Bronx developer purchases 3 downtown Norwich buildings

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NORWICH – Bronx developer Randy Persaud extended his hand and received a set of keys for the vacant building at 51-53 Broadway from his attorney Tuesday afternoon and put them in his pocket.

“Now it’s real,” he said a few minutes later.

Persaud’s Bronx-based Stackstone Group development company on Tuesday completed the purchase of three commercial buildings on lower Broadway from separate owners and hopes to apply for permits this week and begin construction as early as next week.

According to property transaction documents filed at City Hall, Persaud used the ownership name 26-28 Broadway LLC to purchase the Fairhaven Building at 26-28 Broadway for $154,900, and smaller buildings 51-53 Broadway for $162,500 and 59 Broadway for $20,000. The LLC secured a mortgage of $1.275 million for the three properties combined.

The building at 59 Broadway was purchased with assistance from the Norwich Community Development Corp. NCDC acquired the building in a quitclaim deed from previous owner Robert F. Cohen, and then transferred it to Persaud’s group for $20,000.

NCDC President Robert Mills said Cohen made a charitable contribution of the 59-61 Broadway building’s full commercial value to NCDC, with NCDC paying for the appraisal and legal costs. NCDC then charged those costs, the $20,000 sale price, to Stackstone Group. Stackstone paid all outstanding property taxes, fees and broker fees as if the building sold for $50,000, Mills said.

Mills called it a “perfect mix” of an owner willing to donate the property for the tax deduction and a buyer ready to take on the renovation.

In a news release announcing the sale on its website Tuesday, Stackstone Group announced that it has partnered with NCDC and Patriquin Architects for the project. Persaud will have an office at the NCDC’s Foundry 66 shared workspace at 66 Franklin St. throughout the project and plans to apply for downtown revitalization grants through NCDC in the coming weeks.

“This project is incredibly exciting for our team,” Persaud, CEO of the Stackstone Group, said in the release. “We fell in love with the charm and beauty of historic downtown Norwich, and we’re thrilled at the opportunity to give Broadway some new life.”

Persaud said Tuesday that the group plans an overall $2.2 million renovation project, including the purchase prices, to create 18 apartments and one street-level commercial space in the Fairhaven and four apartments and one commercial space in each of the smaller buildings.

All the apartments will be renovated as high-end luxury units, with amenities such as quartz counter tops, hardwood floors and “smart house” technology, Persaud said. The group already has begun to pursue LEED — Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design — certification for all three properties to create highly energy-efficient units, he said.

Persaud said he hopes the project will set a new standard for renovations in downtown Norwich and added that people already have approached him and even offered to give deposits for apartments not yet constructed. He said it’s too early to take leasing applications, but the company plans to move quickly on the project.

Persaud said the Fairhaven building is in the worst condition of the three properties and will be the third one tackled in the renovation project. The group plans to complete renovations of 51-53 and 59-61 Broadway by this fall, and complete the Fairhaven by next summer.

Persaud credited NCDC President Robert Mills for introducing him to the various city agencies and Norwich Public Utilities officials who will be involved in permitting and inspections for the renovations and for taking him on tours of downtown over the past several months. Persaud said Stackstone plans to pursue other downtown buildings once the Broadway project is completed.

He also credited attorney Chris Albanese of Gales Ferry — the man who handed him the keys — and real estate agent Bonnie Nault of the Mystic firm Shutters and Sails Real Estate for their work to put the complicated closings together. The closings were expected to be completed by last Friday but were delayed slightly, he said. But the deals still were ahead of an initial schedule that called for closing later in June.

“Purchasing one commercial building is complicated,” Persaud said. “Purchasing three commercial buildings is complicated. Purchasing three commercial buildings at the same time is crazy.”

Published June 13. 2017 6:25PM | Updated June 13. 2017 8:58PM
By Claire Bessette   Day staff writer