DYLAN J. BAKER
MANCHESTER -- An application for a proposed new building where the Sirloin Saloon property is currently has been submitted to the Development and Design Review Boards and is expected to be discussed during their meeting Nov. 14.
According to the application, submitted by Craig Hunter of Dorset Development LLC, the proposed building will have a footprint of 8,865 square feet and have two floors giving if the total area of approximately 17,730 square feet. That building will be joined with the current building to the west, which has the same owner. The lower and upper levels will each have three spaces for lease, giving the building a total of six lease spaces.
The idea for the new building, according to the application, is to create a combination of properties to be known as "Manchester Town Center." The new building to be built on the location of the former Sirloin Saloon will be tied to an adjacent property, where the Theory, Kate Spade and Kenneth Cole retail stores are currently located. A public plaza area will be built between it. This plaza could be used as outdoor seating for a restaurant and will connect to the upper parking lot, creating a pedestrian friendly environment. The east side of the new building will also see a second plaza with steps leading to the sidewalk.
"We believe these two plazas are an integral part of this design and really make this project what is it," said Craig Hunter, who is also the director of facilities for Manchester Designer Outlets, which owns the Sirloin Saloon property. "The unique part of this building is it’s two stories but you have easy access to both.
"These plazas are going to be great places for people to sit and relax. If there is a restaurant that is a part of the building it would be room for outdoor seating. Ben [Hauben, current property owner] is trying to think of creative ways to use the plaza maybe with some sculpture on display that could use historical artifacts as a focal point of the property."
The new building is described in the narrative accompanying the application as a classic vernacular Italianate commercial building, which first became popular in the second half of the 19th century and are still widely used today. These structures are used to catch and hold the attention of pedestrians. The artistic beauty of the building is used to distinguish it from residential buildings and increase street presence. The buildings are placed forward on the street with large windows to encourage window shopping, according to the narrative.
The new building will be developed with design elements that include a flat roof with parapet, a wall-like barrier at the edge of a roof, terrace, or balcony that is primarily used to prevent to spread of fires, Italianate paired bracket cornice, generally used as decorative molding that crowns the building, pilasters, and classical storefronts with large windows.
The design of the building will try and make it sustainable and last for an extended period of time.
"It’s not only in the way we are going to construct the building, but also just the overall size of the building," said Hunter. "We have said that for many years now that limiting the size of a building really limits its use in its current state and its future state. You want the building to be around for 100-plus years and you don’t know what the use of that building will be in 100 years. Maybe it will be retail or restaurant now, but in the future it may have enough room to operate a larger business out of that building."
If any historical artifacts are found on site, including marble which was used to create the original building when it was a marble mill, the plan would be to incorporate them into the design of the lower plaza area.
"We are really looking for something exciting and unique to be part of these public spaces, to draw people in, get them off the road, and away from traffic, and away from the noise and just be able to enjoy there time here," said Hunter.
In January, a structural analysis was completed to determine whether or not the existing building could be reused or partially reused as part of a new building. The results of the analysis determined that the building was in too poor condition to keep as is. Renovating the building was not an option to create a clean and efficient space to lease, according to the application’s narrative.
The building design will have to be approved first by the DRB, which could come as soon as Nov. 14, and then must obtain an Act 250 approval. Once a design for a new building is approved, the demolition of the current building can begin.