BY JAIMIE JULIA WINTERS
The Hampton House, with its well-known Art Moderne facade at the corner of Bloomfield and North Fullerton, will see a new life.
Developers Gary DeBode and Dick Grabowsky, of Gare Vent M.B. LLC and Bloomfield LLC, are planning to remodel the Hampton House building for new prospective tenants. The tenants were not revealed, as DeBode said a confidentiality agreement was signed.
Developers bought the three-story building for $1,962,500 in 2017.
The existing facade is a replacement of an earlier Romanesque facade. Peter Dovemus opened a dry goods store in the mid-1800s on the property. His son Philip built the present building in 1890, according to historical records. The exterior was later upgraded to the Art Moderne style seen today.
DeBode appeared before the Historic Preservation Commission on April 25 as the property is in the Town Center Historic District.
The developers want to add an 820-square-foot addition to the second and third floor, at the northeast corner of the building, to include a new elevator, mechanical equipment and bathrooms. The flat roof proposed for the new addition will house the mechanical equipment. The height of the new addition will match the existing building height of 40.66 feet, but will be above the allowable 37 feet and will therefore require planning board approval.
The project also includes complete interior rehabilitation, alteration of the existing storefront display windows along Bloomfield Avenue and North Fullerton, a new accessible ramp and entry on the North Fullerton façade, removal of the existing Hampton House neon sign, and the removal of existing elevator hoistway penthouse from the roof.
Specifically proposed are:
- A new handicapped-accessible entrance at the southeast end of the building along Bloomfield Avenue;
- A new landing, stairs, ramp and guardrail at the northern building entrance on North Fullerton Avenue;
- New aluminum storefronts along the south and west facades of the buildings. The blank wall that currently exists along west façade along North Fullerton Avenue will be replaced with new storefront windows;
- Two new windows on the north side of the new addition; and
- New wall-mounted signs for retail tenants, one on the North Fullerton façade one on the Bloomfield Avenue façade.
Members of the Historic Preservation Commission liked the plans overall, agreeing that the proposed altering of the storefront and the features is in keeping with the architecture of the Art Moderne style, and as a result, the overall character is not diminished.
The commission recommended that new materials match the existing in material, design, color, and texture; and that the developers document the storefront’s features that are to be removed; and the existing neon signage shall be stored on site.
The applicants will return to the commission for review of all materials and the new signage.