Images of this Property
12 images: Press to view larger or scroll sideways to see more. Contribution from the Pawtucket Library on Flickr
About this Property
The striking presence at the top of Summer Street next to the Pawtucket Library has been underutilized since the 1990s. The ground floor was storage space for Major Electric, but the upper floors have been boarded up while architectural details like the metal roof cornice have deteriorated. Across the street from the Pawtucket Times building and also near the gateway Beswick Building, a redevelopment of this structure into something more vibrant would bring a lot of new life to downtown Pawtucket.
Indeed, that is the plan of developers Michael Leshinsky and Nicholas D’Agnillo of Nexus Property Management. Owners of the building since 2014, they have been seeking financing and funding packages to turn the derelict building into apartments. The ground floor commercial space has already been converted to office space for Nexus and has hosted community events before the pandemic of 2020-2021.
Construction on apartments was scheduled to begin in the summer of 2021.
The large former neon sign for Feldman’s Furniture has been replaced by a large vertical sign for the new owner, Nexus Property Management. They are in the process of renovating the building and turning the upper floors into apartments.
“How Do The Beasts Groan” is a Biblical reference, and it might have referred to the horses that were stored in the first story of the building when it was a livery. Stables for 176 horses filled the first floor and carriages were available for hire 24 hours a day.
From the National Register nomination for the Downtown Pawtucket Historic District, Kathy Cavanaugh, 2006
21–23 Summer Street (also 49–59 North Union Street) HENRY F. ARNOLD LIVERY STABLE, also SUMMER STREET STABLES, later FELDMAN FURNITURE BUILDING (1892; altered mid-late 20th century).
A 3 story, flat roof, red brick, very large and irregularly massed Late Victorian style commercial building with 1 storefront at the corner of North Union and Summer Streets. The southwest corner of the building is beveled and features a 2-story neon “Feldman Furniture” sign at the 2nd and 3rd floor levels. The foundation is painted granite; granite belt courses wrap around the southwest corner above the storefront and at the cornice line, which features a heavy bracketed metal cornice; there are two brick chimneys visible above the North Union Street roofline.
A modern storefront at the southwest corner on the 1st floor level wraps around both street façades, and is painted white; the metal-framed plate glass windows have opaque colored glass bulkheads and transoms. On the Summer Street façade, 2nd floor windows are wood 2/2 double hung sash, and all 3rd floor windows are boarded up. All window openings are trimmed with granite lintels and sills.
The North Union Street elevation is divided into 6 flat-planed sections, following the curve of the street. Reading from west to east (from Summer Street toward High Street), the 1st section includes the corner storefront; above that, 2nd floor windows are paired wood 1/1 double hung sash, and all 3rd floor windows are boarded up; a terra cotta sign inscribed “How Do The Beasts Groan” (a Biblical verse) is attached between the 2nd and 3rd floor levels. The 2nd section east of Summer Street is slightly recessed from the plane of the 1st and 3rd sections; the 1st floor level has brick infill around pairs of wood 1/1 windows with concrete sills; the upper floor levels are clad in wood, with swags below the 2nd floor windows, raised panels below the 3rd floor windows, and brick corbelling above. The remaining sections are red brick, with two extant garage doors and one infilled garage or loading door, and mostly pairs of wood 1/1 double hung sash windows on the upper floors.
Ghosts of painted signs for “Arnold Garage” and “Feldman’s Furniture” can be seen on this elevation. Henry F. Arnold was the proprietor of the Broad Street stables in 1891, when he first appears in city directories; an advertisement boasts “37 fine livery horses, and almost every description of carriage,” available 24 hours a day. In 1892 Arnold took his son Frank on as a partner, and moved the stables to this new building (the largest of its kind in the city), with 176 horse stalls on the ground floor and two floors of carriage storage above. The stables were accessed from North Union Street, while the three storefronts on Summer Street were occupied by various small, mostly auto-related businesses. In 1921, H.M. Arnold & Son Co. converted this building to a vehicular garage, and maintained that business until 1940. In 1945 Feldman’s Furniture Co. moved in, with retail space on Summer Street and storage on North Union; Feldman remains in this location but no longer maintains a retail presence here.
#In the News
Construction set to begin at Nexus Lofts this summer
by Melanie Thibeault
Valley Breeze | June 29, 2021 (abridged)
A new brownfields loan is set to aid in the development of 27 residential units at the former Feldman Furniture building in downtown Pawtucket.
The Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank announced earlier this month the approval of a $400,000 loan from the Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund to finance environmental remediation work as part of the Nexus Lofts redevelopment project, located at 49 North Union St., according to a press release.
As part of the project, developer Michael Leshinsky and representatives from Nexus Property Development are seeking to create 27 residential units in the former Feldman Furniture building, which was built in 1898 and has sat mostly vacant for decades. Originally built as horse stables, it later became a car garage, then the warehouse for Major Electric Company, and then a furniture store.
“This brownfields loan is a critical part of our overall project financing and site redevelopment plan,” Leshinsky said. “We want to thank the team at the Infrastructure Bank for working with us to finance the site remediation we need to complete in order to unlock the full potential of our Nexus Lofts project.”
It took a year to find a lender who was willing to help, he said, adding that the brownfields loan is making it that much more possible to complete the redevelopment. “We’re thankful we are going to be able to do this,” he said. “I don’t think we could have done it without (the loan).”
The state of Rhode Island has a long history of industrial properties that have environmental issues, Jeffrey Diehl, CEO of Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank, told The Breeze. Through these brownfields loans, “we’ve been working with developers and others around the state to assist in developing some of these properties” that are blighted.
With this particular project, the loan will assist in bringing the building up to standard and with removing and transporting asbestos from the property, he said, with the goal to spur future development in the surrounding buildings.
Officials at the Infrastructure Bank think the Nexus Lofts project will help to provide affordable housing in the city and continue to revitalize a neighborhood that “is really undergoing a lot of change,” Diehl said. “We think (the project) is consistent with our mission overall in terms of trying to drive economic development through infrastructure. … We are pleased to help finance a portion of this key project for the continued revitalization of downtown Pawtucket.”
In November of 2019, the Pawtucket City Council approved a 10-year tax agreement with Nexus Holdings for the project, The Breeze previously reported, with developers saying the deal was necessary to raise the capital needed for the project. At the time, Commerce Director Jeanne Boyle said that the $7.5 million project represents the “largest investment in recent memory” for the city’s downtown.
The redevelopment will include 27 affordable market-rate units for rent as well as indoor parking and office and event space on the ground floor, Leshinsky said. Before the pandemic, comedy shows and other events, such as awards ceremonies, were held in the space, he said.
After delays caused by the pandemic, construction is expected to start this August or September and last approximately one year, Leshinsky said. Because it’s a historic rehabilitation, crews will be restoring the building to its original appearance, keeping any interesting or unique features in place, he said. The goal is to have the one- and two-bedroom units available to rent starting next August, he said. Market rents are expected to be between $1,100 and $1,500.
“That’s what I enjoy most: taking these old beautiful buildings and preserving them,” he told The Breeze.
A big fan of both Pawtucket and historic rehabs, he said he hopes once complete, the redevelopment will stir more activity in the area. “We’re excited,” he said. “I’m a big Pawtucket advocate.”
Captured August 12, 2021 from https://www.valleybreeze.com/2021-06-29/pawtucket/construction-set-begin-nexus-lofts-summer