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The windows of the former Quinn building on Union and Canal streets are seen for the first time in 50 years.
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The building is being turned into a music venue, apartments and offices.

North Adams ZBA Approval Paves Way for Quinn Building Restoration

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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An elevation of what the front of the HiLo will look like when completed.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Plans for the redevelopment of the former Quinn's Paint & Wallpaper building are moving forward after the Zoning Board of Appeals signed off on reviving the structure's past use. 
 
Most recently the Crystal Hard Hat Saloon and then two short-lived ventures as an antiques shop and "dog museum," the 1886 building is being revived as a music venue, apartments and offices. 
 
Very Good Properties LLC, which purchased the building last year, was approved for its music venue and office plans by the Planning Board last month; a special permit was needed from the ZBA to "return to use" for residential because the building is now non-conforming in an industrial zone. 
 
"Originally, this building has had residences on the second and third floor up through probably the early '60s when the building was covered," Brian Miksic, a principal of Very Good Properties, told the ZBA on Monday. Over the past several weeks, the asbestos siding has been removed revealing the original siding and windows. "It was literally just covering up all the windows,covering everything. That's when they stopped using those second and third floors."
 
Miksic said the initial plan is to renovate the second-floor apartments as rooms for the bands being booked for the first floor bar and performance center. The third-floor apartments would be completed at later date for leasing. 
 
"With the changing of the zoning ordinances a couple years ago, thanks to Councilor [Wayne] Wilkinson, we now have the ability to be able to return to a previous use, which would be non-conforming," he said. 
 
Wilkinson, a former member of the Planning Board who is now a city councilor, had spearheaded a zoning change largely to deal with zoning orphans -- mainly vacant commercial properties in residential zones. These buildings were no longer grandfathered after two years but also were not conducive to be turned into residences.
 
Miksic's request was the reverse: a former residential property in an industrial zone. The ordinance no longer has a time limit, which did cause some members of the ZBA pause. 
 
What if someone wanted to turn Domino's back into a gas station? asked board member Peter Milanesi. "I would be surprised that they didn't set some kind of a time with it. Throughout history?"
 
Building Inspector William Meranti said the ordinance was written to give value to properties that had no use as residential. 
 
"However, the way this ordinance was written, it doesn't stop us from using it in the reverse, either, in my opinion," he said. "Again, that's up to the board. But in my opinion, it's written in a manner that is open to interpretation."
 
That was enough for the board to approve the restoration of the use, paving the way for residential, commercial and performance space in the three structures that make up the complex at 55 Union St. 
 
Miksic had explained last month at the Planning Board that the building owned by the Quinns had been a tavern from 1903 until Prohibition, when the family switched to selling paint and wallpaper. The Chilson family, descendants of the Quinns, had helped in uncovering the history of the building and how it used to look. 
 
The music venue will be called Hi-Lo, after Miksic's eye caught the sharp red logo of a paint line no longer in production.
 
"I've been searching for a name and my partners have been searching for a name for this place," he said. "It was important to me that it had something to do with the history of the city or the history of the building ... That is when I noticed in these photos this little logo." 
 
The venue will take up the largest portion of the first floor with a main stage, portable stage and bar. It will host larger bands and also individual performers along with live karaoke. 
 
The middle structure will have contain the bathrooms and the second floor will be removed to increase the ceiling height. The "barn" structure will contain a workshop, offices for Very Good Property and a conference room.
 
The project will be done over phases and will have to return to the boards again for approvals. 
 
The structure is already has a complete sprinkler system and is rated for 250 people. Miksic said agreements have been made for parking in the NAPA parking lot across the street and the Willow Dell parking lot. More than 30 parking spots are available along Union Street and the Center Street Parking lot is about a 4-minute walk away. 
 
Miksic estimated there are up to a 150 parking spots in a few minutes walk. Operations will be under Will Jamross, Jennifer Crowell and Joad Bowman of Thistle & Mirth in Pittsfield.
 
He sees the restoration of the building as a positive development in what is the eastern entrance to the city, along with what David Carver had done across the street with the old Shapiro Chevrolet building. 
 
"We expect to open in September, if we stay on schedule, and so far we're on schedule," he told the ZBA. 

Tags: bars, taverns,   concerts,   redevelopment,   

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North Adams Happenings: Oct. 23-29

SAVE THE DATE
NOVEMBER 2nd - Masquerade at Greylock WORKS
On November 2nd, three weeks before FESTIVE, come to gWorks to dance in disguise at our MASQUERADE Halloween costume party! Doors open at 8pm !
Celebrate your costume ingenuity with DJ BFG spinning seamless upbeat dance music within immersive theatrical lighting choreographed by LJ McZawa.
Whether you're coming out in a dramatic mask + your favorite party clothes or a full-body transformation, our local friends are joining in on the fun to motivate your creativity with Costume Themes and PRIZES.
https://www.facebook.com/events/406993753316580/
Wednesday 10/23
9:00 A.M. (FREE), SOCIAL, Open Hours UNO Community Center, 157 River Street, (413) 664-4612 More information.

10:00 A.M. (FREE), KIDS, Terrific Tots Playgroup The Family Center, 210 State Street, (413) 664-4821 More information.  


10:30 A.M. (FREE), PARENTING, Parenting Workshop: Surviving your Adolescents nbCC Conference Room, 61 Main Street, Room 213, (413) 663-7588 More information.  


11:30 A.M. (FREE), KIDS, Little Wonders Baby Playgroup The Family Center, 210 State Street, (413) 664-4821 More information. 

4:00 P.M. (FREE), FAMILY, Family Literacy Night Series The Family Center, 210 State Street, (413) 664-4821 More information.  


6:00 P.M. (FREE), WORKSHOP, Educator Open House North Adams Public Library, 64 Church Street, More information.

8:00 P.M. (FREE), GAMES, Trivia Night! Ramunto's, 67 Main Street, (413) 398-5152 More information.

Thursday 10/24
9:00 A.M. (FREE), SOCIAL, Open Hours UNO Community Center, 157 River Street, (413) 664-4612 More information.

10:00 A.M. (FREE), PARENTING, Kids Safety of America: Child Abuse and Neglect nbCC’s Conference Room, 61 Main Street, Room 213 More information.

4:00 P.M. (FREE), TUTORING, After School Program UNO Community Center, 157 River Street, (413) 664-4612 More information.

4:30 P.M. (FREE), CONVERSATION, Spaghetti Supper with Tom Bernard North Adams American Legion, 91 American Legion Drive More information.

4:30 P.M. (FREE), FAMILY, Dad and Family Time- Bowling and Pizza Night Valley Park Bowling, Curran Highway More information.

5:00 P.M. (FREE), SOCIAL, Octoberfest in The Airport Rooms TOURISTS Welcome, 915 State Road More information.

5:00 P.M. (FREE), BIKING, Halloween West End Bike Around Greylock School, 100 Phelps Ave More information.

6:00 P.M. (FREE), OPEN MIC, OPEN MIC The Parlor Cafe, 303 Ashland Street More information.

6:00 P.M. (FREE), INFORMATIONAL, Milton Hershey School Family Event: North Adams, MA Freight Yard Pub & Restaurant, 1 Furnace Street More information.

7:30 P.M. (FREE), WRITING, Fiction Writing Workshop [open house] Common Folk, 85 Main Street More information.

7:30 P.M. (FREE), BINGO, Musical Bingo at Mingo's Sports Bar and Grill 41 Roberts Drive More information.

8:00 P.M. ($15), COMEDY, Comedy Night w/ Andy Sandford HiLo North Adams, 55 Union Street More information.
Friday 10/25
10:30 A.M. (FREE), CONVERSATION, Coffee with a Cop MCLA Campus Center, 375 Church Street More information.

10:30 A.M. (FREE), PARENTING, Ages and Stages The Family Center, 210 State Street, (413) 664-4821 More information.

10:00 A.M. (FREE), KIDS, Drop-In Playgroup The Family Center, 210 State Street, (413) 664-4821 More information.

12:00 P.M. (FREE), SOCIAL, Open Hours UNO Community Center, 157 River Street, (413) 664-4612 More information.

7:00 P.M. (FREE), MOVIES, Halloween cartoon movie night MCLA Freel Library, Blackinton Street More information.

7:00 P.M. (By Donation), CRAFTING, Knitting Nights with Common Folk Common Folk, 73 Main Street More information.

7:00 P.M. ($1 and up), GAMES, BINGO! North Adams Elks 487 Lodge, 100 Eagle Street, (413) 664-9039 More information.

7:00 P.M. ($12 adv, $15 at the door), CONCERT, Gregory Douglass LIVE at HiLo North Adams HiLo North Adams, 55 Union Street More information.

8:00 P.M. (Prices vary, click link for details), THEATER, Miss Julie MCLA Theatre, 375 Church Street More information.

9:00 P.M. (FREE), MUSIC, Karaoke Friday! State Street Tavern, 167 State Street, (413) 664-9152 More information.
Saturday 10/26
9:00 A.M. (FREE), CLOTHING DRIVE, Winter Clothing Drive First Baptist Church of North Adams, 131 Main Street More information.

10:00 A.M. (FREE), GARDENING, Gardening Program UNO Community Center, 157 River Street, (413) 664-4612 More information.

12:30 P.M. (Child $5, Adults $8, Family $25), FUNDRAISER, AYJ Fund Children's Princess Concert MCLA Church St Center, 375 Church Street More information.

3:00 P.M. (Cost of Admission), ART, Opening Reception: Sarah Oppenheimer, Jenny Holzer, and ERRE MASS MoCA, 1040 MASS MoCA Way More information.

6:00 P.M. (FREE), CONCERT, Fall Foliage Sunset Serenade - Jessica Gregory Wilson Wigwam Western Summit, 2350 Mohawk Trail More information.

8:00 P.M. (Prices vary, click link for details), THEATER, Miss Julie MCLA Theatre, 375 Church Street More information.

8:00 P.M. ($12 adv, $15 at the door), CONCERT, Misty Blues HiLo North Adams, 55 Union Street More information.

8:00 P.M. (Prices Vary, see link for details), CONCERT, Jenny Scheinman & Allison Miller’s Parlour Game MASS MoCA, 1040 MASS MoCA Way More information.
Sunday 10/27
2:00 P.M. (Prices vary, click link for details), THEATER, Miss Julie MCLA Theatre, 375 Church Street More information.

7:00 P.M. ($20 adv, $25 day of), CONCERT, Jeffrey Foucault HiLo North Adams, 55 Union Street More information.
Monday 10/28
5:00 P.M. (FREE), WORKSHOP, ROOTS Volunteer Training ROOTS Teen Center, 43 Eagle Street More information.

5:00 P.M. (FREE), BIKING, nbCC Bike Collective The Armory, 206 Ashland Street More information.

6:00 P.M. (FREE), WORKSHOP, Communications Career Panel Bowman Hall - MCLA, 375 Church Street More information.
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