Sep 032014

George Pergantis outside the &quit;Carriage House&quit; at the Groton Inn property Art Campbell

George Pergantis outside the “Carriage House” at the Groton Inn property

George Pergantis, one of Groton’s most colorful and controversial characters, and for many years the owner-operator of the Groton Inn on Main Street, died of an apparent heart attack Tuesday evening, September 2.

Pergantis had just moved from an apartment at 128 Main Street, his Groton Inn property in Groton, to a house he owned at 50 Frankfort Street in Fitchburg as he prepared to sell the 8.5 acre Groton Inn property to developers.

According to a Fitchburg Fire Department spokesman, an ambulance was dispatched to the Frankfort Street address at 8:11 p.m. Tuesday. The crew performed CPR and continued as Pergantis was transported to HealthAlliance Hospital in Leominster. A spokeswoman from the hospital did not immediately return a phone call.

Pergantis’ partner for many years, Gloria Lammi, confirmed George’s death. She said the family was making arrangements but that no details were final.

The inn operated under a number of names over the years since being built as a stagecoach stop and tavern in 1678. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. Pergantis owned the property once in the 1970s, sold it, and repurchased it in 1990. After the inn was mostly destroyed by fire on August 2, 2011, the surviving portion of the inn, about 40% of the building, was demolished at Pergantis’ insistence.

A development company, 128 Main Street LLC, led by Richard Cooper and Chris Ferris, announced plans for a new Groton Inn development complex last year on the anniversary of the fire. One of the conditions written into the purchase and sale was that all permits needed to be in hand, and Cooper and Ferris reached that milestone earlier this month when the Planning Board and Historic Districts Commission, the last two town regulatory bodies, gave their approvals.

The closing on the Purchase and Sale Agreement of the property has been postponed several times, and has now been delayed at least a week, Ferris said. He said that the closing would take place as planned, though, because the land deal was with the Pergantis Realty Trust, not Pergantis as an individual.

“We were very saddened by the loss of George Pergantis. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Pergantis family. We need to give them a bit os space and time to grieve, and then we’ll go on with this. It’s one more story in the history of the Groton Inn,” Ferris said.