Greg Roach's Berkshires Blog
Thursday, March 25, 2010
  Sounds Promising
Blackington Mill has a legitimate developer! From iBerkshires:
The brothers, operating as MAZS Realty, have been in the real estate business for more than 35 years, particularly in finding new uses to preserve old buildings. They started with developing lofts in Manhattan and restored or built single- and multi-family homes along with commercial. The Magids say they keep their properties to assure they remain important fixtures in their communities.

Initial plans are to create a welcoming entrance to the three-building complex on the east side facing Ashton Avenue and the vacant lot that was once the Widen Tannery.
I get called a crazy carpet bagging elitist every time I say it, but people actually want to move to this region. If we do things right, many will land in North Adams. As long as projects like these are available to a middle-class clientèle, they will help the city.

In other real estate news, another church is up for sale (scroll down on Steepleview Realty's listings page):

This makes a total of three unused landmark North Adams churches within a few hundred yards of each other that are now potentially going to be torn down. Other than everyone's favorite answer, "housing", what else can these spaces be used for other than wrecking ball fodder?

I am personally voting for the Mass MoCA Children's Museum to be housed in one of them.
Let's give it to John Barret to thank him for his 26yrs of . . . of . . . of service.
Thousands of churches across the US are currently vacant, and adaptive reuse is dependent on the selling price, the willingness to change the interiors and the cost of rehabbing for its new use. New construction is almost always cheaper. (But never as beautiful.)

Looking at the historical record, I find examples of housing, often condos in cities, and about 200 have been converted into community centers, senior centers and YMCAs. One is a bank, another a liquor store , one a supermarket, and one a bed-and-breakfast. Some have been converted to schools or school offices, four others are restaurants, five are now Masonic Halls like the former First Baptist church in Montclair, NJ), and another five are public libraries.

Of course the old Unitarian-Universalist church now houses Eric Rudd's Chapel for Humanity. He maintains the building which produces virtually no income as one of the city's attractions.

For all the bitching we keep hearing from some, according to Wiki, cultural tourism is the number one "industry" in the Berkshires.

North Adams would have a larger share of it if those loudmouths that are so "agin" it would not chase tourists and dollars away with their negativity.
Yeah, all the "creatives" will start moving to North Adams when they get priced out of gentrifying Pittsfield.

I'm only half-kidding.
North Adams could do a far better job competing for the "creative types."

Pittsfield is the perfect example. Seven years ago, when we moved here, North Street was falling apart. Now there are several independent stores, restaurants, etc...

The difference in my perception is that Pittsfield embraced the culture of creativity versus the official North Adams position, which seemed to only give lip service to the idea, but not the practice.
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greg at gregoryroach dot com

"Livability, not just affordability." - Dick Alcombright

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