An illustration of what the proposed boutique hotel might look like.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The City Council on Tuesday will be asked to approve the sale of the former Notre Dame Church and School for $253,000.
The church property was one of four parcels put out to bid in July. Mayor Thomas Bernard is asking that the council authorize him to enter into a purchase-and-sales agreement with The Square Office LLC.
The Square Office, owned by Emily Daunis and Dan Wallis of North Adams proposes to construct an $18.5 million, 64-room hotel with a connected walkway between the church and school. The couple had run the former Papyri Books, a family business on Eagle Street a decade ago. The Square Office has designed a number of exhibitions, including the "One Country, One Game: A Celebration of Baseball" on Main Street this summer.
Notre Dame Church closed in 2005 and the then 130-year-old parish's sacred objects and relics ceremoniously moved to what had been St. Francis' Church. The long-closed school, which was leased by the city back in the 1960s and early '70s for its fifth and sixth grades, had more recently been home to the Church Outreach to Youth Center program.
The city bought the East Main Street property in 2008 largely to preserve the church steeple, a distinctive presence on the city's skyline, for $500,000 from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield. The rectory was sold for $220,000 to the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Foundation for its alumni office but plans to sell the church to the Contemporary Artists Center (of which Daunis was president at the time) and the school to Arch Street Development of Needham for housing fell through.
An appraiser hired by the city several years ago had put a value of $605,000 on the slightly over an acre plot with its 1889 brick church and 1807 three-story school. A request for proposals for the property was issued last year but received no bids.
Last year, councilors forcefully rejected a bid on the 2.55-acre salt shed at $50,000 from John Duquette Jr. of Berkshire County Construction because it was so far below the $125,000 appraisal. This year, the mayor is asking the Ashland Street property be sold to B&B Micro Manufacturing for $75,000.
The tiny home manufacturer had stated at a Lever Inc. event a couple weeks ago that it was ramping up production and running out of room at its base in the Windsor Mill.
There were no requests for proposals on the vacant Sullivan School and Pownal, Vt., watershed that were also put out to bid at the same time.
In other business, the City Council will also be asked to transfer $44,044.31 from the parking meter reserve account to purchase a 2018 Ford Utlity Police Interceptor as part of a regular fleet replenishment. The city had looked into purchasing a hybrid but the first hybrids in that model will not be available until at least the 2020 model year.
The mayor will also be submitting several appointments for approval and updating the council on the status of a crosswalk that had been proposed for Bradley and Church streets several years ago.
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North Adams Council Rejects Housing Authority Candidate
By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
Several Housing Authority tenants spoke in opposition to a board member's reappointment. The council did not vote to approve.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The chair of the North Adams Housing Authority is out after a number of residents objected to his reappointment.
The City Council rejected the reappointment of Colin Todd in a 7-1 vote, with only Councilor Peter Oleskiewicz voting in favor. Councilor Ashley Shade was absent.
"It's in our best interest he is not re-elected," said Joanne Dunn of 45 Spring St., speaking during hearing of visitors at the beginning of the council meeting. "There are a lot of issues in the two buildings of the North Adams Housing has and in my neighborhood but if we don't revamp the board, we're not gonna get anywhere."
Councilor Jennifer Barbeau, liaison to the authority, described the authority's board as "hostile" both to herself and to residents who tried to attend meetings.