WOONSOCKET – A new owner is planning to redevelop the Bonin Spinning Mill property on Mendon Road, beginning with the demolition of the existing structure, according to Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt.
Baldelli-Hunt said the city has been approached by an investor who is interested in redeveloping the property for commercial use. City tax records indicate the property sold on Aug. 19 for $467,375.
“There’s a new owner, and he’s doing some asbestos removal now,” she told The Breeze. “The land where the main structure is, he’s planning on constructing a building.”
Baldelli-Hunt said the new owner is planning to level the main mill structure, with the demolition expected to begin in about three weeks. Two smaller buildings on the property, she said, will be left standing. Though no formal plans have been submitted to the city yet, Baldelli-Hunt said the owner is considering different commercial options and is not planning a residential development.
“I think he has a vision for it,” she said.
Though she declined to name the investor, city property records indicate the building was purchased by 1265 Mendon LLC, a limited liability company incorporated last year. Melissa D’Ellena, an East Greenwich-based attorney listed as the manager and registered agent of the company, did not return a request for comment.
Bonin Spinning has long stood as one of the city’s most blighted mill properties, with collapsed portions of the building visible from Mendon Road. Leo Beaudoin Jr. previously owned the structure and purchased it in 2005, according to city records. In 2017, a lien on the property was put up for tax sale for failure to pay real estate taxes.
In 2011, police broke up a warehouse party attended by more than 100 people in the main mill building, arresting 56 people for trespassing.
In 2016, a newly developed Dollar General opened in the space in front of the building, but the main mill property has continued to deteriorate with little visible investment. Baldelli-Hunt said asbestos remediation in the building has been ongoing.
“When you’re talking about major buildings like that that have been in a problematic state for a long period of time, the investment increases significantly,” she said.
The Bonin Spinning proposal is one of several that will be entertained by city officials in the coming months. A pair of Franklin, Mass.-based developers recently pitched a plan to redevelop the Hospital Trust building on Main Street into apartments, and the city Zoning Board also heard from a New York-based group planning to convert the former Bernon Mills into apartments.
“This is a different picture than it was five or six years ago,” Baldelli-Hunt said.