Preservation & Revitalization of Newtown’s Historic Main Street & Sandy Hook Village
Opportunities & Challenges
In 2013, after decades of deferred maintenance and neglect, two historic buildings located at 33 Main Street were at risk of being lost. The poor condition and historic classification of the buildings, coupled with businesses having migrated away from Newtown’s historic Main Street, presented major impediments for new investors and produced a lingering blemish on the centerpiece of the town. Flint Ridge Development stepped in and acquired the property with the goal of returning the buildings (the earliest of which dates to 1785) back to their former glory. Flint Ridge Development proactively took on the challenge of researching the property’s history and identifying the buildings’ architectural features that had been lost over time. They created and executed an adaptive reuse plan that not only reintroduced such features, but also attracted new businesses to Main Street that were beneficial to the local economy and community.
Flint Ridge Development has also taken an active role in preserving and revitalizing Sandy Hook Village, a historic factory and mill community located along the banks of the Pootatuck River. Like many small New England communities that thrived during the industrial revolution, Sandy Hook Village has struggled to fully reinvent itself. Since 2012, Flint Ridge Development has acquired four properties in the Village and has fully renovated, repurposed or constructed four buildings. Their high construction standards, coupled with their attention to architectural scale, proportion and historical fit, is helping to make Sandy Hook Village a more attractive and desirable location for both new and existing businesses.
Flint Ridge Development often undertakes significant restoration and adaptive reuse projects of historical buildings. Therefore, their projects tend to be comprehensive and involve upgrading a building’s exterior and interior components with sustainability a priority: energy efficient windows, doors and HVAC systems (with high MERV rated air filters), insulation and interior sound dampening material within demising walls, LED lighting and sensors that automatically operate common area lighting, as well as low VOC paint and carpet. From a site perspective, they often conduct significant work to improve storm water management, parking lot utilization, sidewalks, ADA access, as well as upgrade exterior lighting and landscaping. Their efforts consistently produce a comfortable, pleasing and befitting look to all their properties.
The following features are associated with many of their projects and further evidence Flint Ridge Development’s commitment to the preservation and revitalization of our historic “Main Streets”:
- Reintroduction of architectural features previously lost over time (canopies, stoops, corbels, windows, transoms, doors, etc.)
- Exposure of interior brick walls, fireplaces and structural steel particular to a building’s original construction
- Incorporation of hand-hewn beams and other salvaged wood products (wide plank flooring, sheathing & roof rafters) in the interior design
- Improved sightlines and the seamless introduction of outdoor space in the form of covered porches, patios and balconies
- Integration of stone walls, picket fences, footpaths, lawn areas and landscaping elements
- Tasteful illumination of their buildings’ unique architectural features at night
To date, Flint Ridge Development has self-funded all their projects. They deliberately partner with local professionals and contractors to execute their renovation and construction projects. By doing so, Flint Ridge Development deepens their relationship and engagement with the communities where they invest.
Thanks to Flint Ridge Development, Newtown is now proud to have 33 Main Street occupy such a prominent street corner. The historic buildings have been beautifully restored and are fully occupied with a mix of tenants that include a restaurant, a bakery, a photography studio and an employment agency. Such mix generates activity throughout the day and evening which is a welcomed and notable improvement from the property’s past when the buildings were predominately vacant and devoid of activity.
Recognizing the importance of establishing and maintaining a critical mass and synergistic mix of retail, restaurant, and office tenants, the developer is also actively working to help achieve these objectives in Sandy Hook Village. Their renovation and construction standards have become a model for others to follow and their completed projects have attracted new tenants to the area, including a new restaurant and a government office tenant that each occupy about 4,000 square feet. With each new project Flint Ridge Development completes and with each new tenant the developer attracts to Newtown’s “Main Street” areas, the community gets stronger; the future brighter.