End of an Era

MANCHESTER - Demolition of a local landmark began Tuesday and continued into Wednesday, as the former Sirloin Saloon restaurant made way for a newer complex to be known as Marble Mill Plaza.

The demolition followed a decision by the District 8 Environmental Commission to issue a final stormwater permit along with the Act 250 land use permit to Dorset Development, LLC, the owners of the former restaurant and nightspot. The removal of the 13,500 square-foot former Sirloin Saloon building, closed since December, 2011, will allow for the construction of a new, 19,450 square-foot structure.

The demolition began Tuesday morning around 10 a.m. with the removal of the northern portion of the building, in the rear.

"The fire department was in last (Monday) night," said Craig Hunter, Director of Facilities at Manchester Design Outlets. "They were putting holes in the roof... and they went ahead and took out the windows."

Also on hand at the demolition was Victor Rolando of the Manchester Historical Society.

"These used to be all marble mills... around the curve of the river," Rolando explained. He pointed out the exterior wall of the rear of the building, where they were about to begin tearing down. "The last mill... a 30-by-70-foot building... was built around there." He pointed out the foundation at the back of the building that was made of stone, not concrete, from the original building.

Rolando said that he was on hand to identify the remains of the original building, as well as other historical aspects of the building, and make sure they were set aside. He explained that since the Sirloin Saloon building was built on top of the old mill's foundation, there was the potential of finding old equipment in the currently-flooded basement.

Once they have demolished enough of the building, Rolando explained that they will then be able to get into the basement and pump out the water that has accumulated. Then, he will be able to get in there to see if there is anything left from the original building.

"It really is an end of an era," Rolando said. "This building contains the last remains of the last mill... it's a transitioning time for buildings in Manchester."

The demolition of the building is expected to take two-to-three days, beginning with the roof. Any materials that they can recycle or reuse were being set aside on Tuesday. Then, the rest of the building will be torn down in sections.

"We're trying to be careful," said Hunter about the possibility of finding historical items.

After the building is taken down, the foundation will be removed and an assessment of how much blasting is required will then be determined. The blasting will be needed to fix the grade between the former Sirloin Saloon property and the Kenneth Cole Building, Hunter said.

The Act 250 application was first filed on April 10, 2013. The hearing was held in the Manchester Town Offices on May 2.

Prior to the meeting, the group made a site visit, surveying both the exterior facade of the building as well as the surrounding parking lots, access to the Battenkill, and the hill between the building and Kenneth Cole.

The recess notes for the meeting were released a week later, requiring Hunter to submit some more documents before they could make a decision, including a Storm Water Permit.

Once all of the documents were submitted, and Hunter provided evidence of his conversations with third parties, the Environmental Commission made their final decision to approve their Land Use Permit.

"We plan to start our site work in 3-4 weeks," Hunter said.


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