Rehabbed Canal Street building gets historic touch in Shelton

A cupola was placed last week atop the Canal Bridge Lofts, the former Spongex factory building on Canal Street in Shelton. 

A cupola was placed last week atop the Canal Bridge Lofts, the former Spongex factory building on Canal Street in Shelton. 

Contributed photo

SHELTON — It is a blast from the past for one Canal Street structure. 

John Guedes, owner of Primrose Companies, Inc., and developer of Canal Bridge Lofts, last week had a cupola placed on top of what was the former Spongex factory building. The move is in line with his goals of not only redeveloping but also restoring the historic structures along Canal Street, he said. 

"When I started the riverfront project, my idea was to try and restore the buildings, the ones that could be restored,” Guedes said. “This is just part of that vision.” 

Guedes said during the development of the Canal Bridge Lofts, he discovered photos of the structure from back in the 1800s, one of which showed the building with a cupola. Guedes said from what he learned about the history, the cupola was brought down by a storm decades ago. 

“I want to maintain the historic features of these buildings, and this was important to be done,” Guedes said about the cupola installation. 

Guedes said restoring the Canal Bridge Lofts came at a cost of $9 million, with some seven to eight months in construction delays and an additional $2 million in cost to complete the renovation while maintaining the historic look. 

The cupola cost an additional $75,000 to construct and install. Guedes said some trim work remains to be completed. 

“It’s all coming together down here,” Guedes said about Canal Street redevelopment. 

Overall, Guedes’ investment tops $33 million for what is already completed or in progress along Canal Street. 

In recent years, Guedes has completed the Birmingham with 250 units, the Canal Street Lofts with 47 units, and the Riverside Retail Center, formerly the Rolfite site, with a restaurant and an optometrist moving into the first-floor commercial space. 

Guedes is also constructing Riverbreeze and has approvals for Riverview Park Royal, 11,000 square feet of retail or commercial space and 92 apartments at property listed as 113-123 Canal St., and Chromium Commons, a four-story structure with first-floor commercial space and 30 apartments on the top floors, at 113 Canal St. The latter is the former site of the Chromium Process manufacturing building. 

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com