The Planning Board continued two cases to the next meeting.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A Boston-area graphic designer and artist is renovating 47-49 Eagle St. into a professional office, gallery and studio apartment.
The Planning Board on Monday approved plans by Anna Farrington to revamp the two-story building, part of a triptych of connected structures that includes the Pizza House and the Friendship Center Food Pantry and the teen center..
"I'm in the process of purchasing the property with the intent of opening a second office for my graphic arts office," Harrington told the board.
Farrington has been working in architectural signage and graphic design for more than 20 years and opened her own firm a few years ago. She said afterward that she plans on closing her Boston office and will maintain her Cambridge office and studio along with the new North Adams one.
She plans to turn the first floor into an office and art gallery and the 1,000 square feet of the second floor into a studio apartment with a kitchen and full bathroom. It will also require the construction of an interior staircase from Eagle Street that had been removed sometime in the past. The building is odd-shaped, with a full storefront on Eagle Street and only a narrow entrance and stairway to the parking lot off Center Street.
Farrington said she attended schools in the Pioneer Valley and has been coming out here for seven or eight years now because she likes the area and Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. She's also become more interested in artistic pursuits and plans to have exhibitions in her office space.
Hours will be 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays with possible gallery receptions from noon to 5 on the weekends. The exterior will be updated in a color scheme of off-white and black. The structures on both sides have been updated in recent years.
Owned by Alice Kirk and Burton Kirk for a number of years, the circa-1900 building had been home to Jack's Army Navy Store for more than 50 years.
The original owner, Jacob Lenhoff, left his name in tile at the entrance of what had been his womenswear store. Alexander "Jack" Goldberg, who married Lenhoff's daughter Ida, took over to operate the Army Navy surplus in 1927. Jack died in 1961 but his wife continued to run the store into the 1980s; she died in 1992.
An antiques shop had been at the location for a time but the building's been closed up for years and on the market.
In other business, the board approved Cord Master Engineering's expansion into 3,000 square feet of the Norad Mill, the former Excelsior Print factory on Roberts Drive recently purchased by David Moresi.
Hugh Daley, chief financial officer of Cord Master, said a new customer has required more space than available at the company's manufacturing plant at 1544 Curran Highway, in the Hardman Industrial Park.
"We recently acquired a new customer that exceeds the size of our building," he said. "It was either build something or lease something."
Moresi's purchase of the mill and plans to lease to offices and light manufacturing opened up the potential for expansion.
"It will run for the life of this project, which may be for several years," Daley said. "This is all good news, we're full."
Moresi told the board that he expected to return with a full presentation on plans and signage for mill.
• Greylock Federal Credit Union notified the board of its plans to relocate its Main Street offices to the former Landmark Credit Union building on Ashland Street. The two credit unions recently completed a merger. GFCU said no exterior changes are anticipated other than updating the signage; improvements are being considered for the first floor banking but no plans are ready at this time.
• The board also approved an application for The Beyond Place LLC to develop a welcome center and small event area using the farmhouse and garage that was added to the redevelopment of the former Redwood Motel. Project Manager Eric Kerns said the project, Tourists, is a little behind schedule in opening but the developers wanted to take advantage of the expected increase in traffic this summer to inform visitors to the area about the project and other aspects of the region.
He also anticipated hosting pop-retail and branded tourist merchandise and possible small events.
• The board also gave the OK for signage at the Verizon Wireless store, the soon-to-open Meng's Pan Asian House, and Brazeau's Butcher Shop; coffee and ice cream to be served at the pop-up at 87 Main St. and extended hours for Empire Cafe on Main Street.
• Two matters were continued: an application by Joseph Girard to open a Metlife insurance office at 33 Main St., in the former Roberts Co. building, and Jose F. Goncalves' application to open a mattress store at 420 Curran Highway.
Girard did not attend the meeting, prompting the board to vote to continue; Goncalves ran into problems when questions were raised about the condition of the building he was moving into.
A joint public hearing of the Planning Board and City Council was held on a proposal to change zoning for four parcels on Veazie Street. No one spoke for or against the change.
Planners Robert Burdick and Lynette Bond asked about the parking lot, which is uneven and broken in spots. Burdick asked for more information but no one from Goncalves' landlord, Curran Highway Redevelopment LLC, attended the meeting.
Chairman Michael Leary said if planners wanted the landlord to attend a meeting, the case would have to be continued. Goncalves was concerned about the delay, saying he had already put in an order for merchandise.
Burdick was unsure but in the end motioned to continue the hearing and request that the landlord attend the next meeting. Goncalves said he could make that work.
• The planners will also ask that the owner of the two gas stations that no longer have gas — Getty and BP — attend the next meeting to clarify the plans. Plans were submitted and approved for rebuilding both gas stations nearly two years ago but nothing has happened. But, both are still operating kiosks and convenience stores out of compliance with their licenses.
During the Planning Board meeting, the board recommended that the rezoning occur. It now requires a vote by the City Council and two readings.
• The Planning Board also approved changes to the Urban Renewal Plan as outlined to the Redevelopment Authority last month. Leary and Planner Paul Hopkins, both of whom serve on the authority, abstained from the vote.
iBerkshires.com welcomes critical, respectful dialogue; please keep comments focused on the issues and not on personalities. Profanity, obscenity, racist language and harassment are not allowed. iBerkshires reserves the right to ban commenters or remove commenting on any article at any time. Concerns may be sent to email@example.com.
iBerkshires.com welcomes critical, respectful dialogue. Name-calling, personal attacks, libel, slander or foul language is not allowed. All comments are reviewed before posting and will be deleted or edited as necessary.
We show up at hurricanes, budget meetings, high school games, accidents, fires and community events. We show up at celebrations and tragedies and everything in between. We show up so our readers can learn about pivotal events that affect their communities and their lives.
How important is local news to you? You can support independent, unbiased journalism and help iBerkshires grow for as a little as the cost of a cup of coffee a week.