May 26, 2022


Make Somone Happy

Previous Larsen’s developing in Waterville gets ‘top-to-bottom’ renovation and will dwelling nourishment store

7 min read

Bill Mitchell stands Friday in the entryway to his freshly renovated property at the corner of Prevalent and Primary streets in downtown Waterville. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

WATERVILLE — Businessman Monthly bill Mitchell is once again investing in downtown as portion of revitalization efforts, this time renovating a historic creating at the corner of Main and Prevalent streets that formerly was residence to Larsen’s Jewelry.

The three-tale creating at 57 Primary St. that Mitchell bought in 2019 will property Elm Town Nutrition on the ground ground in the former jewelry store room on or around April 1. The higher two floors feature a significant-end condominium on every single ground. The nutrition store, owned by Anna Curtis, will provide healthful smoothies, teas and linked choices.

“I think it’s likely to be a excellent addition for downtown, and it is a excellent site for that sort of business,” Mitchell explained Friday. “We’re quite enthusiastic to have that downtown, and I feel it’s going to be received really perfectly as we get into spring and summer months. I’m optimistic she will be genuinely effective in her endeavor.”

Mitchell bought the building in 2019 at the similar time the jewellery retail store closed, and he released an in depth best-to-base renovation. He remembers that, when he was a kid in the course of the holidays, a speaker on a balcony of the constructing would play Christmas music.

“It’s a landmark building in our downtown, and it warrants to be introduced again,” he mentioned. “I’m genuinely, actually excited to be element of that.”

As portion of renovations, workers eliminated the facade, exposing a sign that claims “A Wolman.” Arlington Wolman crafted the making in 1912 after the earlier setting up on the website, known as the Krutzky Block, was ruined by hearth in 1911, in accordance to Mitchell. Wolman opened a smoke store on the ground floor that marketed tobacco, peppermints and gum — a blend that was typical in smoke retailers and served to mask the odor of smoke immediately after patrons applied tobacco, Mitchell said.

He designs to identify the construction “The Wolman Constructing,” he mentioned.

Mitchell owns GHM Insurance policy Agency subsequent door to the building on Primary Avenue, as effectively as two structures on Prevalent Avenue, which include the previous Masonic Developing, which he ordered in 2015 immediately after Colby College and the city announced the downtown revitalization effort and hard work. Mitchell renovated the properties into workplaces and companies, which include The Right Pig cafe, which he co-owns. Mitchell owns the whole block with the exception of Al Hodsdon’s developing, 10 Typical St., at the corner of Front Road.

Mitchell not long ago put a bronze plaque on his insurance plan setting up in memory of his late father, Paul, who also owned GHM and was a true estate developer who headed up the City Renewal Job in the 1960s and ’70s. Mitchell options to erect related plaques on The Wolman Setting up in honor of Arlington Wolman, as nicely as on his two Widespread Street properties, to honor the preceding proprietor, Michael Nawfel, who practiced dentistry for many several years there.

“I just believe it is a pleasant contact,” Mitchell explained. “These men were icons in their day. I glance at Mr. Wolman, a genuine entrepreneur, an icon in Waterville in his day. I’ll be naming those people two structures on Frequent to Dr. Nawfel. He ought to be remembered, I feel. To the extent I’m in a position to bring some of that recognition back again for those people excellent people today that did superior things in downtown in their day, I feel they ought to have it.”

Mitchell was part of conferences in 2014 headed up by Colby President David Greene and businesspeople, town officials, arts advocates and representatives of nonprofit companies to get started downtown revitalization efforts. They decided that in purchase to have a vibrant downtown, folks ought to be residing and doing the job there. Vacant and dilapidated buildings needed to be dealt with and the arts supported and strengthened, they mentioned.

Colby has considering that invested tens of millions of bucks in downtown, building a lodge and residential advanced on Primary Avenue, renovating a setting up for office environment and retail room at the corner of Principal and Appleton streets, and an additional on Major Road for an arts collaborative. Perform on the potential Paul J. Schupf Art Centre is scheduled to start off this yr on Key Avenue.

The notion was that with Colby’s investments, other buyers would follow go well with. Mitchell was just one of the first to do so.

“You start to see more and more persons getting and redeveloping and occupying properties with tiny organizations and household and it requires on a daily life of its possess,” Mitchell claimed. “The influence of the revitalization seriously begins to shift the economics so that it is ready to self-maintain.”

Mitchell counseled Greene for following by means of on a eyesight, and the Alfond relatives and foundations for investing closely in the downtown and somewhere else.

“I have a pretty high regard for David Greene,” Mitchell said. “He not only was a visionary and could articulate that eyesight really plainly and efficiently, but the actual kicker with David is that he then is aware of how to execute the strategy. Execution is definitely challenging and David’s seriously excellent at it. From the pretty very first meetings that we had, search at what he’s accomplished in the downtown. It’s unbelievable how successfully he executed the program.”

Mayor Jay Coelho commended Mitchell Friday for his revitalization attempts.

“I imagine Billy’s been a great individual to have in Waterville,” Coelho reported. “He’s someone who cares about the town. He’s been involved. He’s definitely a community chief, and we need to have much more people like Bill to move up.”

Likewise, Kimberly N. Lindlof, president and main government officer of the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce, reported Mitchell’s attempts at establishing qualities, specifically housing, is necessary and most welcome at a time when the city demands it.

“One of the ideal issues about discovering out that Monthly bill Mitchell is undertaking a job is that you know it’s heading to be a marked enhancement around what is there now,” Lindlof reported. “He’s going to do it appropriate and the outcome is going to be genuinely amazing. He’s accomplished a wonderful career with the tasks he normally takes on.”


Mitchell uncovered a whole lot from his father about how to produce a system and see it to fruition. Paul Mitchell oversaw a large redevelopment effort, the Urban Renewal Venture, in Waterville some 50 a long time in the past, while Invoice Mitchell was growing up. The elder Mitchell also worked in genuine estate advancement, in addition to coverage.

As section of Urban Renewal, dilapidated structures alongside Charles Road, which ran through what is now The Concourse in the heart of the town, had been razed, as ended up those on the riverbank off Front Avenue recognised as Head of Falls. Paul Mitchell also helped to appeal to Zayre office shop to The Concourse when these significant stores have been coming into fashion. Cottle’s grocery retail store moved from Most important Street to The Concourse.

As part of City Renewal work, Paul Mitchell was instrumental in rerouting tens of millions of gallons of storm h2o and snow soften so it went specifically to the Kennebec River alternatively of likely by sewer lines to the processing plant, preserving the city hundreds of thousands of pounds in sewer costs, according to Invoice Mitchell.

“As a boy, I observed my father doing that sort of function, and it was always of great fascination to me to support recognize the process,” Mitchell, now 59, explained. “My father labored in genuine estate development. It’s type of in my DNA a very little bit, and I appreciate the genuine estate improvement section of my function.”

Mitchell owns and manages 18 homes and 25 structures in Waterville, including The Elm at 21 University Ave. which he transformed from a previous American Legion hall into an function heart. He owns Penny Hill Park, a expert office advanced at 295 Kennedy Memorial Generate, as well as KMD Plaza throughout the avenue, which homes Dairy Queen, Verizon, Company and Seacoast Safety.

He owns 3 structures at 220-224 Key St., just south of Kennebec Personal savings Financial institution, and is currently carrying out renovations to 220 Principal.

“I can not nevertheless disclose what it is, but a lease has been signed for a new small organization that is opening up by early summer,” Mitchell stated.

Very last calendar year, he procured and is renovating previous To start with Baptist Church attributes at 3 and 5 Park St. The setting up at 3 Park is a duplex which is occupied by tenants and the more substantial constructing at 5 Park, which options large home windows, standard crown molding and fireplaces, is becoming renovated into two big flats.

“Between the 57 Most important St. and Park Road houses, we have been incredibly hectic with renovations and are bringing both of those of those people homes back to the grandeur they as soon as had,” he stated.

He reported he is committed and wanting forward to renovating and restoring structures downtown for the in general good of revitalization.

“I’ve been very privileged,” he reported. “I was born in Waterville and elevated in Waterville and went to college below. I have extremely, incredibly deep roots below. My family has pretty deep roots in this neighborhood.”

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