Lorraine Fabrics building to be sold

Lorraine Fabrics building to be sold

Lorraine Fabrics is expected to stay open following the planned sale of its building at 593 Mineral Ave.

PAWTUCKET – Lorraine Fabrics, an old-time fabric store and a destination for everyone from clothing designers to crafters in the city for decades, is expected to stay open following the planned sale of its building at 593 Mineral Ave.

Developer Jonathan Savage and his 593 Mineral Spring Avenue Associates LLC are intending to purchase the four-story building and convert the top three floors into artisan live/work spaces, according to a petition to rezone the land from Savage and the current owner, David Taylor.

The mixed-use facility, on 42,000 square feet of property, would have commercial retail space on the first floor, which is where Taylor would maintain his fabric store. There would be light manufacturing on the basement level.

Savage is owner of the Lorraine Mills across the street from Lorraine Fabrics at 560 Mineral Spring Ave., where he has achieved success finding a wide mix of tenants, including a number of breweries.

Michael Horan, in a memo to the City Council, is requesting a zone change from industrial use to a much more flexible Mill Building Reuse District designation. That request goes before the Ordinance Committee Wednesday evening, Aug. 8.

According to the proposal, the property has been cited by the city numerous times for alleged fire code violations, and there are pending proceedings in Pawtucket Municipal Court and before the Rhode Island Fire Safety Code Appeals Board.

“The (costs) to correct these alleged deficiencies are very substantial,” wrote Horan.

Savage is willing to make the necessary expensive repairs to make the property compliant with fire codes and to convert it into a mixed-use building, said Horan. The building is currently used for fabric storage on all floors.

Taylor and 593 Mineral Spring Avenue Associates LLC have a written purchase and sale agreement in place, said Horan.

Taylor declined to say much about the proposed sale this week, but said he’s hopeful that it allows him to keep Lorraine Fabrics open “hopefully forever.”

One tenant that is set to leave Savage’s nearby 560 Mineral Spring Ave. property soon is another textile-based company, the Colonial Mills, which was highlighted in last week’s edition of The Breeze for being featured at the White House. Representatives from the company have said they expect to move to a new location in Rumford, Mass., next spring.

Lorraine Fabrics, which bills itself as the “largest and most complete discount fabric outlet,” has long had a sprawling presence on multiple floors of its building.

The Breeze reported six years ago that Taylor had secured a new mortgage after publicly slamming the bank that held the store’s loan for failing to renew it.