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For the past few years, the building at 102 Broad Street, on the corner at the north end of the Guilford Green, has been vacant. The building, last occupied by Trailblazer, acts as an introduction to the Green's entrance, however over the years, a variety of additions and changes in use had left the structure in less than favorable condition.
Breathing new life back into the area, local business Guardian Jet will move its expanding staff into the second floor of the unique building, occupying the space for office use.
"We are so excited about our move to this prime, dream location," said Guardian Jet co-founder Mike Mikolay. "Who wouldn't want to work on the Guilford Green? It is a beautiful area, with a neat unique atmosphere."
He added, "We have clients and industry professionals that come and visit us. We are proud to have those people come and see how beautiful Guilford is, especially the historic Green."
Guardian Jet has been steadily growing since its inception 12 years ago. The business, started by Mikolay and Mile Dwyer, buys and sells aircraft on behalf of its clientele.
It started off in Guilford and then moved to Tweed because of growth, then returned to Guilford. Expanding again, the business had a goal to remain in the town that many of its employees call home, including Mikolay.
"We specifically looked for space in Guilford that would accommodate our growing business and we are so excited to have found this special space," said Mikolay.
Currently cramped in 3,000 square feet at its 1445 Boston Post Road location, Guardian Jet will gain an additional 1,500 square feet of space with the move, which hopefully will accommodate the business for several years to come. Medical offices will move into the space at 1445 Boston Post Road.
"It is great to keep a growing, successful business in town," said Brian McGlone, Guilford's economic development coordinator.
Renovating the gateway building has been a serious undertaking for owner Doug Anderson, as well as architect Joseph Bergin, of Joseph Bergin Architect P.C. of Essex. Bergin calls the renovation "an adaptive reuse alteration project.
"This building was a dilapidated mish-mash with more than a century and a half of construction layering. In conceiving this alteration project, we were mindful of the building's primary asset-namely, its privileged location on the Guilford Green," explained Bergin. "Aligned with the vision of the building's owner, our aim was to restore a pride of place that has been absent from that spot for quite some time, and thereby contribute to the strength and vitality of the community and surrounding area."
Building on that concept, architect Russell Campaigne of Campaigne Kestner Architects in Guilford said, "It is great to bring people to the downtown area to occupy the empty spaces and support the other businesses."
Campaigne has worked closely with Guardian Jet to design a space that fits the company's needs, placing the executive offices in the front portion of the building, which is the historic area, and leaving the back portion with a more industrial, modern, open contemporary loft-style feeling.
"We were in the rare situation, because Guardian is the first, large tenant to the space, to have the chance to impact the interior design in regard to the style and set up," explained Campaigne.
Anderson gutted the space to the shell eight months ago and has been working to build it back up again, from the inside out. It has now been updated throughout, with an elevator and made handicapped accessible.
The building has five leasable spaces. The "street level" space on Broad Street has 2,000 square feet available and has been designed to house what Anderson hopes will be a high-end restaurant that fits in nicely with the area. Another 1,000 square feet, where the original wood clapboard meets the brick segment of the buildings is also available. According to Anderson, this area would make a great bakery/food establishment. Still another space has access to the lower level office space that Anderson thinks would be great for a "creative" area. In addition, there is some extra office space still available.
"Guardian Jet is a great asset to the town and the downtown area. I am glad we could make the space work to keep them in Guilford. They are the catalyst for the occupancy of this building and we are hoping that other occupants follow suit soon," said Anderson.
Hopes are to have the space ready for occupancy by the beginning of January 2014.