Josiah Smith Tavern Reuse

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Josiah Smith Tavern (JST)

The firm of Baker Wohl Architects was selected by the Permanent Building Committee (PBC) to provide design services for the JST re-use project.  The first step for the architect was to complete a thorough evaluation and assessment of the JST’s condition and advise the PBC on what it would take to get the entire building/complex up to code and construct the project (see the preferred reuse section below). The cost estimate includes hard construction costs, professional services, or “soft” costs, such as architectural and engineering fees, and other normal contingencies.

The $10 - 11 million construction estimate provided in the February report below was higher than the 2015 estimate, which prompted a thorough review and comparison between the 2015 and February estimates. That cost comparison is below.

It is important to understand that the JST must be brought up to code for any public use, not just the preferred reuse. The cost estimate does not include the build-out of the barn as a restaurant (the preferred reuse) since the restaurateur will be responsible for bringing that portion of the complex up to restaurant-ready code. 

February Report and Construction Estimate

The architect's 253-page February 2018 report can be viewed in its entirety below:

April Cost Comparisons

Since the issuance of the above report, the PBC has been working with the design team, the former chairs of the JST/OL Working Group and the Facilities Director to thoroughly review and define the construction cost of the project. Below is a cost comparison of what was projected in 2015, what was estimated in the architect's February 2018 report above, and what the PBC has further distilled as the anticipated construction fund request at a future Town Meeting. This estimate is just under $9.4 million:
Under "Notes," item 4 speaks to cost estimates if the entire building was built out by the Town for non-profit space only. That version would add another 5% in construction costs the Town would need to assume; however, the preferred reuse calls for the barn portion to be built out and funded by the restauranteur. 

Additional Design Funds

The funds for the design and engineering fees by Baker Wohl for the adaptive reuse of the JST was approved by the 2017 Annual Town Meeting. That amount was $630,000 from the Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds. An additional $200,000 in CPA funds was requested and approved at 2018 Annual Town Meeting in order to complete the design work, produce bid documents, and secure construction bids.

Construction funds will be requested at a future Town Meeting.

Rumor vs Fact

Bringing this historic building back to public use is not a simple project and it has many intricacies, along with a long history. There are many misconceptions surrounding this project, so the proponents have outlined and answered the most common questions, which can be read on this web page.

Preferred Reuse

In 2016, an RFP for adaptive reuse of the building was issued and the Selectmen designated the Friends of the Josiah Smith Tavern, a non-profit entity, as the preferred proponent for the reuse of the Tavern, Barn, and Connector.  

The proposal by the Friends of the Josiah Smith Tavern provides for a 105-seat, "farm to table" restaurant in the Barn, Connector and original Tap Room, with subsidized rental space for Weston Historical Society, Weston Forest & Trail Association and the Women's Community League of Weston. The second floor ballroom of the Tavern will be available for community and tenant use and landscaping around the buildings will provide a natural garden setting with walking paths and benches.

Ownership of the building will remain with the Town and both taxes and rent will be paid by the restaurant operator:

Stay Informed - Follow Progress

The project is currently with the PBC. Residents can subscribe to receive notification of when meeting agendas and minutes are posted if they would like to follow the progress of this project. 

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