The Day – Building Connections to Bring Sift Bake Shop to Niantic

East Lyme – Two builders in their 30s who made a name for themselves in Mystic are expanding into Niantic and constructing a building with 10 condominiums atop four retailers – including Sift Bake Shop.

Eric Goodman, 36, and Kody Blake, 39, of K Blake and Company, recently began construction on the 185 Main Street site. The aim is for Sift customers to enjoy their coffee and croissants with a view of the bay by July 1.

Goodman, the developer, described Sift’s newly signed lease as a status symbol for the project itself and for Main Street.

He pointed out that signs for the popular bakery, which currently has locations in Mystic and Watch Hill, will now also say Niantic.

“You are in good company,” he said.

Sift owner Adam Young said in a phone interview that he’s trusted his growing list of projects at K Blake and Company since the duo expanded their Mystic site nearly three years ago. Young’s bakery has become a tourist destination since winning Food Network’s “Best Baker in America” ​​title in 2018.

Young also owns a chocolate and candy store at The Standard, the 3 Water St. Goodman and Blake building built next to Sift last year, and a donut shop on West Main Street in Mystic.

Young described the Sift demographics as burdensome for East Lyme residents. But he said it wasn’t always easy for them to navigate the densely populated streets of Mystic in the summer.

“To be able to have an outlet for them with ample parking, great infrastructure, great resources, well-located, that felt like a home run to me,” he said.

Young cited the attention to detail, quality of craftsmanship and unique vision of the construction company as reasons for continuing the collaboration.

Blake, the builder, said the Young’s Sift expansion in Mystic was the project that propelled K Blake and Company from residential work to commercial construction.

“He shot us,” Blake said of the baker they now consider a friend. “He didn’t have to. He had three other big, reputable companies that bid on his builds. We were unknowns. We were doing little build houses and he shot us. For me, I’ll never forget that. “

The Niantic site, the former home of Norton’s Auto & Marine Service, is where Tim Norton repaired boats while looking above the water for nearly half a century before his death in 2017 Goodman said Norton’s son-in-law was the one who reached out to ask him to revive a project that was first started almost 10 years ago.

The site plan for the three-story, 32,928-square-foot building with 10 condominiums, four retail spaces and 43 parking spaces was renewed by the Zoning Commission in October after it was originally presented by Norton in 2013. The commission approved the plan unanimously both times.

They call it The Norton.

Goodman purchased the property through a limited liability company for $850,000 in January, according to records from the city assessor and the secretary of state’s office.

Goodman said condominiums will range from $425,000 to $995,000, with the most expensive offerings being on three floors with 2,000 square feet of space and water views. He said the units range from one-bedroom units to “two-and-a-den”.

A three-bedroom, two-bathroom penthouse end unit was listed for sale Thursday by Switz Real Estate Associates for $1.2 million.

The developer said it was finalizing a lease with Anna Lathrop of Gourmet Galley Catering, which currently operates a flagship store offering fresh and frozen packaged meals in North Stonington. The third tenant to sign will be an undisclosed fish market, according to Goodman.

Goodman emphasized quality products installed by local contractors as a hallmark of the business. In a previous article in The Day on The Standard, he talked about materials like cedar clapboard, ipe hardwood decking, copper gutters, hand-bent copper flashings, and premium lumber. , and double hung windows.

“We could have easily made a million dollars, if not more, on The Standard project if we hadn’t done what we did,” Goodman said of the focus on premium materials.

The company said it cost around $9 million to build The Standard, where they now occupy their own space as property managers. The condos started at $495,000 and the penthouse at $1.5 million.

The architectural details of the Norton are different from those originally submitted by its namesake nearly a decade ago, according to Goodman.

“It’s very classic New England, corner posts, mansard roofs — that look of this building at Mystic,” he said. “So we redesigned it and took a lot of inspiration from different buildings in New England.”

He cited touches like clapboard siding, crown molding and New England-style window sills as some of the features.

Goodman acknowledged complaints on social media that the building looked too boxy and nondescript based on the renders available in the real estate listing.

He said the company’s options were limited by zoning regulations that don’t allow a fourth floor on buildings in that area. A cost-benefit analysis found that three floors would not provide the revenue needed to justify touches that would have made the building more traditional, according to the developer.

“Those items that you want to put out there require you to have more square footage to be able to afford them,” he said. “Because it’s still a business after all.”

The company, which Blake says is renovating the Pizzetta restaurant in Mystic and has just started a project for Densmore Oil on Stonington Road, is exploring future mixed-use projects from Pawcatuck to Old Saybrook.

Goodman said there aren’t many options currently on the market in the target coastal area, but cited some attractive properties elsewhere in Niantic, Old Lyme and Old Saybrook.

According to the developer, unique considerations in each city lend themselves to different types of development. In a place like historic Old Lyme, that means smaller pod-type projects with two or three buildings of around 10,000 square feet might work better than a single large building.

On Niantic’s Main Street, Goodman and Blake see The Norton as a way to help unify the two sides of a strip bisected by Pennsylvania Avenue. Currently, the most concentrated retail options accommodate right-turners, while bay views remain with left-turners.

“What we hope is that it connects this downtown,” Goodman said.

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