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Monmouth building taking shape

MONMOUTH -- Progress on the mixed-use building taking shape at Main Street and Monmouth Avenue has picked up in recent weeks.

Justin Martinez of Dalke Construction takes a shovel of gravel to use as fill Monday at the new structure being built at Main Street and Monmouth Avenue in Monmouth.

Photo by Pete Strong

Justin Martinez of Dalke Construction takes a shovel of gravel to use as fill Monday at the new structure being built at Main Street and Monmouth Avenue in Monmouth.

October 03, 2012

MONMOUTH -- Progress on the mixed-use building taking shape at Main Street and Monmouth Avenue has picked up in recent weeks.

That is a welcome change for co-developers and owners Bodie Bemrose and Gary Miller of Monmouth Holding Co. The project had experienced a number of delays that extended the timeline further than anticipated since the building was destroyed in a June 2011 fire.

"It's been a long time since the building burned," Bemrose said. "People are beginning to wonder what was taking so long, but we had a lot of things to work out since then."

There was the discovery of a long-forgotten Coca-Cola mural that designers decided to incorporate into the inside of the new building. That saved the historic mural, but also forced architects to re-engineer some elements of the design to make it work.

Developers also discovered that the former building had encroached beyond its property line, an issue that had to be worked out with the city of Monmouth.

Finally, the design on the new building -- which will use the architectural style of the late 1800s -- took time to perfect, especially for a team of developers that focuses more on revitalizing existing structures than building them from the ground up.

"To design a nice building, it takes a while," Bemrose said. "We didn't want to just throw something up. We wanted to build something the community could be proud of."

Thankfully for Bemrose and Miller, those delays are behind them.

"We are getting excited," Bemrose said. "It's moving pretty fast."

West Coast Pizza Co. will fill the main ground-floor retail space once the building is complete. The Real Taste of India Restaurant, which occupied the former building, was unable to commit to a lease.

Bemrose said negotiations have begun for a second retail tenant.

"We hope to be able to announce that soon," Bemrose said. "It will be great for the downtown."

Six 450-square-foot studio apartments of varying layout will occupy the second floor.

Bemrose estimates the 6,000-square-foot complex should be finished in about three months.

"Now things are rolling really fast," Bemrose said. "We will begin laying the brick in October. That's a long process, but we should start to see the structure of the building soon."

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