By HEATHER NELLIS
Recorder News Staff
TOWN OF AMSTERDAM -- A restoration company is dismantling a centuries-old English barn complex on Wallins Corners Road to make way for a planned unit development that will include apartments, condominiums and retail space.
Developer Joe Giardino sold the three-piece structure to Heritage Barns. Its staff started taking it down two weeks ago, and once fully dismembered in another three weeks, it will be transported, reassembled, and repurposed into a "barn home" in Ontario, Canada.
The barn is made out of had-hewn white oak and chestnut posts and beams, Giardino said.
"I knew I had a nice barn, and it was important to me to see it recycled," Giardino said. "It's a beautiful structure, and I'm making sure it doesn't go to waste."
The company, based in Waco, Texas, has dismantled more than 200 barns, and repurposes them into new homes across the globe, officials said.
For example, according to the company's website, barns from Fultonville, Charleston, Canajoharie, Glen, Ames and Stone Arabia have all been restored as homes in Texas.
Giardino said he purchased the 55-acre parcel that included the barn about 15 years ago from LeRoy and Ruth Peddie, who owned and operated a dairy farm that stretched from Maple Avenue to the vicinity of the Hurricana horse farm.
Anyone accustomed to driving by the structure might remember seeing the 1897 shingle design on the roof of one of the buildings, but Heritage Barns founder Kevin Durkin said it appears that's one of two bay additions to the main barn.
The main barn, Durkin estimates, was moved to its current location at one point, and based on its architecture, was erected in the 1700s.
He said there are scribe rules on the posts and beams, each of which are cut and numbered to fit in one specific place. They're not interchangeable, and rely on marriage marks to identify where they fit. This building method was replaced about 1815 as a result of the industrialization of building methods.
"It's a sign of an early New York barn," Durkin added. "It's set on top of a platform, and underneath is a milking parlor, so someone moved it, maybe even from that site."
Durkin said each barn he's come across is unique, and that's why they're so appealing to buyers.
"The materials speak of a past in which craftsmanship and enduring quality went hand-in-hand. The hand-hewn structural timbers were cut from the early American virgin forests and are much larger than any timbers available today."
In taking apart the barn, site Supervisor Steve Swift of Middleburgh said, "we just start at the top, and work our way down."
Swift and the other crew members have already dismantled the two bays, and are just starting on the main barn.
"That's the piece we're trying to salvage," Swift said.
Once the barn is cleared, Giardino said site work can begin for the development, which he's going to call Maple Creek Estates.
The project proposes two cul-de-sacs: one for the apartments and one for the cottages. The apartments will have access points from both Wallins Corners Road and Maple Avenue, with the cottages' entrance at Maple Avenue.
The development will be a mix of one- and two-story buildings and a "clubhouse," Giardino said, that will feature a pool, exercise facility and a meeting room, and the grounds will also have a walking trail.
The town Planning Board approved the project about a year-and-a-half ago.