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SoNo Building's Overhaul Is Nearly Complete

NORWALK, Conn. – A prominent corner in South Norwalk is getting a major facelift this weekend: Improvements to The Avrick Building are being unveiled, plank by plank, as the scaffolding that has obscured the historic building at Washington Street and Main Street is taken down.

"By Tuesday it should be all done," said Joe Criscuolo, co-owner since late 2009 of what used to be Avrick Furniture , a landmark building at 16 N. Main St. Nearly $5 million in bank financing has been invested in restoring the building to its 1920s appearance, he said.

Steven Winter Associates is set to move into the second floor office space by Aug. 1. Eight luxury apartments are on the third floor with monthly rents ranging from $1,500 to $3,600. "Pretty much the building is all rented," he said. "I'm looking for the eight apartments, but they should rent really quickly." Criscuolo expects to bring Brazilian food to South Norwalk with Braza , a successful restaurant in Hartford, on the ground level.

He and brother Aldo Criscuolo spent about six months planning after they bought the building. The scaffolding has been up for about a year, he said. "Finances have been tough, but we got it," he said. "It's been an adventure. All the obstacles in construction basically came up."

They had some pleasant surprises, too. "When we took off the plywood, we found the original windows were 10 feet by 12," he said. "We kept the original design. We restored the building to all its original moldings. We restored it to the exact look it had in the 1920s. ... I'm really proud of it and I think we could win awards when we're done, because it's been a great amount of work to restore it to what it was."

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