Expanded Foundry 66 shared workspace set to open
Norwich — The Foundry 66 shared workspace in downtown Norwich is set to double in size at the former Norwich Bulletin building at 66 Franklin St., with seven new offices, 11 designated desks and open “flex space” areas in the second floor, mirroring the nearly 2-year-old facility on the first floor.
Several business representatives and city officials attended an open house tour Friday to see the facility that received its certificate of occupancy this week. Jill Fritzsche, community manager for Foundry 66, said some tenants in the mostly rented offices will start moving in next week. The first conference is scheduled for September, although finishing touches are not yet completed. She said 80 percent of the office space is pre-rented.
Foundry 66 has 26 business tenants in the first-floor facility, and that will grow to 54 when the second-floor phase two is fully occupied, Fritzsche said. Upstairs will have two new conference rooms, including one space suitable for a dance studio and dance classes. The former newspaper library, an enclosed vault, will be renovated into a media/video room.
The renovations are being funded by building owner Tim Owens, with the Norwich Community Development Corp., which runs Foundry 66, leasing the space. A third phase at the south end of the building complex is expected to include a local retail shared space, Fritzsche said.
New Foundry tenant Laura Harrington, who owns a local marketing business called Unify, moved into Foundry in April and has almost doubled her business during that brief time. Her business is hosting a planned beer festival at the Ponemah Mill in Taftville in October.
“I’ve met so many new people,” Harrington said. “It’s been like a family.”
Friday’s open house at Foundry 66 was aimed in part to show city aldermen the success of the Foundry 66 facility on the eve of a major vote Monday on a proposed 3.38 million downtown revitalization bond approved by voters in 2010. During Friday’s open house, NCDC President Robert Mills showcased successes of the downtown bond, as well as explained the separate expansion of the Foundry 66 shared workspace.
NCDC claims the 22.8 million in economic impact to downtown. The new bond would expand the program to other targeted areas of the city, including Taftville, Greeneville, Norwichtown and Thamesville, with half the money reserved for more work downtown.
The economic development package is just one issue on a busy 7:30 p.m. City Council meeting Monday at City Hall. Residents will get the chance to comment on the proposed 2.7 million bond ordinance to pay for a new police radio system. That measure also would be forwarded to voters for a Nov. 6 referendum if approved by the council.
Both the economic development ordinance and the police radios ordinance will require a two-thirds majority vote, with at least five aldermen voting in favor, to be approved and forwarded to referendum.
A third public hearing and expected vote will be held on an ordinance to cover spending deficits from the 2017-18 fiscal year that ended June 30, including the remaining 517,000 of the total 144,000 deficit in the city paid fire department overtime budget using the central city undesignated fund.
The deficit spending ordinance would not need a referendum.