NEW BRITAIN – Now that Community Mental Health Affiliates has purchased The Plaza building at 233-235 Main St., a question remains.
What will happen to the old Mitch’s Place building, which the nonprofit previously had purchased?
“We have some options. There has been some interest expressed in it from potential buyers,” said Ray Gorman, executive director of CMHA.
There has also been some talk about possibly using the 42,000-square-foot building as retail space, he said.
Gerry Amodio, downtown district executive director, said the city originally thought that Mitch’s Place at 227 Main St. would be an ideal site for market-rate apartments and retail or restaurants on the ground floor.
The idea was to have more people live, invest and spend money in downtown New Britain, he said.
According to Amodio, when he first found out that CMHA bought the Mitch’s Place building, he was skeptical about having the clinic in a downtown location.
“There was a lot of hesitation. We were hoping, as a downtown development that the project would become apartments and retail space,” Amodio said.
The size of the building has the potential for at least 50 apartments Amodio said.
“When they (CMHA) bought it, we had other plans and the city did a study based on the transit oriented development around the bus way,” Amodio said.
The study revealed that the health facility was one of the top three important pieces for downtown, which was surprising to Amodio.
“The model for CMHA at the time as we understood it by its presentation wasn’t what we really wanted to have,” Amodio added.
Amodio, however, insisted that it wasn’t the mental health part of the clinic that he didn’t like about the project in downtown.
“I would embrace this organization as any other organization,” Amodio said. “I would never say anything negative about CMHA, I’m overly sensitive to the mental health issue. I understand it deeply. We are looking forward to helping them. We will look forward to them being an active part of our community.”
Staff writer Lisa Backus contributed to this article.
Karla Santos can be reached at 860-801-5079.