The Historical Commission toured the site of the new Hotel on North last week.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Extensive structural renovations planned for the anticipated Hotel On North will seek to create a unique boutique lodging experience that also pays homage to the building's historic character, members of the city's Historical Commission were told on a site tour last week.
"The purpose of the tour is to introduce you to the building and to give you an idea of what's here," Project Manager Michael Makes told the commission as he began to lead them through the two connected 1880s-era buildings that will become the new hotel.
The new hotel project, officially announced by the recently formed Main Street Hospitality group in February, is expected to cost about $11 million.
Makes said the current design plan calls for 45 guest rooms, down from 50 originally slated, so that the hotel can maintain the smaller of two upstairs event spaces, while the larger ballroom will be refitted into accommodations.
The size of the ground-floor Spice Dragon restaurant will be reduced by half, with the current secondary bar and lounge areas becoming part of the main hotel, which will also include a bar of its own. No major changes are intended to the other downstairs restaurant, Mad Jacks BBQ, aside from taking about four feet for a ramp.
In addition to existing elevators on opposite ends of the building's rear, a new main elevator will be installed in the central lobby area. An antique elevator carriage that has been a longtime popular fixture of one of Spice's ladies' rooms will be preserved as a decorative fixture in the hotel after the removal of those bathrooms.
"When Joyce and Larry were doing this, they found it in the basement, and it was just in terrible shape," said building manager Jim Wright, referring to previous owners Joyce Bernstein and Lawrence Rosenthal. Wright said the couple had it painstakingly rehabilitated as part of their multimillion dollar restoration of the building a decade ago.
The hotel is slated to open in 2015, though the exact timetable remains unclear. The owners are seeking a combination of federal and state funding through historic tax credits, and are awaiting word back from applications expected later this summer, after which work may begin.
"We are hoping for August," said Makes. "It's quite a process, very detailed."
"This is fabulous," said commission member Eileen Leahy Meyers.
"This was a good idea," said Chairman Will Garrison. "Hopefully, we can all come back and take a tour in 2015."
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