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Boston.com
By L.E. Crowley, Town correspondent
Posted October 8, 2009 09:24 AM

The renovation of the historic Welch Building—a project that has saved one of Scituate Harbor’s most noted landmarks--is about to take a big step forward.

Harold Brown, chief executive officer of the Hamilton Co., said the first businesses will move into the building beginning Nov. 1. “We’re nearly there,” he said.

Various retail shops, including children’s clothing stores, will move in over the next few months, Brown said, adding the main attractions, two restaurants, will open by January.

Oro, serving American cuisine, will be opened by Robin King, a Scituate resident and chef at upscale Stella’s in Boston. A Chinese take-out restaurant will fill one of the other spaces.

“People seem to be particularly excited about the Chinese take-out,” Brown said.

Brown said the two restaurants will anchor more than 6,000-square-feet of retail and office space.

Overall, the building is 60-65 percent rented, said Brown, adding, “a lot of people are out on the wings waiting to see who comes in."

He said an open house will be held in mid-November, but a date has not yet been set.

Brown said some interior work is still being done, and businesses will fill spaces as they become available.

The project began more than a year ago and has taken longer than expected. Initially, businesses were expected to open in April, but that timeline was extended to July, and then again until after Labor Day. According to Brown, construction crews ran into several unexpected problems during renovations and more work was necessary.

The Welch Building was a hub of wharf activity since its construction in 1879. It fell into disrepair, and in recent years, the owners tried to develop condominiums there, against the wishes of town officials and residents.

Brown and the Hamilton Co. bought the property and received approvals for its reconstruction last summer.







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