Demetroules plans to resurrect Red Swan Inn

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:12

    Warwick-Will the Red Swan get to rise from the ashes like the legendary Phoenix? The original Red Swan Inn, located on the site now occupied by the Warwick Country Club, was a grand hotel designed by Architect Ernest G.W. Dietrich and built at the turn of the century. It was destroyed by fire and disrepair in the 1950's. Demetroules R.E., LLC has petitioned the Village of Warwick for a zoning change that would create a new "floating hospitality traditional neighborhood design zone." The firm says the zone, located at the intersection of Oakland Avenue and Route 17A, would allow for the revival of the historic Red Swan Inn at the original southern gateway to the Village. They point out that the zone is consistent with the new Village of Warwick Comprehensive Plan. "Our family has deep Warwick roots and is firmly committed to finding the best aesthetic and economic outcome for the community," said Michael S. Demetroules, a Warwick native and manager of Demetroules R.E. LLC. "Resurrecting the Red Swan Inn and creating a picturesque and welcoming entrance to the Village, one that is consistent with the quaint character and charm of Warwick, is, we believe, the ideal way to develop the property and enhance the Village." Demetroules and his four siblings are the grandchildren of Thomas Welling VI, and direct descendants of the first Thomas Welling who in 1750 founded what became Welling Pioneer Farm and Dairy. The Welling family has been prominent in the business and charitable affairs of Warwick since pre-Revolutionary War times. Among the many civic contributions of the Welling family is the grant of certain reservoirs and easements that form the basis of Warwick's present-day municipal water supply. Demetroules has spent the past few years discussing the concept with a wide cross-section of Warwick residents, merchants and community leaders. "The need to develop "hospitality" services is clear from the Village of Warwick Comprehensive Plan. This, combined with community input and market demand, leads us to believe that these essential services would promote the Village's agri-tourism agenda, complement existing business and community resources and amenities, and attract new visitors, generating new revenue for Village businesses," said Demetroules. He added that "Importantly, hospitality services create jobs for the community, generate tax ratables and unlike residential development, hospitality development will not burden the school system." Steven Spiegel, a Warwick resident and lead member of the project team said, "The creation of this new zone is consistent with the three primary assets of the Village of Warwick: Identity, Sense of Commitment, and History. This project could set the standard for future building in the Village and would guarantee that Warwick remains true to its character for future generations." In announcing preliminary plans for the new inn, the Demetroules firm enumerated benefits from the project: "The new Red Swan Inn at Welling Farm Square would provide numerous benefits to the community, including: new jobs; increased tourism dollars to the Village with little or no impact on infrastructure; increased tax ratables for Warwick schools, Village and Town; a boost to Warwick's growing agri-tourism and eco-tourism agenda; a scenic southern gateway that enhances the character of the Village; increased commerce for local businesses; expanded opportunities to walk, shop, dine, entertain and host family occasions such as weddings, birthdays, religious occasions, retirement, bridal and baby showers, and more; a meeting conference center space and amenities." "Our goal is to expand and enhance the look and feel of the Village of Warwick today," said Jeff DeGraw, a lifelong Warwick resident and lead architect on the project.  "Traditional neighborhood design means essential hospitality services can and should be combined with other desirable uses, in a setting consistent with the Village of Warwick's aesthetics, architecture, design and historic, small town feel."  He stessed that the project will complement what Warwick already has n "great shops and neighborhoods, a wonderful Main Street and a fantastic sense of community." The plan builds from those elements with a mix of uses that will help make a vibrant new neighborhood for the Village. "We envision a place where people can live, guests can visit and shop, and events, whether weddings or meetings, can be held within the Village," said DeGraw. To make this vision a reality, Demetroules has brought together a team that he fondly refers to as "Warwick Building Warwick," a group of seasoned professionals, most of whom call Warwick home. They include: Jeff DeGraw, owner and partner in DeGraw & DeHaan Architects; Steven Spiegel, chief counsel, spokesperson and principal in Spiegel and Jones LLP; Dave Getz, co-owner and Karen Emmerich, senior planner from Lehman & Getz Engineering PC; M. Vincent and James Mezzetti, financiers and principals in Myles Financial Services; Darren Stridiron, Heritage Land Surveying, P.C.; Jane Spiegel and Erin Rice-Mills, partners in Janerin Communications, a Warwick-based communications firm; John Driscoll, graphic design and illustration; and Steve Laico, website developer and designer and principal in Searchlight Consulting. The project is targeted to break ground in spring 2005. The public is invited to a preview of the new Red Swan Inn at Welling Farm Square on Tuesday, May 11, and Thursday, May 13, both at 7 p.m. at the Doc Fry Community Center. Seating is limited and reservations are suggested by logging onto or calling 651-5000.