Tourists Resort plans for former Mass Ave church approved / iBerkshires.com
This illustration shows the parking lot and trails behind the old church on Massachusetts Avenue.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass .– The planning council on Monday approved amended plans for the former Church of Our Lady of the Incarnation, weeks after city council approved a zoning change for the adjacent property and months after the first presentation of the plans.
The Blackinton Partners LLC – made up of various limited liability companies linked to the resort – purchased what was originally the Father Matthew Total Abstinence Society building at 1288 Massachusetts Ave. several years ago to transform it into a restaurant and, when that failed, had been approved as a hospitality and multipurpose space for the motel.
All construction has been postponed due to the pandemic over the past year, but the additional residential property east of the building, 1272 Massachusetts Ave., was purchased during that time. The Business 2 zoning extension to cover this property was requested by Centerville Sticks LLC in March and approved after a joint town planning and city council meeting in May.
Eric Kerns, speaking on behalf of the partnership group, then reminded boards of directors that the many parcels purchased between State Street, Ashton Avenue and Massachusetts Avenue had been consolidated for unified zoning in 2018. The lands were previously a mix of residential, commercial areas. and industrial and were merged into B-2.
“We just want to add this extra space, to the east, because this new addition to the side of the building is where we would like to build circulation between the upper and lower floors, especially a new elevator,” he had Explain. . “It’s a lot easier to do, if it was on the outside of the structure of a building over 100 years old than on the inside and it will also allow us to do the landscape.”
Access to the rear of the old church is a narrow alley adjacent to 1272 Massachusetts Ave.
The added plot will also allow a recessed lawn area to the outside. There will be additional parking behind the structures and a new entrance. Kerns said there were also “a lot of historic landfills here” that would have been cleaned up. The 1888 single-family home on the property is in poor condition and has reportedly been rehabilitated, he said, “with the possible… of using support space for other events.”
According to demand, the old church would also be used for seasonal and rainy offerings such as yoga, art classes and children’s programs. The fiberglass bell tower will be removed, the original wood cladding will be restored and the new entrance with stairs and elevator will be made on the east side of the building. The rear of the building facing the tourist property will have a new terrace and a new entrance on the lower level. The 1980s stairs to the rear will be removed and new, larger windows will be installed for mountain views. The space is expected to be ready for the 2022 season.
The interior of the building, which was also used for community performances and as a daycare, has already been emptied. The lower level will have a catering kitchen, mechanical space and meeting rooms; the upper level will be open for flexible use and new toilets will be installed.
“I have been in the chapel, the old chapel, and it is quite a spectacular interior space, and will provide much needed event space for the hotel, which during the pandemic did not have much space to events, “said attorney F. Sydney Smithers, representing the motel partners at the joint hearing. “But now is getting calls from people who want to organize a wedding or Bar Mitzvah or other type of function, and the logical place for the hotel to hold these functions is in the former premises of the Father Matthew Total Abstinence Society. . “
The planning board had received a letter from neighbors at the time of the joint hearing containing concerns about noise, parking and odors, but there were no comments at Monday night’s meeting and plans were approved without discussion.
Planners also approved another application related to the partnership, this one through Blackinton Mill LLC to operate a carpentry shop on the first floor of Blackinton Mill. Kerns said this was not a change in use since the store had been used by the Williamstown Theater Festival for their productions until he bought the old Price Chopper on State Road.
“They left a fairly well-equipped carpentry shop,” he said, as most of the tools and accessories had been built on site. The workshop would support the renovation projects and carpentry needs of the partnership.
In other cases:
• Planners approved The Garden to open at 11 Eagle St., the former Mia’s Exchange, a second location for Pittsfield’s BMX, skateboard and clothing store. Hours will be 10 to 6 Monday to Saturday and 11 to 4 Sunday; closed Mondays and Tuesdays in winter.
“This is our 20th year in business,” said owner Luke Kessler. “It’ll just be a test shop. So we’ll be there six months, and then hopefully next year we’ll do a bigger lease and a full year here.”
• Town planner Bryan Miksic, whose Very Good Property Development worked on the building owned by Eugene Barry, welcomed Kessler and abstained in the vote.
“They just run a great business in Pittsfield and I know my kids are personally looking forward to opening a skate and BMX store in North Adams,” he said. “We really love to see how much Eagle Street has really grown over the past couple of years and we hope you do.”
• Samantha White has been approved for a thrift store at 14 Ashland St. She plans to donate “carefully selected” clothing, books, home furnishings and decor. “I want this store to be attractive and attractive to locals and tourists, while remaining affordable and accessible,” she wrote in her application. The store will be open from 10 to 8 every day.
• A letter from Shana Snow noting the name change of her gift shop at 27 Eagle St. from Jeepers Creepers to Secret Stash was accepted.
Keywords: church reuse, motels, hotels, skateboard,