Gately building

also known as Chamber of Commerce Building, M. J. Gallagher building, Old Colonial Bank

This 3-story flatiron 1920s commercial building was vacant for more than 20 years

About this Property


This handsome flatiron-style, trapezoidal building sat vacant and in decay for over 20 years before finally finding an organization that would follow through on a proposal. After three unsuccessful RFP processes, the Pawtucket Redevelopment Agency (PRA) found a new owner and development partner in the Pawtucket Citizens Development Corporation (PCDC)

In 2005, PRA chose “Chef Walter” Potenza’s proposal to site a cooking school, café and other uses at the site, but Potenza later dropped out due to inability to secure construction financing.

In 2007, Platt Realty of Providence and AI Design, headquartered for years in downtown Pawtucket, partnered in a proposal which PRA picked over three competitors. The estimated $2.9 million would have brought office and retail with a new headquarters for AI Design on the top two floors. While accepted by the PRA, the proposal never moved forward.

Current Events

In 2015-2016 the Gately building finally got a makeover and is now home to ground-floor retail, a community room, and 12 residential apartments with income restrictions geared towards those who quality for affordable-rate housing.

The Gately building was the launching pad for a state-bond referendum in 2016 to support more affordable housing. Governor Gina Raimondo said at the event:

that “everybody wins” when there’s more affordable housing available in Rhode Island. “We can’t expect our children to learn or our workers to succeed without a warm, safe, affordable place to come home to at night.”1


from the National Register nomination form, 2011, prepared by Edward Connors and Associates

The Gately Building is a three-story, steel frame, flat-roofed brick building on a granite foundation standing on the western edge of the central commercial and civic center of Pawtucket, a short distance west of the Downtown Pawtucket National Register Historic District. To its immediate west is the concentration of industrial properties that comprise the Church Hill National Register Industrial District. The plan of this building is essentially that of a right triangle with small truncations at the north and east corners (see Additional Information, Figure 1). This flatiron configuration is an artifact of the former alignment of Main Street at its intersection with Bayley and Dexter Streets and a party wall originally shared with the Cottrell Building (which has been demolished).

The building provides approximately 5,000 square feet of space on each floor. The upper floors are accessed by west doorways that lead to a stairwell and elevator. These upper floors have been subdivided in changing configurations over seventy years of professional, retail, government, and light industrial tenancy. The undifferentiated brick rear (westernmost) wall of the building was a party wall shared with the now-demolished Cottrell Building. The most recent and longest duration use of the ground floor was that of retail banking (1935-1993). The building has been vacant since 1993.

Edward & Annie Gately

Edward Gately (1853-1904) established a furniture store in Boston area sometime before 1900 and, by 1904, had expanded to the sale of ready-to-wear clothing, with locations in other cities in the northeast. After Gately’s death in 1904, his wife, Annie E. (Brennan) Gately (b. 1854) continued to expand the clothing operation. In 1911, Annie Gately announced the intention to build next door to her retail operation a four-story commercial building on a triangular lot. The Cottrell Block, also a commercial block fronting on Main Street (built ca. 1890), shared a party wall with the existing carriage works of Bernard McCabe and that agreement was extended to Annie Gately at the time of her purchase in 1912.

Annie retained local architect Albert H. Humes as superintendent of construction, it is unknown whether he also designed the building. Between purchasing the property in 1912 and starting construction, the building was scaled down to three stories. The roughly 15,000 square foot Gately Building provided four street level storefronts with access from Main Street and Bayley Street. Because of the flatiron shape of the building, three of the store plans were dogleg-shaped while the easternmost and most prominent store at the narrow end of the building was five-sided in plan. Entrance to the upper floor offices and commercial space was gained by entryways on both Main and Bayley Streets at the westerly end of the building. These glazed storefronts were trimmed in a combination of simple iron and pressed metal elements.

The Chamber of Commerce Building (1919-1929) and M.J. Gallagher Building (1929-1935)

In 1919 the name of the Gately Building was changed to the Chamber of Commerce Building to represent that organization’s leasing of the entire second floor. Established in 1899, by 1915 the organization had downtown offices in the Slater Trust Building. “Feeling the necessity of larger and more commodious quarters,” the organization set up offices and meeting space on the second floor of the former Gately Building.

Although the E. Gately Clothing Company remained next door at the Cottrell Block until 1923, Mrs. Gately appears to have had financial difficulty in the operation of the commercial block. M.J. Gallagher, a Pawtucket real estate and insurance entrepreneur, provided a mortgage to Annie Gately in 2921; default followed in 1935. In 1929, with default imminent, the buildings name changed to the M.J. Gallagher building for the next few years.

Old Colony Cooperative Bank Building (1935-1993)

The Old Colony Cooperative Bank traces its roots to 1895. In 1935, the bank set up offices in the east storefront (no. 335) of what came to be called the Old Colony Bank Building. Old Colony continued to occupy this single storefront until 1940 when it doubled its space, occupying the neighboring storefront at 339 Main Street. By 1955 Old Colony occupied the entire ground floor. The current exterior appearance of the building’s ground floor resulted from this consolidation of the four formerly separate storefronts into one bank.

Bank of New England acquired Old Colony Cooperative Bank in 1986 and was itself acquired by Citizens Bank in late 1990. Citizens continued to operate this branch office until 1993. The closing of this branch can likely be attributed to the decline in the city’s downtown and the desire on the part of banks to follow population movement to the suburbs, erecting branch banks with ample parking space, drive-up windows, and automatic teller machines.

The Gately Building was purchased by Pawtucket entrepreneur Louis Yip in 1998 and acquired by the Pawtucket Redevelopment Agency in 2004. The building [had] been vacant since 1993. In 2004, as part of the rehabilitation and reuse of the neighboring Parkin Yarn building (renamed Bayley Lofts), a portion of Main Street was realigned to provide parking for the area’s businesses and residents. The Gately Building stands as an important visual reminder and landmark of the western edge of this historic downtown.

In the News

Pride being restored to historic Gately Building

by Ethan Shorey
Valley Breeze | March 17, 2015 (abridged)

PCDC converting it into affordable apartments

One of the downtown’s most unique structures, the historic Gately Building at 335 Main St., is being remade into a hip new housing complex, according to those behind it.

The Pawtucket Citizens Development Corporation (PCDC) is responsible for yet another rehab of an old building. This one will bring 13 rental units, a community room and a culinary arts center for the Amos House to the triangular structure.

PCDC’s Director of Construction Management Kim Pereira said significant planning has gone into making the modern version of this 1914 building one the city can be proud of. She said it will further transform the downtown area into a more desirable place to live.

Pereira said workers are doing a “tremendous job” restoring the building, paying attention to every detail as they make sure the historic character is maintained.

Ron Caniglia, president of Stand Corp., said his company is responsible for this project and nine other PCDC rehabs in the area. Each unit at 335 Main St. will be different, said Caniglia, with six units each on the second and third floors. Though six unique apartments will mirror each other on each floor, the windows in each will be different, he said.

Though it won’t be done until June, the building has already had quite a transformation, said Caniglia, with framed new units taking the place of a rotting and moldy interior. The inside is already full of light, with huge windows, he said.

There are mostly residential units here, said Caniglia, but it will still have the feel it had when offices filled the space. The Old Colony Bank previously operated out of here and the building also housed a dentist office and offices for The Providence Journal at one point.

State and federal historic tax credits are helping to make this project a reality, said Pereira. She and Caniglia wouldn’t put an exact cost on the project.

The Pawtucket Redevelopment Agency (PRF) had long sought to find a tenant for the building, putting it out for proposals three separate times. The PCDC’s plan works for a number of reasons, said Pereira. She said she expects young professionals to be the primary residents in the building. The organization is marketing the building to “urban entrepreneurs.”

[…] The exterior renovation of the building will essentially restore it to its earliest appearance, according to Pereira.

There is already a long list of applicants looking to live in the apartments, said Pereira. Tenants will be taken on a first-come basis based on income guidelines for affordable housing.

[…] Rents here will be $600 a month, said Pereira.

[…] City officials say the restoration of the Gately Building and other PCDC projects in the area fit with their goals for more residential units to support a growing business base in the area. Trendy places like Machines with Magnets and the Shri Yoga Studio will continue to attract young professionals to the area, they say.

The other nine ongoing PCDC projects in the area include housing units at 17 Cherry St., 169 Barton St., 6 Cherry St., 32 Barton St., 101 Barton St., 15 Jackson St., 262 High St., 123 Montgomery St., all in Pawtucket, and 127 Earle St. in Central Falls.

Captured from the Valley Breeze, December 17 2020.

  1. “Gately Building highlighted as affordable housing success story,” Ethan Shorey, Valley Breeze, September 20, 2016. Captured December 17, 2020 from