NEW BRITAIN - Mayor Erin Stewart and Economic Development Director Bill Carroll were on hand Wednesday morning as construction workers began dismantling the façade of a commercial building at 222 Main St., the former home of National Discount Stores.
The building, recently purchased by developer Daniel Czyzewski, will soon be transformed into luxury apartments on the upper floors with a restaurant on the first floor. The $4 million project is part of an effort to revitalize downtown.
“This is really going to solidify the ensured transformation of downtown into a place that it once was,” Stewart, said. “We are looking at it one development at a time.”
The five-story building, built in 1885, once housed also housed the B.C. Porter furniture store.
Christopher and Peggy Porter, formerly of New Britain, said Christopher Porter’s great-grandfather owned the building in 1889.
“People came from all over New England to buy their furniture,” Peggy Porter said.
The building was also used to store caskets, as B.C. Porter was also the owner of a funeral home in the city, Christopher Porter said.
“We are delighted to see the metal cover come down on one hand, because it’s beautiful underneath,” Peggy said.
However, Christopher said, the area needs more businesses, not apartments.
Czyzewski told The Herald he wants to restore the building’s original brick exterior, which is why he is having the metal sheathing removed.
He will start construction at the end of the year and said the project should be complete in two years.
Czyzewski is not new to building restoration in New Britain. He is the owner of Exclusive Developments LLC and Flip It Inc.
Denis Rivera of New Britain joined other onlookers at Wednesday’s event. He said changes such as the building renovation project are good for the city.
“At the end, this is going to attract more businesses, more people, more jobs and more tax money,” he said.