ATTLEBORO — A longtime eyesore in the city’s center has been sold and the next chapter of the property is about to begin, which is good news for a downtown on the rebound.
The dilapidated former Briggs Hotel — aka the Cannata Building, aka the Fishnet Building — on South Main was sold to developers Jan. 24.
Ryan Lenhart and Leonardo DaSilva, principals of 27-39 South Main St. LLC out of Walpole, paid $850,000 for the property to owners Iris H. Cannata and Lisa E. Cannata, principals of Xavier LLC, trustees for 27-39 South Main Street Realty Trust.
Plans for the structure are not yet known.
Nothing has been filed at City Hall and The Sun Chronicle was unable to contact the new owner.
The sale comes during an apartment building boom in the downtown as it transforms from an industrial/commercial to a residential/commercial area.
During downtown’s heyday, the first 75 years or so of the 20th century, it was full of factories.
Now it’s filling up with apartment buildings where those factories once stood.
The driving force, according to developers and city officials, is access to the commuter rail on the corner of Mill and Union streets, a short walk from the Briggs.
Currently there are plans to renovate two factory buildings on Union Street into apartments and developer Marco Crugnale recently broke ground for a 132-unit building at the corner of South Main and Wall streets, once the site of Automatic Machine.
With potentially hundreds of new residents downtown, officials are hoping for a resurgence in small shops and eateries.
The Briggs Hotel was built in 1883 and often housed actors performing at the Bates Opera House just down the street, according to information found on the Massachusetts Historical Commission website.
It was turned into apartments in 1928.
The Fishnet Restaurant once occupied the bottom floor but has been closed for more than 20 years.
At times in the last two decades the upper floors were used for apartments.
The former 15,977-square-foot former hotel sits on just under half an acre and is valued for tax assessment purposes at $701,100.
A plan in 2015 to turn it into 24 condominiums fell through when a developer and the Cannatas could not agree on a sale price.