In May, the DRB came up with a list of concerns about the project, which aims to connect 3 and 5 East Main Street, and turn the buildings into a hotel and retail space. The plans called for the installation of an elevator to address proper egress issues, as well as a plan to create a new, fire department-approved traffic flow behind the buildings, rather than between them. The DRB’s concerns included aesthetics and design, and whether they mesh with the flood hazard historic review district.
DRB chair Peter Wallace first noted that a “major pinpoint” of these concerns had been cleared up, as Lorista representative Dennis Stanek and project architect Jonathan Saccoccio had provided the board with a letter of support from the state’s division of historic preservation.
Stanek also explained to the board that plans to connect the two buildings with a brick structure had been scrapped in lieu of a design he believes is “more appropriate for downtown Wilmington.”
The connector will sit 30 feet back from East Main Street, creating a courtyard where visitors can relax. “We don’t want the buildings to fight for attention,” said Saccoccio, who said he would continue working with the Greek revival style the building already possesses.
To build the connector, Lorista Holdings and the Hermitage Group also needed to come to an agreement with Eileen Ranslow, who currently possesses a right of way between the two buildings. According to Stanek, this agreement is ready to be signed pending approval of the project.
Plans for the interior of the building have seen little change in two months, including the construction of an elevator, and the alteration of the professional building’s roof to use the third floor.The exterior plans have seen a significant change on the east side of the building as the space intended for the hotel lobby will become a carport.
The property will include surveillance and 24-hour staff, according to Stanek, and all security footage will be transmitted live to a security location used to manage all of the Hermitage-managed properties, including the Vermont House on West Main Street, currently undergoing renovations as well. The Hermitage also intends to run a valet service out of the properties they manage, which now include the White House on Route 9 east of the village.
Abutter Fred Houston asked if the board would consider making a condition of approval the removal of vinyl siding from the property. According to Saccoccio, the building will feature no vinyl products in its plans.
“We’d like to thank the town of Wilmington,” said Stanek. “This is an exciting project for us. Our intent is to revitalize and re-energize, and bring foot traffic to downtown Wilmington again.”