Built in 1899 and operated as a Chevrolet showroom in the 1920s, the Millard Building is a Midtown gem with its Beaux-Art limestone façade and large windows. Set at an angle to Broadway, it is fronted by a small park, interrupting the straight ranks of buildings with a burst of green that offers rest to pedestrians.
The current owners, five partners based in Newburgh, have done a complete gut rehab, including new plumbing, electric, insulation, and re-fabricated storefronts, since acquiring the building five years ago. Their efforts landed them an award from Friends of Historic Kingston in 2008, and despite a very difficult economy, the building operates in the black, with all but one of the row of shops running along Grand Street occupied by commercial tenants; Planned Parenthood is about to move into a 4,500-square-foot space on the second floor.
Thanks to his involvement in the Millard Building, part-owner Joe Flynn, owner, with several of his partners, of Commercial Industrial Construction Corp., has gotten into the retail business. When the restaurant supply business located on the ground floor went out of business, he and his wife, Jayme, bought up the inventory at auction and reopened the store as the Culinary Warehouse three years ago. Because the front of the building is now occupied by the pizzeria and the Kingston Pharmacy, the store is now located at the back of the building; some former customers don’t realize all they have to do is walk down Grand to browse once again the great kitchenware.
Compared to the old store, a greater portion of the business is retail, with the remaining 60 to 70 percent derived from restaurants. The store stocks everything a restaurateur or serious home cook needs, from gadgets to cookware to silverware to stoves and convection ovens. Flynn said in late spring the store plans to restart its program of cooking classes (suspended over the winter), which take place in a small kitchen on the premises and are held on Wednesday evenings. A children’s cooking class will be offered, and chefs from local restaurants will be invited to prepare their specialties. Check Culinary Warehouse’s Facebook page for updates.
The Millard Building’s other tenants represent a nice mix of businesses and include Sensational Nails Hair Salon and Hometown Beverages, a distributor of beer and soda, both along Grand Street. One 1,400-square-foot storefront is available, along with 12,000 square feet on the second floor. Flynn said CICC plans to break up the space into 15 smaller offices, unless a large tenant suddenly appears. The second floor also has four well-lit lofts, three of which are occupied. A major advantage is that there’s a large, adjacent parking lot, also owned by CICC, along with several parking spaces in front.
“We’re very lucky. We have very good tenants and are holding our own,” said Flynn. He is appreciative of the city’s support, from the mayor to the building and fire departments. “Everyone’s been wonderful. Kingston is a great place and we enjoy being here.”