Dunkin' Donuts Withdraws Pittsfield Church Demolition Plan

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Cafua Management is withdrawing plans to demolish St. Mary's in Pittsfield for a Dunkin' Donuts drive-through.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Bowing to community pressure, Cafua Management says it will withdraw plans to demolish St. Mary the Morning Star Church.

In a communication released midday Monday, the northeast's largest Dunkin' Donuts franchisee said it was preparing a revised plan for its proposed drive-through on Tyler Street and that it was willing to donate the church building to the city.

Cafua's proposal to buy the St. Mary's campus from the Springfield Diocese earlier this month and raze the church caused a significant backlash within the community, prompting petitions, "A Save St. Mary's" Facebook page and calls to boycott Cafua's four other Dunkin' Donut establishments.

The Historical Commission, which technically does not have authority to invoke a demolition delay because the building is three years short of the 75-year criteria, was also planning to weigh in on the significance of the structure at its October meeting.

St. Mary's was closed a number of years ago during a sweeping consolidation of diocesan properties because of falling attendance. The 2.6-acre campus also includes the rectory, convent, a small garage and a former school building that has been closed since 1973.

Greg Nolan, chief development officer for Cafua Management, wrote that the company values the opinion of the community and its "aim is to ultimately do right by the community." The communication is below:

With four Dunkin' Donuts restaurants in Pittsfield, Cafua Management has been part of the local community for more than a dozen years. We value the opinions and needs of the community, and we are committed to listening to and collaborating with residents and city officials at all times. As such, we will withdraw our current development application for the site of St. Mary The Morning Star Church, and we are preparing a revised plan that maintains the church building. As part of our new proposal, we intend to donate the church to the city of Pittsfield, for use as the city deems appropriate.

This new plan requires support of the Special Permit Granting Authority and residents. Our next step is to meet with the City Planner, present the plan to the public and pursue city approvals. The process will take time, but our aim is to ultimately do right by the community. We look forward to many more years serving the people who live and work in Pittsfield.


Tags: church,   church reuse,   demolition,   Dunkin Donuts,   historical building,   

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