Monday, April 27, 2015
By Dave Matlow
The 1840s barn at the former Geiger’s Garden Center, 1135 Post Road East, is coming down piece-by-piece, much of it to be preserved in a process called deconstruction.
A landmark, family-owned business at the 2.5-acre property since 1953, Geiger’s has been sold to make way for redevelopment to include 12 housing units, including two affordable, as well as a bank in the front. It was WestportNow’s Teardown of the Day on Oct. 31, 2013.
Joe DeRisi, owner of Hamden-based Urban Miners, a deconstruction, salvage and reclaimed goods business, is performing the work.
“We expect the entire barn will be deconstructed and removed by May 5,” he said, adding, “We’re saving historic materials such as roof sheeting, rafters, timber frames and siding that would usually be destroyed in a demolition.”
DeRisi said some of the materials will be used in the construction of the new buildings at the site by Coastal Construction. Coastal co-owner Joe Feinlab said the deconstruction materials are being placed in crates and transported to a storage facility.
DeRisi said the some of the materials will also be used in construction where the decor and respect for old workmanship is respected such as in a new barn in Bethany with which he is involved.
DeRisi is well trained in preserving history. Born in New Haven, he is a graduate of Southern Connecticut University with a degree in environmental studies. He also has an advanced degree in resource management and is a former environmental analyst for the state’s Southwest Conservation District.
He said he was 17 when he worked on his first construction job and gained an appreciation for the craftsmanship in many old houses.
“Then I saw bulldozers destroying it all,” he said. “My goal is sustainability and doing it with an eye on economy. Both need to work in balance.”
DeRisi said he has performed similar work on residential structures in Norwalk, Ridgefield, Stamford, Danbury, and Bridgeport but this is his first project in Westport.
Urban Miners also operates a retail business for sale of salvaged materials at 30 Manila Ave., Hamden (www.urbanminers.com).
Posted 04/27/15 at 10:13 PM
Offers some consolation…..
Glad to hear of your company!!
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