Businesses forced to move from Woonsocket mill buildings

Market Square mill building

Twenty businesses in Market Square in Woonsocket are searching for a new home after National Grid cut service to the old mill buildings for non payment of bills.

RiverzEdge Arts Project is one of the companies trying to figure out what to do. It has been without power for seven days.

"Unfortunately to us there was no warning," said Rebekah Greenwald Speck, executive director. "Right now we're primarily packing."

RiverzEdge paid its rent, but the company that owns the buildings did not.

The owner of the buildings, Marie Deschenes, purchased the former mill buildings in 2008 and has worked for the past eight years trying to create an "artist enclave."

Deschenes told NBC 10 she did get behind on the payments and she won't be able to let businesses operate until she makes some changes. She has to fix the electricity and the roof, and said it could take months.

Despite the news, not all business owners were angry.

"I don't really blame her. I think Marie has a lot of great ideas. She probably bit off more than she could chew. That's what it comes down to I think," said Marc Morelle of CCM Picture Frame and Gallery.

Morelle said he doesn't know where he'll go.

"I started March 1 and now I have to move out," he said.

RiverzEdge is hoping the city will let it move into one of its buildings. The group helps train young adults and provides art programs for local children.

The group said the shutdown will cost them an estimated $65,000.