DRACUT -- Even at 82, Steve Papanotas, handled a large metal shovel with ease Wednesday in front of the former Goodhue School, as he scraped and scooped away snow and ice left over from the last winter storm -- and to prepare for the next.

Hefty as the shovel appeared to be, it was a thimble compared to the heavy equipment Papanotas operated for a living for decades before moving to real-estate property management full time.

Papanotas bought the Goodhue Professional Building at 112 Sladen St. earlier this month for $325,000.

"It was a good deal," Papanotas said. "Those old school buildings, they (were) built well.

Steve Papanotas, who owns several Dracut properties, recently acquired the former Goodhue School for $325,000. He plans to renovate it into office
Steve Papanotas, who owns several Dracut properties, recently acquired the former Goodhue School for $325,000. He plans to renovate it into office space. SUN / JOHN COLLINS

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They'll last forever. When they built the schools, they'd go way above the (minimum) specifications. Not like nowadays. They used good lumber to give more than enough support for the structure."

Built in 1906, it was operated as a school until 1981.

For the record, Papanotas said he did not attend school.

The four most recent previous owners of the 108-year-old, two-story building were Darlene Gorman, Frank Gorman, the Dracut Children's Center Inc. and Haven Realty.

The Goodhue Professional Building is a wood-frame, vinyl-sided, 55,000-square-foot structure, with six office units on three floors, including a finished basement. It uses gas heat. The parking lot to the left and in front of the building covers 17,000 square feet, accommodating about 15 vehicles.


The building is in a prime location in Dracut, close to the intersection of Lakeview Avenue and Pleasant Street, Papanotas said.

"It's been unoccupied for quite a while now, and everyone in town has probably been wondering, what are they going to do with that building?" Papanotas said. ""We're painting, taking down some partitions and redoing the whole insides.

"There are six units in the building, all good-sized rooms that we hope to find tenants for."

A 56-year Dracut resident, Papanotas is one of Dracxut's most prolific property taxpayers, owning at least 10 other properties in town that have a combined value of nearly $2 million, according to the Dracut tax assessor's online database.

Regardless of whether he's able to attract enough business tenants to make the Goodhue Professional Building a commercial success, it represents "a good investment" for his two daughters, and the family trust, Papanotas said.

"Over the years, I've kept telling my two daughters, 'When I retire, I'm going to do this, or that other thing.' And then..."

Papanotas welcomes the fact that acquiring the Goodhue building gives him more to do in his "non-retirement," he said.

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