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New Owners Have High Hopes For Commercial Block

Stamatos Property Management Co. takes over historic Main Street building.

It's been a long, hard winter for the businesses and residential tenants of 95-117 Main Street, but with the start of spring comes new building management and hopes for new economic growth.

With a bid for $300,000, Stamatos Property Management, a company based in Jamaica Plain, MA, bought the structure, a hulking three-story building better known as the Commercial Block from IB Property Management. The building houses 10 of Main Street's storefronts, including , , and and has 16 apartments on the second floor.

Since the property was foreclosed upon by a Florida bank last August, tenants have watched the building succumb to neglect as piles of trash and unpaid utility bills make occupancy increasingly frustrating. 

"When you don't know the fate of the building, you don't know the fate of the business," said Marlene Gagnon, owner of Harlequin's, a small costume shop that has survived in the structure for more than 26 years. Gagnon described a difficult season as a tenant in limbo dealing with everything from lack of heating to the challenges of handling a water leak on the floor above her without management. "It's been difficult."

The Woonsocket Call reported last month that residential tenants had been given until May 1 to move out before eviction.

Christ Stamatos, a property manager for the company that purchased the building last week said he hopes to keep all of the remaining tenants. "We're trying to work with everyone to make sure they can stay there and not need to relocate," Stamatos said.

Built in 1902, the building is on the National Register of Historic Places and once housed a thriving marketplace on the now vacant third floor. The building's National Register nomination form states that "from 1902 until the late 1930s, the Commercial Block was occupied by a series of over 60 different tenants, including clothing, jewelry and variety stores, professional service-based companies, and/or individual proprietors." A city directory from 1962 lists 27 shops and professional offices including doctors, lawyers and real estate agencies, as well as   and Boy Scouts of America offices.

"It's a beautiful building. Our plan is to restore it, including interior renovations and updates to the heating system," Stamatos said. He envisions the building as a strong engine in the revival of Main Street. "We need to sit down with the city and see what we can do to create more business in the area." 

The property manager explained how a new set of third-floor tenants to patronize the local markets could help to attract more businesses. "We're looking at multiple options, but apartments would get more people living here and spending money in the square," Stamatos said.

Gagnon confirmed that she has seen a maintenance man for the new management company around the property this week and has heard work being done above her on the second floor.

"I just hope they don't raise the rent to something I can't afford, because I don't know what I'd do," Gagnon said.

Stamatos said he does not foresee a need for rent increases anytime soon. "I think the rent is about what it should be right now. We're looking to stabilize the building and even once things get going, it wouldn't be more than $25 or $50."

Gagnon is hopeful the new owners will be able to provide the building with some long overdue care. "It's sad. There's a lot of repair that needs to be done here," she said.

Asked if he finds the magnitude or scope of the required restoration intimidating, Stamatos explained that his property management company has handled projects of similar size in the past.

"I'm hoping the city is willing to work with us as we are with them to help get the area back to life again."     

Citi rezidant March 21, 2011 at 10:55 AM
Well let's hope that they don't allow dogs in the refurbished apartments. Those two huge pit bulls that live there now with their owner and who have destroyed the screens have got to go. They crap all over the sidewalk, and as someone who has to walk on the sidewalk it is disgusting! I have personally witnessed the owner take her dogs, across the street to the grassy area of the parking lot , let them do their business and leave. She doesn't clean up after them. I guess she leaves the clean up to the city workers that have to clean the lot.
Don L. March 21, 2011 at 01:03 PM
I think that lady and her dogs are part of Woonsocket's Beautification Committee.
CB11 March 21, 2011 at 02:54 PM
1)No matter how nice you make a place if you have ignorant, irresponsible tenants, you'll have people bitching in a couple of years that the place has gone to Hell & needs to be renovated! 2) Pit Bulls shouldn't be allowed an ANY apartment building - nevermind TWO - Oh, I know, "some are so tame, so friendly - they play with the children"...that's what they always say....and then the dog takes a chunk out of someone and everyone is soooo surprised because the dog "never did anything like that before"....! Pit Bulls are too big, powerful & unpredictable to be allowed in an apartment settings - I wouldn't want them living next door to me!
Don L. March 21, 2011 at 03:27 PM
People lived in the same neighborhood as Suzy Menard for years without ever being attacked by her. Pitbulls, like her, never harmed anyone, did she?
nunya March 21, 2011 at 06:27 PM
Spare us, Cheryl. Idiots like you that spread lies and give a breed a bad name should be put down. Pit bulls can be the most loving wonderful, family friendly pets when they are raised to be. The problem with this city is trash like you not pit bulls.
CB11 March 21, 2011 at 06:51 PM
If the breed was so damn safe, they wouldn't be BANNED to own in so many cities! I'm sure there are some good ones out there, but the breed has been overly inbred by people who don't know what they're doing as far as blood lines go. The same thing happened to Dobermans & German Shepards at one time. I have no problem with anyone in a private home owning as many as they want - but I don't want them living in an apartment right next to me! They are too powerful a dog. If they decide to "turn" there's virtually no way to fend them off. Reverting to calling me names like "idiot" and "trash" says alot about the type of person you are too!
Marlene Gagnon April 10, 2011 at 12:03 PM
As one of the store fronts in the Commercial Block, the news owners are not supplying heat to the building. We have not had heat for weeks. When the temperature goes down to 30 at night, the building is cold and damp in the morning. I have asked for the heat to be supplied for an hour in the morning to take out the chill but it is not happening. We are using electric heaters and my monthly electric bill is three times more than what is used to be. We have spent most of the winter with this problem before the new owners took over and I don't see much improvement. High hopes??????
give me a break April 10, 2011 at 08:27 PM
oh boy just what woonsocket needs more apartments, raise the taxe more and they shall come
David Villiard June 11, 2012 at 01:38 PM
Nothing has been done to improve the building as of June 2012. More unproductive members of society keep moving in, and it is getting worse and worse.
Russell Archambault June 11, 2012 at 04:45 PM
marlene when is the last time you paid rent ?? i feel so bad for you !!
David Villiard June 11, 2012 at 05:43 PM
Renaissance tattoo studio is looking to move for sure
Bob L. June 11, 2012 at 06:40 PM
Street fights, loitering, open drug dealing... All talk and no action from management of the building. This has bacome a blight on what's left of downtown.
Russell Archambault June 11, 2012 at 07:22 PM
would like to know name of the manager of this place. ive seen many new owners come into this city. they all get an education, and they leave. the only people that could even have a chance to get anywhere to get this place in shape is a guy like me or associates of mine. its not easy, and im too tired, the new owners wont be here long. they will take the write- offs and leave the city and this property in distress again. in my 40 years in this business ive seen it a hundred or so times. place your bets!
David Villiard June 11, 2012 at 11:59 PM
Gary only put a $200,000 offer.
David Villiard June 12, 2012 at 12:01 AM
Mulveys's may be an option, butnim also looking into another building nearby, but not in woonsocket. It's getting bad in Woonsocket. Too many freeloaders not paying taxes n
Adrienne Lee Alvarado December 14, 2012 at 04:58 AM
This building is also haunted

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