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    Sunday, March 26, 2023

    Reid & Hughes renovation in Norwich slated to receive $550,000 state grant

    Norwich ― The long-vacant Reid & Hughes building on Main Street got yet another new lease on life Tuesday, with preliminary approval of a $550,000 state grant to assist with a proposed renovation of the building into 17 apartments and retail space.

    The split-level former 19th-century department store building at 193-201 Main St. has been vacant for decades, and several efforts by the city to find developers have failed. Last week, the co-owner of the Wauregan Apartments across Main Street purchased the building from the Women’s Institute for Housing and Economic Development for $315,000. The institute’s own plan to renovate the building with city assistance fell through during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Heritage Housing, Inc. of Norwalk, co-owner of the Wauregan, purchased the Reid & Hughes under the ownership name, Heritage Reid Hughes LLC, according to city records. David McCarthy, founder and president of Heritage Housing, Inc., announced in spring a $4.9 million plan to renovate the building into 17 apartments and 2,000 square feet of retail space at the Main Street level.

    The city included a request for $550,000 in brownfields cleanup money for the Reid & Hughes as part of its $10.4 million grant request to the newly created state Community Investment Fund, designed to assist struggling cities. The Reid & Hughes funding was the only part of Norwich’s request to be approved by the Community Investment Fund board Tuesday, state Sen. Cathy Osten said.

    The Norwich grant was one of 26 requests statewide, totaling $76.4 million, to be approved Tuesday. The requests still must be approved by the state Bond Commission.

    The rest of Norwich’s request included a plan to revitalize lower Broadway, including improvements to the streetscape, renovations to the Norwich Arts Center and Reliance Health headquarters and $8 million toward an estimated $40 million plan for a new police station.

    Kevin Brown, president of the Norwich Community Development Corp., which submitted the city’s application, said he remains optimistic that Norwich will secure future grants through the CIF program.

    “On the list, I see some projects that look similar to ours on the lower Broadway plan,” Brown said. “We’re not done going after that one.”

    Osten said the next application round is expected in November, with submittals due by January, with approvals to be announced in March or April.

    Brown was pleased that the Reid & Hughes funding was approved, providing “another notch” in the development work in progress on Main Street. At one end, the former Elks Club is being renovated into a boutique hotel, and at the other end, two large buildings at 77-91 Main St. are being renovated into apartments, retail and restaurant space. The Reid & Hughes is halfway between those two projects.

    “You’re going to see a lot of ‘coming soon’ signs go up on Main Street pretty soon,” Brown said.


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