Published December 19. 2013 5:00PM Updated December 20. 2013 1:11AM
Norwich — The historic 21-unit Fairhaven apartment building on lower Broadway was purchased Thursday by a Stamford developer for $84,900, a price that reflects its derelict condition due to vandalism, leaks and decay.
JMD Manor LLC of Stamford purchased the building at 26-28 Broadway from Banco Popular North America, according to the deed transaction filed Thursday in the Norwich city clerk’s office. Reached Thursday afternoon for comment on the purchase, Rahul Chadha, a partner in the firm, said the final cost was $108,000, including brokerage fees.
Chadha, however, declined to comment on his plans for the building until financing is in place for the necessary renovation. He said the firm would be targeting older tenants who are ready to downsize into an apartment and don’t need cars, along with young professionals who want to live downtown. He said the firm is considering including a part-time concierge service for tenants to help with groceries and other needs.
JMD Manor already includes a photo of the Fairhaven on its website and plans to rename the building “The Rose.” Chadha said a new name could help erase the building’s recent negative history once renovations are completed.
Chadha has been meeting with various city officials to discuss his interest in the building, the renovations that would be needed and potential plans. Officials at the Norwich Community Development Corp. arranged a tour of the building Dec. 6 with city building inspectors, the fire marshal, city police and Mayor Deberey Hinchey.
Assistant Building Official Greg Arpin, who attended the tour, said he was impressed with Chadha’s interest in the building and the downtown in general. NCDC Vice President Jason Vincent said it was important that he learn upfront the upgrades that would be needed to the blighted building before it can be reopened as rental housing.
According to Dale Plummer, city historian, the Fairhaven was built in 1891 as the Buckingham Hotel, renovated and reopened as the Dell Hoff Hotel in 1897, when a restaurant was added to the first floor and a dining hall for guests to the second floor.
But its recent history has been checkered. The brick building has been vacant since July 2009, when city officials condemned it for numerous building and safety violations, displacing about two dozen residents. Since then, city officials have responded to reports of vagrants, vandals and metal thieves who have caused serious damage to the building, which had undergone a major renovation several years earlier.
Banco Popular North America foreclosed on a $1.3 million mortgage, and the building was auctioned on March 8. No bidders came forward, and the bank took possession of the building at that time.