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New Owner Eyes Bakery for Empty Downtown Building

The Hamilton man who bought a building on a portion of the former Hansbury property says he is hoping to get a bakery to locate on the first floor of the building.

The new owner of a commercial building in downtown Hamilton says he is doing all he can to get a bakery to move into the building.

This week Michael Pallazola of Hamilton unveiled plans to spruce up the building at 227 Willow St., which is the southern part of the former Hansbury property.

The building will not be expanded upward or outward but instead given a new look on the outside.

“We’re just trying to dress it up,” said Ray Guertin, an architect from Ipswich who is working on the project.

New windows will be installed on the first floor and six new lightposts will be installed in the parking lot. The lightposts will be 14 foot tall "antique-style" lamps that will be "dark sky compliant."

The plans show a wrap-around roof overhang being added between the first and second floors and a cornice along the roofline on the top of the two-story concrete block building.

Pallazola, who owns Hi-Tech Electric, said he had originally planned to move his business into the building. It is currently housed off Western Avenue in Essex.

“I kept getting prodded – this bakery idea kept coming up,” Pallazola said.

In a poll by Hamilton-Wenham Patch, conducted on Facebook in June 2011, Patch users said the No. 1 type of businesses they wanted added to the downtown was a bakery.

And while empty retail space along Main Street in Wenham will become a pizza shop by the end of the year, earlier this year the real agent that was working to lease the space said there had been interest in possibly locating a bakery there.

The plan for the Willow Street building calls for the installation of a grease trap with the anticipation that a food use may move into the first floor.

“I really want a bakery/café in there,” Pallazola said, adding he was willing to spend the money now to install the grease traps in hope of luring a bakery.

On the top floor, Pallazola said he plans to lease the office space. There is room for up to five tenants, but a interior decorator/designer expressed interest in renting half the second floor, he said.

Other uses such as attorney and architect's office would work on the second floor, Graham said.

The building has been empty "for quite a while," according to Larry Graham of Ipswich, the project engineer. He said the plans will "spruce it up quite a bit."

There's also an empty two-family home at the front of the property, close to Willow Street. Pallazola said this week he has no immediate plans for it.

"It is all going to fit together when it is done," Pallazola said.

There is no commitment from any tenants right now, Pallazola said. And the first floor, which is about 5,000 square feet, will be divided to allow for two tenants.

"It's not rented yet, we're having discussions," he said.

While he continues to search for tenants, he hopes to get the improvements completed by winter.

“We need to wrap the building to stop the water infiltration and get some insulation on there,” he said, later adding "I've had some possible tenants come and go because I haven't started the project."

During the Zoning Board’s review on Wednesday, about eight neighbor listened as the plans were unveiled. They were concerned about the possible impact of lights and noise on the neighborhood. But none of them offered opposition.

"This looks way cool - thanks," said Steve Ozahowski, a neighbor.

The Zoning Board of Appeals voted 3-0 to approve the project, which can get started after a 20 day appeal window passes.

Both the Zoning Board, and the Planning Board a night earlier, said the 33 parking spaces on the property meet the town's parking requirements. 

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