NORWALK, Conn. – It didn't take long for a longstanding Norwalk building to be turned into a pile of bricks and twisted steel Wednesday, by all accounts.
"As soon as they came back from lunch, the whole thing came down in one shot," Norwalk Police Sgt. Joe Moquin, who was on an extra duty assignment on North Water Street, said of the Norwalk Co. building.
The building at 20 N. Water St. is being demolished by Amec Carting for Spinnaker Real Estate Partners Inc., which plans to build a 130,000-square-foot mixed-use development with 107 rental units, 17,500 square feet of retail space and 3,200 square feet of restaurant space on the ground floor, according to zoning commission minutes posted online.
Preservationists had hoped to save the old building with a last ditch appeal to the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development. While the state historic preservation office agreed that the former machine shop building was eligible to be put on the National Register of Historic Places as a "significant historic asset to the city of Norwalk," it was thought not to be feasible to save the building, according to a memo provided by Maya Lowenberg, DECD permit ombudsmen (attached below).
Jim Nichols, a resident of Shorefront Park, said he went to lunch in SoNo and came out to find all the bricks knocked off the building, with only the steel structure remaining.
He said it was sad to see the building go but said it was "just flat," not like other, more interesting, architectural buildings nearby. He trusts that the development's architects will replicate its character well.
"It's a 100-year-old building, and it's just not in keeping with what this area is trying to be," he said. "It's not a manufacturing facility, it's a neighborhood now and what they're going to do back here is just going to increase the value of the community."