There’s a new face in Wilmington. This face, however, doesn’t belong to a new resident or, for that matter, a person at all. The newest face in town is the brand new One Church Street building.
Seems that the moment construction at the Church Street site began, residents and passers by began wondering what, exactly, was going on. Of course it didn’t take long for word to get out that Northeastern Development Corporation had begun work on a mixed use building featuring both residential and commercial space.
So, why was there so much interest in the new building? Perhaps it was intriguing because Wilmington residents had simply grown accustomed to seeing the lot empty for so long. Just steps from the old Wilmington Theatre as well as the MBTA Commuter Rail Station, the One Church Street lot makes up a corner of Wilmington’s Historic Town Center.
Over the years businesses and buildings have come and gone in the center and the Church Street lot is no exception. At the turn of the century it was home to a local blacksmith’s shop which was destroyed by fire around 1903.
Rebuilt following the fire, the new building held everything from a hardware and liquor store to, believe it or not, the Wilmington Police Department.
From 1940–1953, the lower left portion of the building was rented to the Wilmington Police Department and held their offices as well as a garage bay for the town’s ambulance. In 1953, for the very first time, both the Police and Fire Departments moved to their own dedicated building just a little further down Church Street and the lighted, blue police globe moved with them.
Eventually, in 1987, Joseph Langone, along with a partner, purchased the One Church Street building. For years it was home to a hardware and liquor store, a kitchen store, paint and wallpaper store, a drapery boutique, a dental practice and even an apartment unit.
That all changed, however, in October of 1992 when the building was destroyed by fire. Langone received news of the fire by, as he remembered, “A knock on the door” and the next day the process of tearing down the remaining structure was underway. The lot remained empty for almost twenty years until recently when Langone’s dream of rebuilding and revitalizing the area became a reality.
Ironically, when the Rte. 62 Bridge was renovated it allowed the Town of Wilmington to extend the sewer and that improvement helped open the door for a modern, mixed use development at One Church Street.
The One Church Street development, which now boasts eight residential apartments, four street level storefronts and three additional business units truly is the perfect example of modern revitalization.
“The theory is that you need people to support business,” said Langone, “We have filled the top two floors of the building with people and they, in turn, help support the businesses below.”
With plenty of parking out back, easy access to the commuter rail and a car count of anywhere between 40,000–50,000 vehicles passing by daily, One Church Street can offer both residential tenants as well as business owners all of the resources that they need.
As Jennifer Langone of Coldwell Banker explained, the new storefronts have a variety of potential uses. A few examples include bakery, package store, drugstore, gift shop, florist, telephone sales, nail/spa/hair salon, medical/professional office, tailor/laundry/dry cleaning shop, repair shop, builder/electrician/plumbers office or even an education center.
“One Church Street is a perfect model for other property owners to see what you can build these days,” Joseph Langone explained. “I truly hope that the neighbors see what they can do and that they continue to revitalize the area.”
To learn more about the One Church Street development you can contact Jennifer Langone at Coldwell Banker.
What business do you want to see move into the property? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.