SKY LIVING: An oasis in the sky

Sitting atop the highest point in downtown Woodstock, homeowner Scott Fant overlooks both the serene and exciting. His condo is one of the few that extends the full width of the gigantic “Building B” of Woodstock Downtown, the mixed-use development that has the city core thriving.

>>By Erika Neldner
>>Photography by Kathryn Ingrall

Fant purchased his fourth floor condo in 2011 at what he calls a steal, after living for a year-and-a-half on the third floor of the same building.

It was a risk to move in here when I did with the building only one-third full because the owners would eventually be responsible for all the maintenance on the building. If we didn’t get filled up, we were biting off more than we could chew,” Fant said. “It was a leap of faith, but I felt like it just seemed headed in the right direction. I didn’t know for sure.”

Not long before Fant moved to Woodstock from Marietta, the downtown area was facing a huge setback, with the main developer filing for bankruptcy and the large building of condos headed for foreclosure. But he had a gut feeling on what would come and took that leap of faith.

“I loved it so much that I felt it was worth the risk,” Fant said.

He purchased his top floor condo and has not looked back.

Fant said he feels lucky to be where he is with two painted backdrops – one that overlooks the treetops right at the dome and cross that perches on top of First Baptist Woodstock and the other that peers out over bustling Main Street.

His 2,350-square-foot condo features two bedrooms and two-and-half baths and has windows on three sides. His bedroom faces east and he wakes to the sunrise every morning.

“I don’t set an alarm clock unless I have to be up really early for something,” he said. “Normally, I’ll leave the blinds open and wake when the sun comes up. The sunrise often is a really fantastic view.”

So fantastic that some mornings he grabs the camera to capture the image.

He said the sun rises right over the cross atop First Baptist Woodstock twice a year, and he has been lucky to capture those images.

One of the other features of the condo in the sky is getting the crisp afternoon sun in his west-facing kitchen, living room and home office area.

“I like late afternoon on this side when the sun is about to set,” he said.

Fant, who has worked for New York Life for 30 years, said he enjoys being able to have his home as his office as well. Set up near his kitchen, he has all he needs to get the day’s work done. Occasionally, he will have to meet a client outside his home but said he enjoys being able to hold meetings at 8 a.m. and be home by 10 a.m.

Along with his home office, Fant decorated the unit himself. The living area features a burnt amber wall and a historic claims map from Deadwood, South Dakota.

“It says quartz but the gold that was found in Deadwood was in the quartz. You had to melt it or crush it.

The TV series called ‘Deadwood’ talks about this and how they found all the gold, quartz,” Fant said. “We just went to Deadwood and Sturgis this summer for the motorcycle rally and my friend was closing his office and was getting rid of this, and I was like ‘I’ve gotta have that.’ I think this is one of three maps like this in the country. If you get a magnifying glass, there are some family names on the map and there are other names like pet names to these spots where they could dig. It’s a really cool piece of history.”

He has other conversation pieces including arrows purchased at downtown Woodstock’s Seven Arrows on the west side of Main Street.

“A lot of my stuff in here came from Seven Arrows across the street. All these arrows were made by a guy that supplied them to them and he has arrows in the Smithsonian. It’s really high-quality stuff. They were just plain, and I took my leftover paint and put the stripes on them so they would match,” Fant said.

One of Fant’s favorite parts of living atop one of Woodstock’s largest buildings is being able to be a part of the thriving downtown while also enjoying the quiet.

I love being able to see what’s going on and being removed from everything at the same time. It’s great to park my car and be home and have the option to see friends and go to dinner and go out and have a beer without having to drive anywhere. It’s fantastic,” he said. “People like me who have been here for over five years have seen patiently everything develop and all these empty spaces fill in. I’m really happy to be here. I feel very fortunate that Woodstock has turned out great.”

The building – five levels in the front and six levels in the back – houses several retailers, including boutiques, restaurants, a yoga studio, coffee house and more. Four levels of downtown living spaces are built above.

Fant enjoys many of the restaurants and stores downtown Woodstock has to offer, although he misses having a true sports bar.

“I truly miss Right Wing Tavern. That was kind of our normal sports bar kind of place (and) we no longer have a normal sports bar,” he said, adding that those who have come since have brought something to offer the masses, making Woodstock a destination.

“Everything is really nice and the energy that we got from one quality business opening to another and another has brought so many people here.”

He and his friends frequent Reel Seafood and have made friends with the bartender with whom they sit when they dine in.

“Our buddy is Vincent, the bartender over at Reel, so we love going over there sitting at the bar for dinner,” he said. “The food is outstanding at Century House but it’s more of a special occasion place for us. When the roof is open at Pure, that’s great because they have live music on the weekends. The newest edition is Salt Factory and we were just there. It’s a fantastic atmosphere. They’ve done a great job with the Edison lights and stuff in there. It’s really neat.”

The shopping is plentiful for purchasing gifts for his children and it even kept one of his recent houseguests busy. He said he enjoys Rak Outfitters and Branches for presents for his son, Harrison, 24, and daughters, Lauren, 26, and Palmer, 19. One of his recent houseguests from Tennessee took full advantage of the shopping while she was in town.

“She just wanted to shop for two days in Woodstock. She’d go down and come back an hour later with her arms full of bags, put stuff down and go back out and get more,” Fant said. “Apparently it’s a big hit.”

While Fant, who is the vice president of the condo owners’ association, said he does not plan on going anywhere anytime soon, he knows he’ll leave his home in the sky at some point.

“I feel really lucky and happy to be here and one day I probably will move but I will really miss it,” he said.

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