NATICK — Built c. 1880, the red brick-faced building located at 13 West Central Street in Natick has the distinction of being one of several landmark properties in the Natick Center Historic District. At the end of the 19th century, it was home to Cleland, Healy and Underwood Furniture Co, a former Natick treasure.
After World War I, it housed the Natick District Court. As early as 1946, when the American Legion resided on the second floor, war veterans were flocking to its doors.
And who can forget that F.W. Woolworth Company leased the first floor of the building in the 1940’s until 1960. Sadly, this well-known downtown building, which has been subject to deferred maintenance and largely vacant for the past several years, has fallen into disrepair.
Stonegate Group, a Natick-based real estate development company, has submitted plans to revitalize this once-thriving building known to many in town as the “American Legion Building”. Stonegate purchased the property in September of 2015, and has partnered with Lim Design Studio, a Boston-based architectural firm, to prepare plans to redevelopment the property.
“We are proud to be involved in bringing life back to this prominent Natick landmark,” said Sean McGrath, president of Stonegate. He stated that the redevelopment plan calls for a mixed-use building that includes eleven one- and two-bedroom units, as well as up to four retail spaces.
“Our goal is to bring one or two restaurants, with outdoor seating, to this property,” McGrath stated. “We think it will add to the ever-growing vibrant downtown landscape.” He added that the plan also includes an underground parking lot with 14 spaces.
According to McGrath, Stonegate hopes to return the building to its former glory. Plans call for the deteriorated façade storefronts to be restored to their historic configuration, replacing the current recessed, angled storefronts and mid-20th century pedestrian entrance with three separate entry units for one or more restaurants and/or local businesses. All of the brickwork will be reconditioned wherever possible, and any deteriorated brickwork replicated as needed. The rear, non-historic mid-20th century and 1960’s additions to the building will be demolished and replaced with a three-story addition, but McGrath was quick to add that the aesthetic of the new structure will remain consistent with its historic roots.
“We are confident that this will become a gem in Downtown Natick, and we look forward to working with the Town of Natick as we refine our plans,” McGrath said.
On February 22nd, the Natick Zoning Board of Appeals will hear Stonegate’s request for a variance in order to move forward with its mixed-use development of the property.
Stonegate Group, LLC is a leading developer and manager of residential and commercial properties. Stonegate Group, LLC also owns and manages over 500 residential units and over 400,000 square feet of commercial space throughout the MetroWest area and has been a leading provider of rental housing for close to 30 years.