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Landscaping and siting plans for the proposed Cumberland Farms on Commercial Street.

Cumberland Farms Seeks to Build on Commercial Street

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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Cumberland Farms wants to purchase three lots including Al's Service Center to build a new gas station and convenience store. 

ADAMS, Mass. — Cumberland Farms is proposing to construct a new gas station and retail store on the site of Al's Service Center at 95 Commercial St.

Cumberland Farms will go before the Zoning Board of Appeals on Tuesday, May 22, to seek three variances needed to erect and run a 24-hour gas station and convenience store.

The company has reportedly been seeking a location on Commercial Street for some years. A smaller, older — less than 2,000 square feet — store has been open since the 1980s at 46 Commercial, at the corner of Edmund Street. The lot is only about a third of an acre with little room to expand.

The company over the past decade has been updating or building much larger stores with more offerings, including on Curran Highway and Union Street in North Adams. It currently has a purchase-and-sales agreement to construct a third store on Ashland Street in North Adams.

According to documents submitted to the town, the convenience store will be 5,275 square feet and there will be four fueling stations.

The proposed development will utilize three parcels: 5 Elm St. and 89 and 95 Commercial St. Cumberland Farms intends to remove the service center as well as two two-story buildings on the parcels. Two 20,000-gallon underground gasoline tanks will be installed.

The facility will have 25 parking spots and will include landscaping, signage and lighting. There will be two proposed curb cuts on Columbia Street and Prospect Street.

The service center and two structures are currently owned by Carol L. Ostrowski.

According to the documents filed with the application, Alfred Ostrowski had purchased two of the lots in 1945, from which he operated Al's Service Center. His daughter, Carol Ostrowski, bought an abutting parcel, 89 Commercial, in 1983 and her father transferred his property to her name. Alfred Ostrowski died in 2002 and 95 Commercial was conveyed to Al's Service Center Inc. 
"Unable to avail itself of the continuation of a pre-existing nonconforming service station use due to the existence of internal lot lines, the petitioner must obtain a variance to allow the project as proposed as a technical matter," the applicant writes. 
Cumberland Farms' application states the property is "ripe for development" and not allowing a gas station to be sited there would be a "substantial hardship." 
"Denying the variance will leave a service center and its adjacent land in the same state of repair that currently exists," the application states. Cumberland will mediate any environmental issues and says the new store would provide goods and services as well as providing more sales and property taxes than the current tenant. 

Cumberland Farms will be asking for a variance to allow the redevelopment of the service center and adjacent land for the convenience store and gas station in an R-4 zoning district, to be open 24 hours and for the two curb cuts.

Tags: ZBA,   convenience store,   cumberland farms,   gas station,   

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Adams Selectmen Hear From Ale House Owner

By Jeff SnoonianiBerkshires Staff

Nate Girard explains his predicament to the Selectmen on Wednesday.
ADAMS, Mass. — Nate Girard and his longtime friend Erik Pizani decided to buy the Saint Stanislaus Kostka Hall in 2012. The property had a rich history in town and most people had memories of bowling, playing pitch, attending a wedding, or just sitting at an old red leather stool and enjoying a cheap beer.
The two partners, along with another investor, spent hundreds of thousands of dollars bringing the structure up to code and restoring the bar and kitchen. The Adams Ale House was born. Both of them ran the restaurant, bought houses, had kids, went into real estate together, and celebrated the boom and even the bust times. 
Pizani eventually left the restaurant business and left Girard as the sole owner of the building. Girard decided to lease the restaurant space to focus solely on real estate and his young family. The new operators didn't last long in a tough restaurant market and went out of business in December 2018.
The building on East Hoosac Street has sat unused since then. Girard has it listed it on several sources and is still hopeful he can find a taker. The idle liquor license he still holds, however, has become an issue for the town.
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