Gateway Beswick Building will be transformed

Gateway Beswick Building will be transformed

The Beswick Building on Exchange Street, above, is getting a top-to-bottom restoration from three developers who plan to bring new companies to the city.

PAWTUCKET – The old Beswick Building, located at 3 Exchange St. at the gateway to the city and its downtown, has been sold to a group of three developers who plan to transform it into a modern center of commerce.

Cynthia Langlykke, Manny Cabral and Alain Noiset say they’re redoing this three-story building, covering 3,500 square feet of space on each floor, with hopes of helping the revival of the city’s downtown.

Langlykke said the owners plan to invest between $600,000 and $700,000 in the building, including the purchase and renovation. Property records show it was purchased by the group for $220,000 last October.

They are also in talks on a number of other properties in Pawtucket.

According to historical articles, the Beswick building was first built in 1891, but hasn’t received a significant overhaul since the 1940s. The building located at the intersection of Broad, Summer and Exchange streets was originally built for Frances Beswick and her son, Thomas. Its hall hosted dances for many years, and fraternal societies such as the Knights of Columbus and Knights of Pythias held meetings there. It was also a favorite gathering place for men who kept fit in Hugh Glancy’s old gym on the second floor. Glancy was a former featherweight champion of New England.

In one of its past incarnations, the Queen Anne-style building located in the Times Square area of Pawtucket housed a cafe, shoe shine parlor and a watch repair shop.

The building has seen two fires, one in 1927 and another in 1932, according to records.

The Beswick in the past has been listed as vulnerable to potential new single-story commercial development. Potential uses have included a downtown hotel, upscale apartments, commercial offices or a fitness center.

Cabral said his News Cafe entertainment venue will remain on the ground floor of the building, and Mama Africa is also expected to stay.

He said the new owners “fell in love” with the building, and plan to complete a thorough overhaul, including new windows throughout. There’s a potential for live-work studios on the upper floors of this building “centered in the gateway to Pawtucket,” he said, as well as new storefronts.

Cabral said the owners are especially high on the planned revitalization of the nearby Broad Street corridor, which includes as its centerpiece a $13.5 million reconstruction of the roadway from Pawtucket through Central Falls and into Cumberland. The highlight on the Pawtucket end will be the reconstruction of the complex intersection the Beswick Building stands at.

Overall, said Cabral, the owners are looking for stable and professional businesses to move in.

Langlykke said the owners love both the location and the architectural and historical beauty of the building. She said they’re “super excited” about the future here.

“We’ll be tightening it up and improving it,” she said.

Some of the setbacks in Pawtucket of late have “definitely been disappointing,” she said, but the coming train station nearby, as well as the development of the Guild brewery and likely redevelopment of the Apex site, offer plenty of reasons for optimism.

The owners see themselves as pioneers of sorts in trying to get momentum back for the city, she said.

There is nothing modern about the current structure, said Langlykke, but that will all change with the planned renovations, which are now begun.

The owners believe they may have secured a new tenant for one of the ground floor spaces. Langlykke said there will be a lot of glass on the bottom floor, where just about any kind of commercial outfit is welcome, including food and drink establishments.

On the second floor, the owners are planning to house either one larger tenant or to break it up into six or seven spaces, possibly for shared co-working uses with stations rented out.

The third floor could also be either one larger commercial tenant or broken up into six or seven units. That floor could also fit about five or six “micro lofts” if the owners choose to go the residential route.

Cabral said the building also has a beautiful basement and the owners would like to do something with that space as well.

A close-up from the Pawtucket Library’s photo archive showing the recognizable front window on the Beswick Building.

Comments

I always wondered about the history of this interesting old building and it's great it will be restored.