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A local brew master and entrepreneur whose family has operated several long-established businesses in town is one step closer to his dream of opening a new local brewpub.
The proposal is something of a dream come true for local officials as well, since it would represent the first for-profit commercial tenant establishing a presence at Fairfield Hills since the town acquired the former state hospital in 2004.
On May 21, the Board of Selectmen unanimously approved recommending the local Legislative Council authorize striking a lease with partners Mark Tambascio of My Place Restaurant and, a local architect and developer, who are moving forward with the plan under the name M&D Brewery.
The pair approached the town with their interest in renovating Stratford Hall in Fairfield Hills to serve as a brewpub, which would include beer and beverages, food trucks, an outdoor pizza oven, food delivery from local restaurants, and even a “bring your own food” option.
During a presentation ahead of the Fairfield Hills Authority approving the concept, Mr Tambascio also mentioned a fire pit and patio for the brewpub, a bocce court, outdoor toss games, indoor board games, darts, table games, and live music as possibilities for making the venue as accessible to all town residents and visitors as possible.
First Selectman Dan Rosenthal told The Newtown Bee following the meeting that the town will bear the cost of remediating and replacing the building’s original roof, as that work was already planned to better preserve the structure before the current brewpub proposal was formally pitched.
Fairfield Hills Authority Chairman Ross Carley said that there is existing bond money that has been long approved that will cover the town’s part of the roof remediation, so no new money would have to be sought.
The town will also provide utility connectivity, exterior window trim work, and additional remediation as required. The estimated public investment would be approximately $180,000.
“The ability to reuse the building declines quickly if the roof is bad,” the first selectman said. “But the proposed lessees will do all the heavy lifting as far as the remaining cleanup and renovations are concerned. That is a rare thing for anyone to do that for a reuse project.”
Mr Rosenthal said the proposed commercial brewpub honors the intent of the original Fairfield Hills Master Plan, and “evidences the art of the impossible.”
He said the development, once completed, will add a whole new dynamic to activities on the existing campus.
“Who could ask for more — having a known entity who already operates successful established businesses in town, and having development partners who are both residents,” Mr
Rosenthal added. The facility would be steps from the new community center and adjacent to one of the few remaining buildings on campus with high reuse potential, Woodbury Hall.
The developers initial anticipated investment is about $750,000, with additional improvements to come once the property is readied for conversion to a brewpub.
Food trucks will be permitted to station at the finished establishment three nights each week, and any other local restaurant will be permitted to distribute menus or other promotional material at the location.
Further discussions will involve whether there is a place for some type of “pop-up” store or boutique on the premises, and if local artisans could display their work or products there, according to Mr Rosenthal.
While it has not been agreed upon by all parties, a preliminary suggested lease arrangement reviewed by selectmen includes a $200 monthly lease rate for years one through five; $500 per month for years six through ten; $830 per month for years 11 through 20; with an optional renewal for years 21 through 30 at $2,000 monthly. The tenant would also be responsible for all added common charges.