What to Do About Wasted Space in Village Hall? [Empty in Southampton]

The second and third floors of Southampton Village Hall have been empty for years.

Southampton Village Hall is and at one point or another has housed the Police Department, Building Department, Village Justice Court and U.S. Post Office, as well as private firms and a phone company.

In 2012, while the first floor contains the Village Board room and several offices for village business, the second a third floors are used for nothing more than storing boxes of old documents. It's still apparant where the holding cells once stood for the , which relocated to a new building on Windmill Lane in 2002.

Flooring, walls and fixtures have been gutted, leaving both the second and third floors in need of major renovation before they can be occupied again.

In recent years, there have been talks of selling Village Hall and using the proceeds to construct an environmentally sustainable building on Windmill Lane — but the Village Board dropped the idea after a public outcry. Many wanted Southampton Village Hall to remain on Main Street in its current space. Residents and business owners cited the historic nature of the building and the character of the village as well as the foot traffic that Village Hall brings to downtown businesses.

An alternative plan is to renovate Village Hall in a manner consistent with the Americans With Disabilities Act, including an elevator. The village went as far as commissioning architectural drawings. But this proved a costly prospect and was put on the back burner when the Great Recession hit. Instead, village officials turned their focus on a new headquarters for the , which .

One idea that has been floated but never came to fruition is leasing the first floor to a retail business and using the proceeds to fund the renovation of the top floors for village offices. Restoring Village Hall would also allow the village to save the expense of leasing space on Hill Street for the Building Department, as the expansive second and third floors could fit all the departments currently located on the first floor, and then some.

What would you like to see done with ? Should the village float a bond to renovate the building? Should alternative funding be sought? Should the village just sell 23 Main Street and start anew elsewhere in the village, possibly next to the police station? Share your ideas by leaving a comment below.

See more from the Empty in Southampton series:

Peter May 01, 2012 at 10:46 PM
No problem, float a bond! Why pay for something when you can take out a loan? Add this renovation to the proposed catering facility at Cooper's Beach, renovation of the Windmill Lane building, new SVVA ambulance headquarters, etc.. Truly addictive behavior for spending money IMO. Can you say, "Municipal Bankruptcy?"
Brendan J. O'Reilly (Editor) May 01, 2012 at 11:05 PM
Scott commented via Southampton Patch's Facebook page: "Leased as office space for non profits. Can make the rent nominal and no RE tax to pass thru. Better than sitting empty."
Peter May 01, 2012 at 11:40 PM
Jeez, Brendan, have the aol corporate powers required that you, Taylor, Lisa, etc. "churn the waters and hits" by re-posting comments from Fa(r)ceBook? Sad.
Brendan J. O'Reilly (Editor) May 02, 2012 at 12:11 AM
Also via Southampton Patch's Facebook page, Anita commented, "Dance studio! lol" Prince of Scots said, "Nice lofts to live in the center of the village!"1
Jaguar-Guy May 02, 2012 at 12:12 PM
They should renovate using as many "Green" products as possible (flooring, carpeting, insulation, etc.), and offer a low initial rent rate on 2nd and 3rd floor office space, with a brand store below, which gradually increases year-to-year as an incentive to fill the spaces and keep them filled so that the Village starts generating income again. The Village should seek out tenants and offer the option of having an input on the build-out.
Meadow Lane May 02, 2012 at 12:40 PM
SHV does not have taxpayer money to waste renovating Village Hall. These are difficult economic times for everyone. If it was the exterior, fine. But these are the interior upper floors and nobody sees them. The cost was estimated to be millions of dollars by a former Village Trustee who was always weak with his pencil and math. The only idea more lame brained than this is the "catering hall" that Village Trustee Hattrick proposed at Cooper's Beach. Imagine local government being in the catering business??? He'll probably want it named after him. Putz!
Beppe May 02, 2012 at 12:40 PM
Sell it and move to a more cost effective location
Jaguar-Guy May 02, 2012 at 12:58 PM
I understand that Meadow, but what do you do with the space?? We cannot just leave that Historic Space empty and in shambles. What do you suggest?
Mary Beth May 02, 2012 at 03:51 PM
If you stop and think for a moment of a use that could generate revenue or benefit the people of Southampton, then the tax dollars would be well spent. Not all government spending is automatically bad.
Brendan J. O'Reilly (Editor) September 26, 2012 at 08:53 PM
The village is considering installing an elevator and moving the Building Department into the second floor. She the article here: http://southampton.patch.com/articles/village-hall-to-get-elevator-building-department-to-move-back-in


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