SOUTHINGTON — The Factory Square building could be transformed from manufacturing to office, residential and retail space with the help of state tax credits.
During Monday’s meeting, the Town Council voted unanimously in favor of a letter of support to the state Historic Commission on behalf of the project.
If approved by the state, renovation work on the downtown building would be tax deductible.
Town Manager Mark Sciota said if the state approves the project, companies that contribute to the rehabilitation would get a “one-for-one” tax credit. The restoration work would have to conform to state preservation guidelines.
“The purpose is to preserve historic buildings,” Sciota said.
Mat Florian, president of Florian Properties and building owner, told councilors Monday that manufacturing has largely left or is in the process of leaving the building.
“Most of the factories that are there, one by one, they’ve been fading away,” he said.
He wants to replace them with retail, office, and residential space. While the building is about 80 percent occupied, Florian said much of it is underutilized. Vacancies will increase as manufacturers move to other locations.
Council Vice Chairwoman Dawn Miceli said the process is similar to the one followed by the Southington Community Cultural Arts group with the Gura Building; former town offices that now serve as the headquarters of the arts group.
“I think it’s terrific and I totally support this,” she said.
Chris Palmieri, council chairman, said Florian has renovated historic buildings in the center of town, such as 98 Main St., and was involved in the Gura Building restoration.
“Mat Florian has done a great job rehabbing many of our buildings in town,” he said. “I’m pleased to be able to maintain a historic building in our town and yet bring it up to standard so it’s a little more useable.”
While the council approved the letter of support, the Planning and Zoning Commission would have to approve any renovation plans.
“That’ll be a great asset to us if we can bring in some other new businesses,” Palmieri said.