Building plan for historic Stone Mill ready for review
MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury Development Review Board on April 8 will begin its review of a proposal to renovate the historic Stone Mill building at 3 Mill St. for a combination of retail, restaurant, office and housing purposes.
Community Barn Ventures (CBV) submitted an application calling for substantial interior improvements to the prominent, circa-1840 structure bordering the Otter Creek in Middlebury’s Frog Hollow district. CBV, co-owned by Stacey Rainey and Mary Cullinane, recently agreed to buy the Stone Mill from Middlebury College for $500,000.
The repairs, according to the CBV application, will allow the building to host:
•A restaurant on the ground floor. This would be in keeping with the structure’s long history of hosting a restaurant, most recently the Storm Café.
•Retail and office spaces on the second and third floors. The partners are planning a special feature for the second floor: A public market that will include a coffee shop and six or seven permanent vendors who are in the process of “reimagining the retail experience,” according to the application.
The proposed office space, according to Cullinane and Rainey, will include shared workspace to support the growing number of Addison County residents who telecommute to jobs.
“The shared workspace supports the local economy of remote workers, freelancers, writers, creatives, and entrepreneurs who seek a community of peers and informal colleagues to debate with, grab lunch with, celebrate with while working in an inspiring and engaging environment,” the application states.
•Residential use of the fourth and fifth (mezzanine) floors, to include five short?term rental apartments with an Airbnb component.
Cullinane and Rainey this past winter actively solicited feedback from the community on their plans. They’ve assembled a project team that includes Silver Maple Construction, McLeod Kredell Architects, Otter Creek Engineering, and Sellers Treybal Structural Engineers.
Organizers promised little change to the exterior of the Stone Mill, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Project team members have been consulting with the Vermont Division of Historic Preservation.
“The design strategy for the exterior focuses on honoring and celebrating the historic c.1840 mill building,” the narrative states. “Very little will be done to the exterior of the original building itself, other than minor repairs and maintenance.”
Later stairwell additions will be re?clad with translucent siding and clear windows, to allow people to see the original stone building. The existing outdoor seating areas and canopy will be rebuilt and re?shaped “to better engage the public,” and accessibility to the building will be improved with an ADA?compliant ramp and entries, according to the application.
“The proposed project is specifically planned to accommodate mixed uses and balanced diversity, while protecting the essential character of the neighborhood,” the CBV narrative reads.
Cullinane and Rainey vowed to make the Stone Mill as energy efficient as possible, through such methods as air?sealing, added insulation, LED lighting, low?flow plumbing fixtures, EnergyStar appliances, and air?source heat pump heating and cooling.
Project organizers are exploring natural gas, along with solar power, to help power both heating/cooling and domestic hot water systems.
“The owners are eager to participate in a neighborhood hydro?electric project if it should ever become a reality,” the narrative adds, alluding to a longstanding effort by the Holm family to introduce a water turbine at the Otter Creek Falls.
The Stone Mill building is near ample parking, including the municipal lot in Frog Hollow. Cullinane and Rainey have estimated the need for 36 spaces, based on their proposed mixed uses for the building.
They’re pleased with how their plans have been received thus far, and are looking forward to the upcoming Development Review Board meeting.
“We are very excited to enter the next phase of the Stone Mill project,” Cullinane said. “The support we have received so far has been overwhelming. Working with the town has been great, and we feel like our community is excited for this vision to become a reality.”
If all goes according to plan, the refurbished Stone Mill will open for business late this summer.
“People can signup on our website for updates and our Instagram account is documenting the journey,” Rainey said.
Anyone interested in details regarding the co-working space or public market should email [email protected].
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].
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