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Berlin’s HDC approves plans for commercial space project

Members of Berlin’s Historic District Commission unanimously approved plans for a project on 15 William Street during a meeting last Monday evening.

By Rachel Ravina, Staff Writer

(Sept. 12, 2019) A vacant one-story building on William Street is in line for a facelift, following the Berlin Historic District Commission’s approval last Wednesday of its exterior remodeling plans.

Samantha Pielstick, who represented property owner Jack Burbage, said plans for the property include an authentic brick front exterior and a nautical blue front door in the center with windows on either side.

“I’m trying to go with a real classic look,” she said.

Additionally, Pielstick said Burbage wants to rent the building to a commercial tenant. The space would have a larger room and a smaller room that could be used for a variety of purposes.

She said potential artists could use the smaller space as a workshop and feature his or her pieces in the larger space. Alternatively, a business could house supplies or a copier in the smaller room and use the larger space for workspace.

“We’ve had a great amount of interest, so it’s very exciting for us to be able to do that, and be able to move forward with those changes,” Pielstick said.

Commission member Laura Stearns praised Pielstick for using real brick.

“I love it. I think even though this is small, it’s such a cute little building,” Stearns said. “It adds a lot of character to what’s around it.”

However, Stearns said she noticed a transom, or a horizontal crossbar over the door or window.

“The only detail that I think that’s omitted is the transoms that were over all the other doorways and I just think that … it’s the details that make historic buildings what they are, and I would just ask that you consider the transom just over the doorway and raise the windows a little bit,” Stearns said.

Renderings for a one-story building on William Street show plans for a redevelopment project. The renovations include a genuine brick exterior and a nautical blue-colored door with two windows on either side. Members of Berlin’s Historic District Committee unanimously approved plans for the project during a meeting last Wednesday.

Vice chairman Robert Poli had a differing opinion.

“The design is good,” he said. “As long as we add the arch-bricked headers, I think that’s fine.”

Planning Director Dave Engelhart said other nearby buildings have designs that mimic a transom.

Stearns clarified that she’d still vote in favor of the project.

“It’s just a detail,” Stearns said. “I like the details of a transom because transom’s say ‘old historic building’ to me.”

Poli moved to approve the project’s plans, which Commission member Norman Bunting seconded.

Pielstick also said she hopes to start construction by the end of the month.