By JAIMIE JULIA WINTERS
After two years on the market, Trumpets Jazz Club has sold.
Hanini Group of Newark bought the former club and residential building at 6 Depot Square in April for $1.2 million. The developers plan to create a restaurant with outdoor dining and a separate cafe area, convert two apartments on the property to four, and bring back historical features such as decorative cornices and brickwork on the building, which was built in 1880.
In March 2019, former co-owners Kristine Massari and Enrico Granafei announced they were selling the club they had run since 1999. The final concert was held Sept. 28, 2019.
The building, with a liquor license, was listed for $3.6 million. Hanini senior project manager Andrew Kranich said the company did not purchase the liquor license, which have sold as high as $1.25 million in recent years.
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Plans call for the building, located across from the Walnut Street train station, to have an entrance on Walnut Street, where there once was one before it was plastered over decades ago.
The small parking lot at Depot Square would be turned into an arcade entrance from Walnut Street and a four-season outdoor dining area with a retractable roof. The arcade and outdoor dining area will be surrounded by a new cobblestone wall. The wall that contained Trumpets’ entrance would include new windows, a new door and a mural.
The current two three-bedroom apartments will be converted to four units, Kranich said.
Hanini has been redeveloping historic properties, mainly in Newark, for 10 years. The building at 6 Depot Square will be Hanini’s first venture in Montclair.
“We love transit-oriented buildings, with this being near the Walnut station. We specialize in historic restoration and adaptive reuse. We walked the site and fell in love,” Kranich said.
The group has redeveloped the 1912 National State Bank building in Newark into Hotel Indigo; the 1931 People’s Bank building, the tallest and most iconic building in Passaic, into Board of Education offices; and the Columbian, built in 1890 in Newark, into apartments.
The group appeared before the Historic Preservation Commission, which makes recommendations to the Planning Board regarding properties in a historic district, on June 17 to unveil its plans. Although members were happy with the plans for the property, they asked that an archway planned as an arcade access to the four-season dining room be rethought. The developer agreed to rework the plans and present them at the July 29 Preservation Commission meeting.
“The arch is alien to the district, too high and out of scale,” commission member Caroline Kane Levy said.
The applicants will have to go before the Planning Board to seek six waivers: for going above the maximum impervious surface of 70%, for allotting four parking spaces for apartments where six are required, for not meeting parking setbacks and landscaping, for placement of signage, for placement of garbage and recycling storage areas and for storage area requirements for apartments.
Montclair Township Clerk Angelese Bermudez Nieves said the township has not received an application for a transfer or sale of Trumpets’ liquor license.
Whether the restaurants will offer live music and liquor is still up in the air. Kranich said the owners wouldn’t rule out purchasing a liquor license, but that it was “unlikely.” The group is seeking tenants for the restaurants, but it will be at least a year until opening, as the developers seek approvals from the Planning Board and then begin renovations.
Kranich said his group plans on owning the building long term.
“We won’t sell it off. We buy, lease and hold onto our buildings,” he said.