The future of the long-empty brick and limestone building at 29 Church St. in New Milford looks bright.

A public hearing is set July 10 at 7 p.m. before the Zoning Commission to present plans to change the structure's use from office to a retail showroom on the first floor and offices on the second floor.

Also planned are exterior renovations and parking lot improvements.

The building was purchased from the town this year for $120,000 by the owners of locally owned and operated Ameico, a high-end furnishings and product business that ships to clients like fashion designer Ralph Lauren and top museums across the country.

Ameico owners Peter Cahane and Jeannette Purdy plan a designer product exhibition gallery and design library open to the public in part of the building.

The exterior of the building is to remain as is, with cleaning of the graffiti and repairs to bring it back to its original appearance as the Southern New England Telephone building, the zoning application states.

Town attorney Randy DiBella said at the time of the sale that Mr. Cahane and Ms. Purdy stipulated they intend to preserve the architectural character of the building and have set aside $250,000 to ensure once the environmental cleanup is completed, the restoration work would commence.

The brick and limestone building, built in 1917, was first opened as a telephone company and later became a school, a youth community center and then town offices.

Susan Tuz