Previous Larsen’s constructing in Waterville will get ‘top-to-bottom’ renovation and will property nutrition keep


Bill Mitchell stands Friday in the entryway to his newly renovated residence at the corner of Popular and Most important streets in downtown Waterville. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel WATERVILLE — Businessman Bill Mitchell is once again investing in downtown as aspect of revitalization initiatives, this time renovating a historic making […]

Bill Mitchell stands Friday in the entryway to his newly renovated residence at the corner of Popular and Most important streets in downtown Waterville. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

WATERVILLE — Businessman Bill Mitchell is once again investing in downtown as aspect of revitalization initiatives, this time renovating a historic making at the corner of Major and Prevalent streets that formerly was property to Larsen’s Jewelry.

The three-tale making at 57 Key St. that Mitchell bought in 2019 will household Elm Metropolis Nourishment on the floor flooring in the previous jewelry retail store area on or in close proximity to April 1. The higher two floors characteristic a superior-conclude apartment on each and every floor. The nutrition store, owned by Anna Curtis, will give healthful smoothies, teas and related offerings.

“I consider it’s likely to be a good addition for downtown, and it is a ideal area for that style of business enterprise,” Mitchell mentioned Friday. “We’re incredibly energized to have that downtown, and I consider it is likely to be obtained actually perfectly as we get into spring and summertime. I’m optimistic she will be actually productive in her endeavor.”

Mitchell purchased the constructing in 2019 at the exact time the jewelry retailer closed, and he introduced an extensive prime-to-base renovation. He remembers that, when he was a little one all through the holiday seasons, a speaker on a balcony of the creating would enjoy Christmas songs.

“It’s a landmark setting up in our downtown, and it deserves to be brought again,” he stated. “I’m actually, seriously thrilled to be component of that.”

As aspect of renovations, employees taken off the facade, exposing a indicator that says “A Wolman.” Arlington Wolman built the constructing in 1912 just after the past setting up on the website, regarded as the Krutzky Block, was destroyed by hearth in 1911, in accordance to Mitchell. Wolman opened a smoke store on the floor flooring that marketed tobacco, peppermints and gum — a mix that was prevalent in smoke stores and served to mask the odor of smoke right after patrons employed tobacco, Mitchell said.

He plans to identify the structure “The Wolman Setting up,” he claimed.

Mitchell owns GHM Insurance coverage Agency upcoming doorway to the setting up on Major Street, as perfectly as two buildings on Typical Avenue, like the previous Masonic Setting up, which he procured in 2015 just after Colby College or university and the town declared the downtown revitalization energy. Mitchell renovated the structures into offices and organizations, such as The Good Pig restaurant, which he co-owns. Mitchell owns the overall block with the exception of Al Hodsdon’s building, 10 Frequent St., at the corner of Front Street.

Mitchell just lately positioned a bronze plaque on his insurance constructing in memory of his late father, Paul, who also owned GHM and was a authentic estate developer who headed up the City Renewal Venture in the 1960s and ’70s. Mitchell ideas to erect equivalent plaques on The Wolman Developing in honor of Arlington Wolman, as perfectly as on his two Frequent Road structures, to honor the prior proprietor, Michael Nawfel, who practiced dentistry for several a long time there.

“I just imagine it’s a wonderful touch,” Mitchell said. “These fellas were icons in their working day. I glance at Mr. Wolman, a true entrepreneur, an icon in Waterville in his day. I’ll be naming people two structures on Frequent to Dr. Nawfel. He really should be remembered, I think. To the extent I’m equipped to bring some of that recognition again for these great individuals that did good points in downtown in their working day, I imagine they have earned it.”

Mitchell was component of conferences in 2014 headed up by Colby President David Greene and businesspeople, metropolis officials, arts advocates and representatives of nonprofit businesses to start downtown revitalization initiatives. They established that in order to have a vibrant downtown, persons will have to be residing and functioning there. Vacant and dilapidated properties essential to be resolved and the arts supported and strengthened, they explained.

Colby has due to the fact invested millions of dollars in downtown, making a resort and household complicated on Principal Road, renovating a building for business and retail house at the corner of Major and Appleton streets, and an additional on Primary Avenue for an arts collaborative. Get the job done on the future Paul J. Schupf Artwork Heart is scheduled to start this calendar year on Main Avenue.

The notion was that with Colby’s investments, other traders would stick to fit. Mitchell was one of the very first to do so.

“You start off to see additional and additional people buying and redeveloping and occupying properties with smaller corporations and residential and it can take on a life of its have,” Mitchell said. “The affect of the revitalization actually starts off to shift the economics so that it is able to self-maintain.”

Mitchell commended Greene for following through on a vision, and the Alfond family and foundations for investing intensely in the downtown and in other places.

“I have a incredibly significant regard for David Greene,” Mitchell reported. “He not only was a visionary and could articulate that vision pretty clearly and properly, but the true kicker with David is that he then understands how to execute the system. Execution is genuinely tough and David’s definitely superior at it. From the incredibly to start with meetings that we had, appear at what he’s attained in the downtown. It’s extraordinary how effectively he executed the program.”

Mayor Jay Coelho commended Mitchell Friday for his revitalization initiatives.

“I assume Billy’s been a fantastic man or woman to have in Waterville,” Coelho reported. “He’s a person who cares about the town. He’s been involved. He’s certainly a neighborhood leader, and we need a lot more persons like Monthly bill to action up.”

Furthermore, Kimberly N. Lindlof, president and chief govt officer of the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce, mentioned Mitchell’s endeavours at establishing qualities, significantly housing, is required and most welcome at a time when the city wants it.

“One of the best items about locating out that Invoice Mitchell is executing a challenge is that you know it’s going to be a marked enhancement over what is there now,” Lindlof mentioned. “He’s likely to do it right and the end result is likely to be truly great. He’s accomplished a wonderful work with the tasks he normally takes on.”


Mitchell acquired a ton from his father about how to acquire a system and see it to fruition. Paul Mitchell oversaw a substantial redevelopment work, the City Renewal Project, in Waterville some 50 decades ago, while Invoice Mitchell was rising up. The elder Mitchell also labored in authentic estate growth, in addition to insurance policies.

As element of Urban Renewal, dilapidated buildings alongside Charles Street, which ran by what is now The Concourse in the heart of the city, ended up razed, as were being these on the riverbank off Front Street known as Head of Falls. Paul Mitchell also aided to bring in Zayre section retailer to The Concourse when such substantial merchants ended up coming into manner. Cottle’s grocery retail store moved from Most important Road to The Concourse.

As portion of City Renewal function, Paul Mitchell was instrumental in rerouting millions of gallons of storm h2o and snow melt so it went right to the Kennebec River alternatively of going through sewer strains to the processing plant, preserving the town millions of dollars in sewer service fees, according to Monthly bill Mitchell.

“As a boy, I saw my father accomplishing that sort of operate, and it was constantly of wonderful fascination to me to aid have an understanding of the approach,” Mitchell, now 59, reported. “My father worked in real estate enhancement. It is kind of in my DNA a minimal little bit, and I get pleasure from the genuine estate development element of my work.”

Mitchell owns and manages 18 homes and 25 structures in Waterville, which include The Elm at 21 Faculty Ave. which he transformed from a previous American Legion corridor into an event heart. He owns Penny Hill Park, a expert office complex at 295 Kennedy Memorial Drive, as nicely as KMD Plaza throughout the avenue, which homes Dairy Queen, Verizon, Business and Seacoast Protection.

He owns a few structures at 220-224 Most important St., just south of Kennebec Cost savings Bank, and is currently undertaking renovations to 220 Primary.

“I just can’t but disclose what it is, but a lease has been signed for a new little company that is opening up by early summer time,” Mitchell mentioned.

Final calendar year, he bought and is renovating former First Baptist Church homes at 3 and 5 Park St. The building at 3 Park is a duplex which is occupied by tenants and the more substantial building at 5 Park, which characteristics big home windows, classic crown molding and fireplaces, is remaining renovated into two significant flats.

“Between the 57 Most important St. and Park Street houses, we’ve been very chaotic with renovations and are bringing each of all those attributes again to the grandeur they as soon as had,” he mentioned.

He said he is committed and wanting ahead to renovating and restoring structures downtown for the all round very good of revitalization.

“I’ve been incredibly privileged,” he reported. “I was born in Waterville and elevated in Waterville and went to faculty right here. I have quite, extremely deep roots in this article. My family has really deep roots in this neighborhood.”

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