on buying and flipping houses when they were hired to do an expansion of Sift bakery in downtown Mystic.

While on that job in late 2018 and early 2019, they became interested in the next-door property that was on the market, 3 Water St., which at the time was two buildings, one housing a hairdresser and the other a real estate company.

As Goodman negotiated to buy the properties, that postcard the duo had first spotted at Indulge in Stonington Borough would guide them to completion of The Standard, the four-story, 32,000-square-foot residential and commercial building off busy West Main Street in downtown Mystic that they've just completed.

Goodman is the developer and K Blake and Co., a construction management and general contracting company owned by Blake and Goodman, the builder. Goodman bought the property for $1,030,000 in July 2019, but had it under contract several months earlier.

The postcard was an etching of the Hotel Wadawanuck, which was envisioned but never built on Wadawanuck Square in Stonington Borough, where the Stonington Free Library stands today.

Goodman, 36, and Blake, 38, were attracted to its mansard-style, quintessential, 1800s New England seaside resort character.

"We just thought it would be great to put something with that same architectural detail, that character, here," Goodman said.

They worked with architect Peter Springsteel to design their building and, in May 2020, demolished the existing structures. Two months later, in July 2020, site work began on the building they call The Standard.

It went up quickly. Residents and tenants are already moving in. Eleven of the 14 condominiums have been sold and five of the six retail spaces are occupied.

There are 23 parking spaces, 18 in a lower-level garage and five behind the building, and the first floor is elevated to meet flood regulations. A wide veranda, or wrap-around porch, sits on three sides of the building.

Locals on the job

It cost about $9 million to build The Standard, which gets its name from The Standard Machinery Co., which was located across Water Street in the late 1800s and early 1900s, making printing presses and paper-cutting and book-binding implements.

The Standard is painted yellow, a shade called Governor's Gold by Benjamin Moore, based on one of the original colors from Colonial Williamsburg, according to Goodman.

The building partners said they used quality materials — cedar clapboards, ipe hardwood decking, copper gutters, hand-bent copper flashing and premium wood, double-hung windows. And, they said, they were fortunate to lock down prices and secure much of what they needed before the coronavirus pandemic caused a shortage of materials and prices to jump.

"These are the best materials, especially with the price hikes you've seen in materials, and that we were able to pull this off and be on budget is shocking," Goodman said.

They also take pride in the fact that 85% of the 200-plus contractors on the job were local. "If we could hire local, we did," Blake said. "We always want to support the local community."

They poured more than 900 yards of concrete, used 200 tons of steel and too many thousands of feet of board lumber to count. On the exterior, they've landscaped and improved the delivery, loading and garbage disposal areas for both Sift and The Standard.

The upper floors deliver great views of downtown Mystic, the Mystic Seaport Museum, Mystic River and, from the top floor, Lantern Hill in Ledyard 10 miles away.

The condos start at $495,000, and the penthouse, which is still available, is $1.5 million.

Charcuterie and clothing

Blake and Goodman have opened Block & Bottle in one of the retail spaces, a wine and charcuterie bar with fine wines, beers, cocktails and cheeses, meats, and other goodies. Customers can dine in or take provisions to their home or boat. And, they have taken a second space for their offices, as property managers of the building and condos.

Another tenant is Burgee Mystic, owned by Jonathan Shockley and Taylor Mawhinney. Both worked in the fashion industry in New York City and will draw on their expertise to curate goods from their travels, third-party brands that they like and to launch their Burgee Blue and Mystic Mariner brands. The store will sell men's and women's clothing, accessories and home goods.

Abbott's Outpost, a restaurant by the family that runs Abbott's Lobster in the Rough and Costello's Clam Shack, both in Noank, occupies two units on the back side of the building for an eat-in restaurant with a full-service bar.

Blake and Goodman are self-taught builders who said they learned a lesson from this project.

"We really had to step away from being your average home contractor to do this," said Goodman, a Stonington High graduate who grew up in Mystic.

"But with my law and finance background and Kody's operations background, we were able to develop contracts and scopes, and that played a big part in it. For us, scheduling and operations is key and what we realized on this project is that we are better running something like this than we are swinging a hammer or building a house. So, we have changed our business a bit and we are less physically hands-on now."

Blake, a Plainfield High graduate who spent a great deal of time in Mystic in his youth, agreed.

"That's true, we are better managers," he said. "But if we're needed, we can jump in. We can frame or pour concrete or put windows in. We can do all of it."

A vintage meat slicer at Block and Bottle. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)
A vintage meat slicer at Block and Bottle. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)

Business snapshot

What: Block & Bottle

Owners: Eric Goodman and Kody Blake

Where: The Standard, 3 Water St., Unit 103, Mystic

Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

More information: (860) 980-3542

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