Photo: PAC / Contributed Photo /
TORRINGTON — Anyone who’s lived in the city since the 1960s probably remembers Sky Top Bowling Lanes.
Today, after a $4.5 million renovation, the former bowling alley is home to Hartford Healthcare Urgent Care, Club 24 and Hair By Design, a day spa, done by PAC Group LLC. The Torrington-based development company owned by Paul Prenoveaux, its CEO and founder, bought the bowling alley in 2016 from the Dedomenicis family, who were ready to let the building go to a new owner.
“When we bought it, we had hopes to turn it into a wellness center for Charlotte Hungerford Hospital,” said PAC Group Vice President of Real Estate, Bill Zampaglione. “Not long after that, Charlotte Hungerford merged with Hartford HealthCare. That move put the plan off track — we couldn’t get a commitment. So we went in another direction, and thought we’d put in a restaurant.”
Using that restaurant idea as a basis for their design, PAC began its renovations, including adding an outdoor patio to the backside of the space overlooking East Main Street.
Then, PAC was approached by Hartford HealthCare for the urgent care facility.
“As we built, Hartford HealthCare decided to go with an urgent care center with primary care doctors, and a physical rehab,” Zampaglione said.
Club 24 came next, with a 17,000-square-foot gym, and Hair By Design moved into a 3,200-square-foot space between the two. “The building is now at 100 percent occupancy,” said PAC’s assistant project manager Chris Blake. “It’s a beautiful repurposing of the building.”
Keeping the Skytop name was important to Zampaglione.
“We got the Dedomenicis family’s blessing to do this, we were proud to have their help,” he said. “We gave them the opportunity to take any mementos and pieces of the building that they wanted, and they brought us photos, dating back 45 years, to share with us so we could appreciate the history. So the name, The Shops at Skytop, honors the family’s memory.”
The Dedomenicis family, he said, realized their business as a bowling alley had changed. “It wasn’t the same for them anymore,” he said. “They were wonderful to work with.”
While the renovation was underway, Zampaglione said he got “mixed reviews” from residents and outsiders. “People have said, why Torrington,” he said. “Why not build in West Hartford or Darien? But we said, ‘Why not Torrington?’
“Things are happening here,” said Zampaglione, who was born and raised in Torrington. “We’ve been able to bring more development here, more projects. Torrington is changing.”
PAC also owns the Glass Building on East Main Street, which is also getting a major face-lift in the next year, Zampaglione said.
“We are completely renovating that building inside and out, and redo the site,” he said. “We’ve met with (Economic Development Director) Rista (Malanca), (City Planner) Marty Connor, and the mayor (Elinor Carbone) and they’re very aware of the things we’re doing in the city.
The building has about 14 tenants, including the Northwest Learning Center, run by June Zeiner, and the Police Activities League office for the Torrington Police Department. Both of those agencies pay no rent, and PAC pays their utilities, to support their work. The other tenants have been in the building for six years or longer.
“As a commercial real estate holding company, we have amazing tenants,” he said. “PAC also owns the old Webster Bank building next to the Torrington Library, and the old Torrington Grill.”
Most recently, the company joined an effort to rehabilitate the city’s Dunkin’ coffee shops. Formerly Dunkin’ Donuts, the new brand is changing many of its buildings using a drive-thru, walk-up design, calling them “nex-Gen” prototypes.
“We owned, at one point, the drive-thru Dunkin’ on East Main Street, and we purchased the property to build that new prototype,” Zampaglione said. “People said we were crazy, but it worked. Now Torrington has the first one of the newly designed Dunkin’s.”
Along with its commercial holdings, PAC has built a number of residential developments for people over 55, including Indian Knolls in Bantam, Tryon Farms in South Glastonbury, and the Pennington in Farmington, next to the Farmington Golf Club.