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Previous Larsen’s setting up in Waterville receives ‘top-to-bottom’ renovation and will house nutrition retail outlet

Monthly bill Mitchell stands Friday in the entryway to his freshly renovated assets at the corner of Widespread and Main streets in downtown Waterville. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

WATERVILLE — Businessman Bill Mitchell is all over again investing in downtown as portion of revitalization attempts, this time renovating a historic creating at the corner of Primary and Prevalent streets that previously was residence to Larsen’s Jewelry.

The three-tale developing at 57 Primary St. that Mitchell acquired in 2019 will property Elm Town Diet on the floor ground in the previous jewelry retailer space on or in close proximity to April 1. The higher two flooring characteristic a higher-close condominium on every single flooring. The nutrition store, owned by Anna Curtis, will give healthful smoothies, teas and connected offerings.

“I think it is heading to be a good addition for downtown, and it’s a fantastic location for that style of small business,” Mitchell reported Friday. “We’re very excited to have that downtown, and I think it’s going to be obtained definitely perfectly as we get into spring and summer months. I’m optimistic she will be really prosperous in her endeavor.”

Mitchell bought the setting up in 2019 at the identical time the jewellery keep shut, and he introduced an in depth major-to-base renovation. He remembers that, when he was a youngster in the course of the holiday seasons, a speaker on a balcony of the constructing would enjoy Xmas tunes.

“It’s a landmark creating in our downtown, and it justifies to be brought back again,” he said. “I’m genuinely, actually excited to be element of that.”

As component of renovations, staff eradicated the facade, exposing a sign that states “A Wolman.” Arlington Wolman constructed the constructing in 1912 following the prior creating on the web site, acknowledged as the Krutzky Block, was ruined by fire in 1911, in accordance to Mitchell. Wolman opened a smoke shop on the ground ground that offered tobacco, peppermints and gum — a blend that was widespread in smoke retailers and served to mask the odor of smoke right after patrons applied tobacco, Mitchell stated.

He programs to identify the framework “The Wolman Building,” he mentioned.

Mitchell owns GHM Insurance policy Company future door to the building on Key Avenue, as well as two properties on Prevalent Avenue, such as the previous Masonic Making, which he ordered in 2015 just after Colby Higher education and the city introduced the downtown revitalization effort. Mitchell renovated the structures into places of work and organizations, together with The Suitable Pig cafe, which he co-owns. Mitchell owns the overall block with the exception of Al Hodsdon’s setting up, 10 Typical St., at the corner of Front Street.

Mitchell not too long ago positioned a bronze plaque on his insurance coverage constructing in memory of his late father, Paul, who also owned GHM and was a serious estate developer who headed up the Urban Renewal Job in the 1960s and ’70s. Mitchell options to erect identical plaques on The Wolman Setting up in honor of Arlington Wolman, as effectively as on his two Prevalent Road buildings, to honor the prior operator, Michael Nawfel, who practiced dentistry for quite a few several years there.

“I just imagine it is a nice touch,” Mitchell stated. “These men were being icons in their working day. I glimpse at Mr. Wolman, a serious entrepreneur, an icon in Waterville in his day. I’ll be naming those two buildings on Frequent to Dr. Nawfel. He ought to be remembered, I believe. To the extent I’m capable to convey some of that recognition back for individuals great men and women that did great matters in downtown in their working day, I believe they are entitled to it.”

Mitchell was element of meetings in 2014 headed up by Colby President David Greene and businesspeople, metropolis officers, arts advocates and representatives of nonprofit organizations to start out downtown revitalization attempts. They determined that in purchase to have a vivid downtown, persons ought to be residing and working there. Vacant and dilapidated properties desired to be dealt with and the arts supported and strengthened, they said.

Colby has considering that invested millions of bucks in downtown, developing a resort and household intricate on Primary Avenue, renovating a developing for office and retail place at the corner of Major and Appleton streets, and another on Most important Street for an arts collaborative. Perform on the potential Paul J. Schupf Artwork Heart is scheduled to start this yr on Major Road.

The concept was that with Colby’s investments, other traders would adhere to go well with. Mitchell was a single of the first to do so.

“You get started to see extra and a lot more people getting and redeveloping and occupying structures with little corporations and residential and it usually takes on a daily life of its have,” Mitchell stated. “The affect of the revitalization definitely starts to change the economics so that it is capable to self-maintain.”

Mitchell recommended Greene for following as a result of on a eyesight, and the Alfond loved ones and foundations for investing seriously in the downtown and elsewhere.

“I have a incredibly substantial regard for David Greene,” Mitchell explained. “He not only was a visionary and could articulate that eyesight very plainly and successfully, but the real kicker with David is that he then is aware of how to execute the prepare. Execution is genuinely difficult and David’s genuinely fantastic at it. From the really very first conferences that we had, search at what he’s completed in the downtown. It is incredible how effectively he executed the plan.”

Mayor Jay Coelho counseled Mitchell Friday for his revitalization endeavours.

“I think Billy’s been a good person to have in Waterville,” Coelho stated. “He’s anyone who cares about the town. He’s been included. He’s undoubtedly a community chief, and we have to have a lot more individuals like Invoice to stage up.”

Likewise, Kimberly N. Lindlof, president and main govt officer of the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce, reported Mitchell’s initiatives at producing attributes, especially housing, is desired and most welcome at a time when the city requires it.

“One of the finest points about discovering out that Bill Mitchell is accomplishing a venture is that you know it’s going to be a marked improvement around what is there now,” Lindlof mentioned. “He’s heading to do it ideal and the outcome is going to be actually superb. He’s carried out a great position with the projects he normally takes on.”


Mitchell learned a good deal from his father about how to create a plan and see it to fruition. Paul Mitchell oversaw a significant redevelopment work, the City Renewal Task, in Waterville some 50 yrs ago, when Invoice Mitchell was rising up. The elder Mitchell also labored in real estate progress, in addition to insurance.

As part of City Renewal, dilapidated structures alongside Charles Street, which ran via what is now The Concourse in the coronary heart of the town, ended up razed, as have been those people on the riverbank off Front Road recognized as Head of Falls. Paul Mitchell also assisted to bring in Zayre office retail store to The Concourse when these huge merchants had been coming into vogue. Cottle’s grocery keep moved from Major Avenue to The Concourse.

As portion of Urban Renewal function, Paul Mitchell was instrumental in rerouting hundreds of thousands of gallons of storm water and snow melt so it went straight to the Kennebec River in its place of likely via sewer lines to the processing plant, preserving the city millions of bucks in sewer service fees, in accordance to Invoice Mitchell.

“As a boy, I saw my father performing that sort of perform, and it was constantly of wonderful interest to me to assistance fully grasp the process,” Mitchell, now 59, claimed. “My father worked in serious estate progress. It is kind of in my DNA a minor little bit, and I delight in the genuine estate development aspect of my do the job.”

Mitchell owns and manages 18 houses and 25 properties in Waterville, which includes The Elm at 21 Higher education Ave. which he reworked from a previous American Legion hall into an function heart. He owns Penny Hill Park, a professional business office sophisticated at 295 Kennedy Memorial Push, as perfectly as KMD Plaza throughout the avenue, which residences Dairy Queen, Verizon, Enterprise and Seacoast Safety.

He owns three structures at 220-224 Primary St., just south of Kennebec Discounts Bank, and is at this time undertaking renovations to 220 Key.

“I cannot still disclose what it is, but a lease has been signed for a new little small business that is opening up by early summer season,” Mitchell stated.

Very last year, he bought and is renovating former 1st Baptist Church attributes at 3 and 5 Park St. The constructing at 3 Park is a duplex which is occupied by tenants and the bigger creating at 5 Park, which options big windows, standard crown molding and fireplaces, is becoming renovated into two massive flats.

“Between the 57 Main St. and Park Road qualities, we’ve been pretty active with renovations and are bringing equally of those homes back again to the grandeur they as soon as had,” he explained.

He claimed he is committed and on the lookout ahead to renovating and restoring structures downtown for the total excellent of revitalization.

“I’ve been pretty lucky,” he stated. “I was born in Waterville and elevated in Waterville and went to faculty listed here. I have extremely, really deep roots in this article. My loved ones has very deep roots in this neighborhood.”

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