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July 9, 2024

Project will convert historic Bristol building to self-storage, retail

Google Earth The historic building at 238 Main St. and 13 Prospect St. in Bristol.

A building at the corner of Main and Prospect streets in Bristol’s Main Street Historic District will be renovated into self-storage and office or retail space following approvals Monday night by the town Zoning Commission.

Completing public hearings that were opened in June, the Zoning Commission unanimously approved a special permit and site plan for the project. In approving the project, commission members described it as “long overdue.”

The four-story brick building at 238 Main St. and 13 Prospect St. is actually two historic buildings that are connected. The Main Street side, known as the Linstead Block, was erected in 1885 by William Linstead; the Prospect Street side, known as the Funck Block, was erected in 1889 for C. Funck & Son, a furniture company that also made coffins, according to

The property was acquired by Carrier Construction Inc. of Bristol in January 2023 for $940,000 from Bristol Hospital Inc. The hospital had owned the building since May 2005, when it purchased it for $1.1 million.

Carrier will convert what the owners describe as a “historically underperforming” office building into 376 climate-controlled storage units, as well as space for retail and/or commercial offices. The special permit was required to allow a storage facility in a downtown business (BD-1) zone.

The plan reserves about 5,000 square feet on the first floor for “non-storage” uses — which could be a retail store and/or office space — with the rest of that floor housing a management office, supply store, restrooms, loading areas, cart storage and limited number of storage units.

The second and third floors will be fully occupied by storage units, while a portion of the fourth floor will have storage units as well. 

The site provides 24 parking spaces to serve building tenants, and the project will create a loading dock in the rear of the building with room for trucks to offload items.

“It is the applicant’s assumption that the first-floor tenant space will be occupied by either an office or retail use, which would require 15 parking spaces to be dedicated to that space, leaving nine spaces for the storage facility,” the project narrative states.

Gino Carrier, president of Carrier Construction, said Tuesday that his company initially acquired the building with the intent to create apartments.

“My first thought was apartments, but we were going to have to invest too much money into this old building — around $12 million to $15 million,” Carrier said. “We could have done 50 apartments, but the cost didn’t make sense.”

After rejecting that idea, he said his father suggested a self-storage facility.

“To me that was a no-brainer,” Carrier said. “The downtown area now is growing so much, people will need storage.”

The climate-controlled storage units will range in size from 5 feet by 5 feet to 10 feet by 15 feet, he said.

Carrier expects the project to cost about $1.8 million, and hopes to complete it by the summer of 2025, he said.

The cost includes renovations that will shore up the building’s floors to be able to bear the weight of the storage facility, as well as to restore the building’s facade.

“I want to go back to how it was built originally,” he said of the historic building’s appearance. “It’s vacant right now, but once I get the place to look good we will attract customers.”

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