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Plan to rebuild Farmington hotel moves ahead

Plan to rebuild Farmington hotel moves ahead Photo: Jack Haley, Messenger Post.

April 21, 2017 06:28 AM

FARMINGTON — It’s been one year and two months since Jaswin Gandhi and his family fled their home in the middle of the night with nothing but the bedclothes they were wearing.

An early morning fire gutted their Route 96 business and apartment at America’s Best Value Inn in the frigid early morning hours of Feb. 15, 2016.

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Now he’s just weeks away from breaking ground on a one-story motel with a second-story apartment at 6037 Route 96.

Farmington Planning Board members on Wednesday night approved Gandhi’s preliminary and final site plans, and if all goes well, reconstruction may begin as early as the end of May and continue for four or five months.

“It wasn’t good for me and my family, my kids and everybody,” said Gandhi of the fire. “We lost everything. But we had to get through it and try not to take it too hard.”

The Feb. 15 blaze summoned nearly 20 fire departments from three counties and displaced nearly a dozen people occupying seven units.

When firefighters arrived, they discovered the subzero temperatures had left only one of three nearby fire hydrants functional, and tankers had to bring in water to fight the fire. Ultimately, much of the roof collapsed onto the first story of the hotel, destroying the main building, including the Gandhi family’s upstairs apartment.

A separate building behind the main structure was untouched, but was uninhabitable because of the loss of utilities and nearby destruction from the fire. The main structure was finally razed last September.

The new America’s Best Value Inn will make use of the existing foundation to accommodate 18 guestrooms, an apartment, office and reception area, and exterior access to a basement laundry.

A stone front with siding will use multiple gray tones to brighten the elevation, engineer John Shields told Planning Board members on Wednesday. And the exterior of the existing units behind Park Place Restaurant, untouched by the fire, will be remodeled to match the new building. A 22-foot-wide parking lot will connect the two wings.

Farmington Director of Development Ron Brand said he is “pleased to see they’re going to do a facelift on the existing structure.”

“I’m very appreciative of Mr. Gandhi and his team for working with us to achieve this objective,” said Brand.

Planning Board member Mary Neale said she, too, likes the exterior design and is “ready to move forward.”

“You’ve been good citizens over the years and we’re glad to see you’re going to remain here over the next years,” said Planning Board Chair Scott Makin.

The project is spearheaded by engineer John Shields and architect Marc Mussachio. The property is zoned for general business .

“I’m excited and looking forward to when we can cut the ribbon and get back into the property,” said Gandhi. “It’s been a long time — one year, two months.”

Credits

Melody Burri, Messenger Post

Copyright 2017 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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