MONROE, CT — Dwight Hall, who is a photographer, owns Hallofame Studio & Loft at 1700 Dixwell Ave. in Hamden, which provides an event space for intimate gatherings such as weddings, baby showers, kids’ parties and corporate events.
“I want to expand my business,” Hall told the Monroe Planning and Zoning Commission at a hearing on April 6. “I see a current need in that area, so now we’re looking to take it to a broader market, at this point going into Monroe.”
Last Thursday, the commission unanimously approved a special exception permit allowing Hall’s business to lease 3,000-square-feet of space at 1565 Monroe Turnpike, a converted warehouse building on the former Stevenson Lumber property.
The building is currently occupied by a church with an empty space for a third tenant between it and the new event space.
Hall said his business will have a white campus, with white floors, white walls and a couple chandeliers. Renters can design the space to provide unique settings for their events.
“With the market the way it is, interest rates are going up, everything is pricey, I think we bring a sigh of relief where someone doesn’t have to go bankrupt trying to afford a wedding and have a kid’s party,” Hall said. “They can come to our event space and still get that luxury feel at a discount price.”
No more than 50 guests will attend each event, which is also the capacity allowed by Fire Marshal William “Bill” Davin.
The business will provide security, with a guard on the inside and outside, and ensure proper licensing and insurance is in place, according to Hall.
“I think we bring a sigh of relief where someone doesn’t have to go bankrupt trying to afford a wedding and have a kid’s party. They can come to our event space and still get that luxury feel at a discount price,” — Dwight Hall
He said no alcohol will be served, there will be no kitchen and no event will end later than 11 p.m. The business will operate Monday through Sunday from 10 a.m. until 11:30 p.m. After each event ends, Hall said there is time to clean up.
Though it is open seven days a week, Hall said most events are on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Hall said it will not be a big venue for events like concerts, rather, it will be for “something real intimate, bridal showers, baby showers, small kids’ parties — something similar to a potluck, where folks will bring food from home, occupy the space for five-to-seven hours and then go home.”
Hall said caterers could be brought in with food heated in Sternos. There will be no live music, just a deejay.
During the hearing, Robert Westlund, a commissioner, asked if there are any sound barriers in the building.
“The owner assured me of everything,” Hall said. “He has sound barriers. It makes it soundproof.”
Leon Ambrosey, a commissioner, asked whether there is adequate parking for the business.
Hall said there are 50 parking space and the owner, Anthony Galbo, plans to increase it to 90. Hall also estimates two-to-three people per vehicle for his events of 50 guests or less.
In its approval, the commission noted the exterior lighting will be Dark Sky compliant to reduce glare onto neighboring properties, the site will be served by a private well and a subsurface sanitary septic system.
The applicant will provide private security for all events, no alcoholic beverages will be allowed on the premises, no kitchen facility will be installed, and compliant off-street parking, including ADA compliant spaces are proposed.
The leased space will use a shared bathroom.
After the commission approved his special permit Thursday, Hall said, “I’m pretty excited by this opportunity to bring something new to the area — to bring a little energy to something that’s already there. I plan to be responsible and bring something better for the community.”
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