The Planning & Zoning Commission on Thursday unanimously approved site in downtown Greenwich. The estimated $20.5 million project involves razing the historic fire station at 15 Havemeyer Place and building a new, slightly larger, modern replica in its place.
During the meeting at Town Hall the commissioners learned more about which historic elements of the , built in 1937, will be incorporated into the new facility.
Doug Roberts, with JCJ Architecture, said in response to the requests of the Town Historic District Commission, Architectural Review Board, and Planning & Zoning Commission his firm is in the process of "re-crafting the old building to the same proportions, using the original blueprints as a guide." He said certain architectural elements — including the building's original metal work, lights and windows — will be reused in the new construction.
However Alan Monelli, the town's building superintendent, explained that because the new fire station will be slightly larger, it will not be possible to reuse the original limestone facing on the exterior.
"The amount of limestone on the current building is not enough to cover the new facility," Monelli said. "So we came up with a method — in the spirit of your request — to place new limestone on the building… and then salvage some of the original limestone and hold it for the general contractor, who will send it out to be re-cut, re-sized and cleaned. That original limestone will then be reused in the interior of the new facility."
Roberts said some of the limestone and granite facing on the building — including the limestone panels that have "Central Fire House" etched into them — will be reused in the new facility's lobby. In addition several plaques, including one acknowledging the original facility's historic significance, will be affixed to the original stonework.
Roberts estimated there will be about 500 square feet of granite that can be used — about 20 percent of it will break when salvaged, he said — but about 1,110 square feet is needed in order to cover the new building.
"That's why we were using the idea of taking that granite base and using it as an interior finish application for the public lobbies," he said, adding that the material will be better preserved for the future by moving it inside.
He said the granite panels that are between the current facility's windows will be reused on the exterior of the new facility in the same fashion.
The building's old light fixtures will also be refurbished and reused throughout the new facility.
Commissioner Fred Brooks wanted to know what the incremental cost is for preserving the historical elements.
Roberts estimated the incremental cost for preserving the stone at around $200,000 — but Molnelli said it was too soon to say, since that part of the project hasn't gone out to bid yet.
Molnelli reported that the architectural drawings are now about 25 percent complete. He said current projections show the building, which was approved at $17,085,000, currently coming in at $17,420,000, "so we're pretty much right on target," as far as the project budget goes.
Meanwhile the fire station's located in the nearby Horseneck municipal parking lot is and ready to be moved into. Fire Chief Peter Siecienski said the Building Department has issued certificates of occupancy and "right now all we're waiting for final sign-off from the fire marshal." The Central Fire House's ladder truck and crew will temporarily relocate to the Cos Cob Fire Department.
Last year the Representative Town Meeting and Board of Estimate and Taxation , despite appeals from members of the community and groups including the Greenwich Preservation Trust, who wanted to see the historic building renovated. Firefighters and town officials pointed to the current facility's poor condition, lack of functionality and non-compliance with state code as reasons to pursue an all-new station.