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Stonington commission approves Whaler's Inn expansion

Mystic — The Stonington Planning and Zoning Commission approved a special use permit Tuesday night that will allow the Whaler's Inn to convert the former Odd Fellows Building at 11 Cottrell St. into five hotel suites for families as well as an office/lobby on the first floor.

It is the latest effort by Whalers Inn RE LLC to upgrade and expand offerings for its guests.

During the public hearing that preceded the commission's vote Tuesday night, Whaler's Inn attorney Bill Sweeney told the commission the inn was trying to preserve and enhance the aesthetic quality of the building and make it more compatible with the architecture of downtown Mystic while providing needed family-friendly accommodations.

Sweeney said Whalers Inn RE has made a significant investment in nearby buildings and the quality of that work speaks for itself. 

He called a renovated Odd Fellows Building a "welcome addition to Cottrell Street." 

Only one resident opposed the plan during the public hearing at Pawcatuck Middle School. Bill Scheer of Haley Street told the commission the project would change the character of the neighborhood.

The five current apartments on the second, third and fourth floors will now be transformed into five hotel suites ranging in size from 884 to 1,745 square feet. The fourth-floor unit also will have a terrace and a view of the Mystic River.

The 46-foot height of the building will not change except for the addition of a cupola-topped elevator shaft, which will rise 6 feet above the rear of the building. Two commercial spaces will remain on the ground floor and liquor service will be available to guests.

Windows will be replaced, and the yellow and green paint scheme will be replaced by new siding and trim in various shades of white and possibly light gray on the fourth floor. The design was approved by the Stonington Architectural Design Review Board.

The commission attached several stipulations to its approval, including that horizontal trim be added to the elevator shaft to vary the uniform look of its exterior and the terrace be extended along the northwest corner of the building.  

In 2014, the Whaler's Inn renovated its buildings and in 2020 it opened a new, larger restaurant called the Shipwright's Daughter. In September 2020, Whalers Inn RE LLC purchased the Odd Fellows Building for $2.65 million. Last year, it obtained approval from the commission to combine the Odd Fellows lot with an adjacent vacant lot on Haley Street to provide 15 parking spots to serve the building.

Late last year, Whaler's Inn RE LLC purchased the former Mystical Toys building at 4 E. Main St. for $1.5 million and it is now occupied by Just Mystic, an environmentally conscious coastal apparel shop selling Mystic-branded items, and a pop-up museum created by the Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce celebrating the 100th anniversary of the nearby drawbridge.

j.wojtas@theday.com

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