Brooks House Owner Making Plans To Re-Open

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(Host) The owner of Brattleboro’s fire-damaged Brooks House says it could be a year before serious reconstruction begins on the 140 year old building.

Ten Main Street businesses and some 70 residents were forced out of the building by a fire on April 17th. Owner Jonathan Chase says he would like to open the ground floor for business before the residential floors above it are completed.

But Chase says plans won’t be finalized until a feasibility study is complete, probably at the end of the summer.

The property is assessed at $2.3 million, but Chase says the restoration will cost more. 

(Chase) "This project is going to be a very financially intensive project. We will be looking for historic preservation tax credits, other sources of funding that have been suggested and offered to us by the state as well as the federal government. And each of these processes slows the project up."

(Host) Chase says the building’s interior has been gutted and dried and will probably remain as it is for quite a while — with one dramatic exception.

Next week he’s planning to raise the Brooks House’s rebuilt Mansard roof, using an enormous crane.

(Chase) "The fire burnt the fifth floor roof completely off. And I did not want to remove the fifth floor penthouse. The architectural detail of that is so key to the architectural integrity of the buildings.

(Host) The building’s tenants displaced by the fire were mostly lower income renters. Chase says his study will help determine whether that will be the case when the Brooks House is rebuilt.

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