It won't be long before the historic Kemper-Gunn House is on the move. Plans for the structure's relocation from 35 Church Lane to a 0.13-acre spot at the nearby town-owned Baldwin parking lot on Elm Street are taking shape.
The 130-year-old, Queen Anne-style structure is now fenced-off and some of the original stained glass windows, including those in an upstairs attic space, have been removed and those spaces boarded up.
What's not visible from the outside are the pre-move preparations inside, where any items of historical significance have been salvaged, according to David Waldman, the developer who plans to re-purpose the building into retail and commercial space. Waldman has agreed to preserve the structure and move it to make way for his development team's multi-use Bedford Square project on the site of the Westport Weston Family Y.
These salvaged items include the original doors and frames, bricks, tiles and hardware, Waldman said Friday.
Waldman said he plans to begin excavating the house's new location at 35 Elm St. within a month and the relocation of the building should take place in late October or early November, Waldman said. The move could take three days.
Also on the Kemper-Gunn site, two signs announcing the pending Bedford Square development were recently posted. A large one shows a rendering of the project and states, "Available retail 1,000 --10,000 sf." Another smaller one also has a rendering with the words Bedford Square at the top. Both include the phone number of listing agents.
The house was saved from the wrecking ball last October when the Representative Town Meeting, in a unanimous vote, overturned a 4-2 vote by the Planning and Zoning Commission that rejected the proposed move. New members subsequently were elected to the P&Z in the municipal election the following month.
The Board of Selectmen last month approved the lease agreement for the town property on Elm Street where it will take up 22 parking spaces on the lot.
During the course of about 20 months, the relocation plan was reviewed by six different boards for approval.