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Real Estate: You Build It, They Will Come

Having helped put North Adams on the map some 20 years ago, Porches Inn has upped the design ante with Studio 9 (pictured above), a private event space where “music and discussion and art can all converge,” says Sarah Eustis, CEO of Main Street Group. Jack Wadsworth, co-founder of Porches with Janet Fitzpatrick, developed the space in partnership with FreshGrass Festival (created by Chris Wadsworth, Jack’s son) and MASS MoCA. “Jack is very passionate about architecture and the future of North Adams,” says Eustis. “Contributing to the cultural landscape is very gratifying.”

Come spring 2020, Monterey General (drop the “Store”) will be a one-stop shop for kitchen provisions and artisan cocktails along with breakfast and lunch. Brockman Real Estate owner Chapin Fish, who purchased the 1790s property in July 2018 with his partner, Kevin Fish, plan to also offer a curated selection of mostly American-made home goods from their previous Farm & Home shop.

In Great Barrington, the wife-and-husband owners of Cantina 229 are opening Mooncloud—the glow that happens at the brink of lightness and darkness—in December at 47 Railroad St. The 24-seat watering hole, sans kitchen, will feature fermented foods that include salumi, cheeses, and vegetables. But craft cocktails (and the sculptural Dai Ban-designed bar) are the real draw. “We will be opening up the dialogue around spirits,” says Billy Paul, Cantina’s bar manager and a partner in the new space.

And it’s on again: Chrystal Mahida, owner of 79 Bridge Street LLC, will begin construction of the old Searles school in spring 2020 and open The Berkshire, an 88-room hotel, in summer 2021. The Great Barrington selectboard approved a special permit that did away with plans for an on-site restaurant and bar. “It will be more beneficial for our guests to eat and drink on Main Street, rather than have them stay in the hotel,” says David Carpenter, Mahida Hospitality’s director of administration.

Meanwhile, the dispensary movement shows no sign of abating. Highminded is slated to open in early spring 2020 at 126 Main Street. Owners Alexander Farnsworth and (couturier) Adam Lippes are revving up the meh space with Aldridge Atelier Architects and Alander Construction.

Bid adieu to Hilltop Orchards in Richmond, prime spot for apple picking, hiking, cross-country skiing, and stunning views, not to mention wine tasting by the roaring fire. GM David Martell says the property has been on the market for over a year. “Hopefully the new buyers will carry on the business.”

Over the next year, Walgreens will continue to rebrand three more Rite Aids in Berkshire County, at 21 Columbia St. in Adams, 25 Park St. in Lee, and 37 Cheshire Rd. in Pittsfield, updating the facades and pharmaceutical offerings.
Come January, Carr Hardware will open an 11,000-square-foot store—its fifth location in the county—in the old Price Chopper in The Center at Lenox on routes 7 and 20. The spiffy new store (this being Lenox) will offer free delivery and expanded hours.

Pittsfield is on a roll. Reopening at 137 North St. is Red Apple Butcher (it closed in February 2018) and its house-made meats. “It’s the same location but a different story,” says owner Jazu Stine, who partnered with Luke Marion of Otto’s and Shawn Hopper of Berkshire Organics to create a Monday-to-Friday diner-slash-butcher shop that offers breakfast and lunch as well as home delivery for choice cuts.

Greylock Federal Credit Union unveiled its Community Empowerment Center (CEC) in October as part of a multi-million dollar remodel of the original 75 Kellogg St. branch. “The CEC will be a space where anyone in our community can access the financial tools and resources they need to thrive and grow,” said Greylock president/CEO John Bissell in a statement.

Barrington Stage Company (BSC) upgraded and moved its production facility to a 22,100-square-foot location on Laurel Street. It’s up and running, and new sets will be built beginning in the spring, says BSC’s press director Charlie Siedenberg.

Looking forward, the $13.7 million, 20,000-square-foot Berkshire Innovation Center (BIC) will open at the former GE site in January, 2020. Colorado-based Electro Magnetic Applications Inc. plans to build a space environment testing facility there—and bring its clientele to the area for weeks a time.


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