For almost 30 years, the historic Reid & Hughes building, located in downtown Norwich, CT sat vacant and city owned. Constructed in the late 1800’s, the building is best remembered as the local department store, and in 1985 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places, and is part of the Downtown Norwich Historic District.
Since taking ownership in 1993, the City of Norwich issued multiple Requests for Proposals (RFP’s) for the redevelopment of the property. Each time the developers faltered and the building remained vacant, with conditions deteriorating. In 2016, with public pressure mounting, the city approved a bond to knock the landmarked building down. Outraged historic preservationists pled their case to the State Attorney General and were able to get a stay of demolition placed on the building, requiring the city to once again RFP the building.
In April of 2017, Women’s Institute Realty of Connecticut, proposed preserving the buildings historic place in downtown Norwich and converting it to 20 units of housing, with a preference for veterans and 1st floor commercial space, to help activate the Main Street corridor. The City agreed to donate the building to WIR-CT for $1.
Located at a prominent intersection and part of a long façade of unbroken historic buildings, the Reid and Hughes property is critically important to the fabric of downtown Norwich. Perhaps Norwich’s greatest asset is its Architectural history and the relatively “in-tact” nature of its urban center, which is enhanced by the natural resource of the Shetucket river, which runs behind the Reid and Hughes building.
Our design goal is to bring this blighted structure back to its exterior historic look while creating a high quality residential and commercial interior space. The exterior will require careful transformation to preserve its historic façade and street orientation, and the building will need to be structurally managed to ensure that it is rebuilt to be both sound and to protect the two adjacent structures during and after construction. The product will be a revitalized and appealing downtown property, with 20 large efficiencies and street level commercial space.
Initial stabilization work was completed Summer 2018