CLAREMONT — The old Daily Eagle/Eagle Times building at 19 Sullivan St. in Claremont could become the new transitional housing home for former inmates as they work their way back into society.

Sullivan County officials have been searching for a location would house both men and women.

At Monday’s meeting of the Commissioners at Sullivan County Health Care in Unity, Architect Jay Barrett of Barrett Architects, White River Jct., had some very positive remarks about the building at the corner of Sullivan and Franklin streets.

“The condition of the building is really, really good,” Barrett revealed. Built in 1930, Barrett said it was well built and well maintained. Located next to the lot that formerly housed the Magnet Theater building before it was destroyed by fire, the parking area has room for 11 cars.

The mechanical, electrical and plumbing are drivers of about 40 percent of the building, according to Barrett. “With about 12,300 square feet, it can be purchased for a little more than $30 a square foot,” he stated. “It’s amazing how well that building has adapted itself on one-third of an acre.

“If you’re looking at long-term value I think the site has tremendous value,” Barrett continued. “This building has a lot of good space, Building-code wise this project isn’t giving me the willies,” he added.

Barrett said the exciting part is the good meetings he has had with county officials. “There would be a minimal amount of repairs.”

The WRJ architect said the first floor would be primarily for dormitory space with a 30-50-bed range along with an office. “You could flip the first and second floor for women and men with quiet study areas on each floor,” he reported.

As for cost, Barrett said it could be a $2 million project but not between $1 and $2 million. He projected it would cost between $2 and $2.5 million.

“It wouldn’t be anything exotic but I think it would be a very exciting and worthwhile project,” Barrett predicted.

The county will be applying for a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant and should have an answer by the November deadline. According to Sullivan County Manager Derek Ferland, Claremont Savings Bank would provide a loan that would equal up to 80 percent of the value of the building prior to the renovation appraised value.

Ferland said the county must be able to show it has sufficient funding in place to apply for the CDBG.

Commissioner George Hebert asked if there would be a potential for any income potential. We’re planning on $100 per week from each resident, Ferland noted.

Barrett said the county would not be throwing out a lot of what you are buying.

He told the commissioners the top two floors would have dormitory-style housing while the bottom floor would house the kitchen, dining room, office space and possible community room.

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