BERLIN– The owner of several Main Street storefronts undergoing renovations wants to assure the public the work is moving forward.
In the wake of community criticism regarding the condition of buildings on Main Street that have been in the midst of improvements for months, Blue Water Development issued a statement Tuesday outlining property owner Jack Burbage’s commitment to the project.
“Berlin is his hometown too–Jack grew up on Main Street and worked in the Style Guide for many years,” a statement from Blue Water Development, the company founded by Burbage, reads. “We want to do this right and take this building forward for all of the people of Berlin– residents and visitors–to enjoy for many, many years to come. It will take time and inconvenience while we are in progress and patience as we move along the development road. We just wanted to answer the question and give our neighbors and friends some understanding of the process. We want the project done too, but we want to do it right and that takes time.”
While the revitalization of the structures from 19 N. Main St. to 7 N. Main St. was approved by the Berlin Historic District Commission this spring, residents have complained in recent months that the work appeared to stall. The space, formerly occupied by Town Center Antiques, has maintained its obviously under-construction appearance for months.
The statement issued this week explains that an investor was considering purchasing the property.
“After a lengthy due diligence period where they looked at what they wanted to do in Berlin, they recently decided the buildings were not a good fit for their investment,” the statement reads. “We have moved forward in planning with the architect, structural engineer and mechanical engineer so that we would continue to make progress.”
Because the sale fell through and Burbage will be handling the renovations, he wants to do the entire property—the Main Street side as well as the facades on Pitts and William streets.
“That will give the downtown more retail locations so we can offer some more businesses new stores in our great walkable downtown area,” reads the statement. “With Jun & Juice opening up right next to the Rusty Anchor on Pitts Street and the very soon we will have 410 Social and Mandala Pies on Pitts and William Streets– we are wanting to give a few other fresh, new businesses locations to join in this downtown revitalization.”
Burbage is also planning to remodel the second-floor space to offer new apartments.
“These buildings have been here since the 1800’s and we hope to restore and remodel them so they are here for 400 more years as Berlin continues to be a thriving place for people to live and work,” the statement reads.
Burbage will be seeking HDC approval next month for the improvements planned for the facades on William and Pitts streets. Once the designs are approved, work can move forward “with the final design process to allow for us to have permit and bid ready plans” for those spaces.
“The designs so far are great and we are hopeful to have the town’s cooperation to bring this project to fruition,” the statement reads. “We ask that you bear with us as everything takes a lot longer than we think it should, Contractors are super busy so getting bids takes a long time – especially with a project of this size and once all that is done then we may have supply issues to deal with to get the materials. We are keeping our eye on the prize of what the final product will be and how that will bring new eateries, shopping and apartments to the already awesome Town of Berlin.”