BARRINGTON, R.I. (WPRI) — Lois and Lou Coppolino have lived next door to the Belton Court mansion in Barrington for more than two decades.

Last month, the couple received a notice that ShineHarmony, the Middle Highway property’s owner, applied for a permit to demolish the structure.

The Coppolinos said the thought of the historic building being demolished worries them.

“We would love to see it saved, but I don’t know what will happen at this point,” Lois Coppolino said. “We would hate to see the building torn down, but it’s been sitting empty for way too long.”

The palatial estate once belonged to Frederick Peck. The 55,000-square-foot building was built and expanded upon in the early 1900’s, but has sat vacant since 2007 and fallen into severe disrepair.

Massachusetts-based ShineHarmony purchased the property in 2017. EastBayRI, which first reported on the proposed demolition, said the company had planned to turn the property into housing.

But Barrington Town Solicitor Michael Ursillo said the building won’t be torn down anytime soon.

Ursillo assured residents that ShineHarmony has agreed not to demolish the building until the ownership team discusses its intentions for the property with the town.

“We will do everything we can to reach an agreement with the owners to preserve Belton Court if at all possible,” Ursillo said during Monday night’s Barrington Town Council meeting.

Though Belton Court mansion is on the National Register of Historic Places, it isn’t located in a designated historic district. Ursillo said this means the building can be torn down so long as all of the demolition permit requirements are met.

The land was previously home to Barrington College and Zion Bible College.

After ShineHarmony bought the property in 2011, the company had planned to turn it into a continuing care retirement community, but abandoned those plans in 2017 and listed the parcel for sale.

More recently, the company seemingly abandoned plans for a sale and proposed new plans for redeveloping the property.

Barrington Town Manager Philip Hervey previously told 12 News the town is “very concerned” about the building’s future.

That sentiment was echoed by Fred Acciardo, Peck’s great-grandson.

“It is a unique gem rivaling anything you’ll find in Newport,” he said of Belton Court.

Barrington residents are also concerned for the building’s future. Several residents told 12 News that, if the property can’t be saved, they hope something positive can come from it.

“For those of us that live in the neighboring community, we just want to make sure that what this space becomes is something in keeping with Barrington,” Barrington Home Owner’s Association member Neile Hartman said.

The town expects to meet with the property’s ownership team within the next few weeks.