Leshinsky, Rich seek to redevelop 217 Main St.

Leshinsky, Rich seek to redevelop 217 Main St.

Investors are looking to buy 217 Main St. in Pawtucket.

PAWTUCKET – As former co-owner of The Guild brewery on Main Street, Michael Leshinsky is intimately familiar with Pawtucket and what it has to offer.

Leshinsky told The Breeze he’s never given up his dream of doing his own private development in the downtown area, even after owners of The Times building at 23 Exchange St. yanked a purchase and sales agreement that would have seen his redevelopment project two years ago. That project was intended to include The Gamm, but when it fell through the theater group gave up plans to stay in Pawtucket and subsequently moved to Warwick.

The Breeze learned this week that Leshinsky and a business partner are the two men behind the planned purchase of 217 Main St. and 25 Maple St., owned by Narragansett Bay Insurance Company, which moved to Johnston last year. Leshinsky said he and Rich are planning a mix of retail and office space across from The Grant at 250 Main St., where developer Leslie Moore is creating an indoor mini mall.

Leshinsky said he and business partner John Rich, both of Massachusetts, are in a 90-day due diligence period set to conclude at the end of July. He said he’s poured good money into an environmental study, schematic designs and other aspects of the project.

“I’m very much still interested in Pawtucket,” he said. “I’ve been trying to get people to share my excitement, and I think I’ve found a really good partner who believes in my thinking that Pawtucket has a lot of upside.”

If all goes well, he said, he and Rich could continue pursuing other properties in the downtown area. The coming train station nearby certainly can’t hurt those efforts, he said.

“I’m hoping it will work out and we can bring good business to the downtown,” he said.

There are at least a dozen interested tenants, Leshinsky said.

The first floor of 217 Main St., former home of Anchor Recovery, is great for retail and commercial spaces, he said, while the second floor is ideal for office uses. Both floors are the ground floor depending on the direction one comes at the building.

Mayor Donald Grebien said he’s excited to welcome this planned investment in the downtown by Leshinsky and Rich.

“This is one example of developers who have stepped up and decided to make an investment spurred in part by the designation of the downtown as an opportunity zone and by some of the recent changes to the zoning of the downtown,” he said. “We hope that this is the first of many such investments. We will be working closely with the developers to do whatever we can to support their redevelopment plan for the downtown.”

The Breeze reported in April about how the downtown’s federal opportunity zone offers tax benefits to investors. Officials have also established new zoning guidelines designed to promote more beneficial redevelopment of the area.

Leshinsky said he sees a potential restaurant coming to the windowed first floor of 217 Main St., across from the city’s newly improved parking garage. He said he’s open to whatever makes sense in that space, and wants to see “nice, positive” tenants that draw other tenants. The top floor is really great for professional businesses that want to move in. He said companies interested in the space would bring high-paying jobs to the area.

The developer is also interested in potentially bringing his own Leshinsky Finance offices from East Providence to the Main Street Pawtucket property.

A pending sale price was not disclosed.

The property at 25 Maple St. lists 15,000 square feet of rentable space, up for sale at $799,000. A listing for 217-235 Main St. shows a price tag of $1 million for about 22,000 square feet of space.

The developers would do significant improvements to the property, said Leshinsky, including exterior upgrades to the Main Street façade.