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Eric Wohlleber of CMV tells the Adams Selectmen that the company plans to keep the character of the 1920 building intact while still updating it.

New York Company Plans $5M Housing Project at Old Adams Community Center

By Brian RhodesiBerkshires Staff
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The building at 20 East St. was constructed as a retreat for nuns. It's condition has deteriorated over the years and town officials have been seeking buyer. The apparently found one CMV Construction Services, which plans 36 units of housing on the property.
ADAMS, Mass. — A New York construction company is planning to invest $5 million in the former community center on East to create 36 units of housing.  
 
The Board of Selectmen on Wednesday awarded CMV Construction Services the 20 East St. property for $25,000. 
 
Several representatives for CMV, the sole bidder, attended Wednesday's meeting to share the company's plans for the circa-1920 building. The estimated $1 million first phase of construction, which CMV expects to be complete by 2023, will create eight units, while the $4 million second phase will include another 28 units and a day-care center. 
 
"We've done a lot of work in the Berkshires, so we feel like we're part of this community," said Eric Wohlleber of CMV. "And we also want to be part of this specific community; we want to be part of the Adams community. And it's a unique opportunity and is one that we're looking forward to moving forward."
 
The town released the request for proposals for the property in October 2022 and then extended the deadline. Community Development Director Eammon Coughlin said more housing options are something Adams needs. 
 
"The RFP was issued with the express goal of getting 20 East St. back on the tax rolls and especially trying to get more market-rate and affordable housing for a variety of income loads," Coughlin said. 
 
The building's been empty since the Youth Center moved out a few years ago but town officials have been discussing its disposal for a decade. James Renfrew, founder of Renfrew Manufacturing, built his extravagant mansion, Bonnie Brae, on the site; it later became the Greylock Rest Sanitorium of the Sisters of Providence, then a private boarding school before falling into the town's hands in the late 1970s after the mansion burned down. 
 
Wohlleber said CMV plans to keep the character of the building intact while still updating several aspects of it and named the project Bonnie Brae.
 
"We're going to be replacing all windows, we're going to be taking down the existing siding, we're going to be putting up exterior insulation," he said. "We're going to be residing the exterior; we're putting in a whole new HVAC system, putting out a whole new roof, putting on balconies." 
 
Board Chair John Duval said he is happy that the town was able to sell the building rather than tear it down. He said he would prefer to preserve historic town buildings when possible. 
 
"Similar to our middle school, there were calls to tear it down. You try as hard as you can try to keep those buildings and have them renovated and upgraded," Duval said. To be able to keep the history of our community, instead of just tearing down buildings that are old." 
 
Selectwoman Christine Hoyt said she is familiar with the building and is happy it will have a new use. 
 
"I served on a nonprofit that was in that building. I served on the board as a board chair in that building for nine years. So I know the ins and outs pretty well," she said. "And as you mentioned, it is tucked away, it has been a desirable piece of property for that particular reason." 
 
In other business, the board also approved a change of polling station from 92 North Summer St. to 30 Columbia St, the former Memorial School Building. The board also approved the May 2 town election warrant.
 
Green thanked Town Clerk Haley Meczywor and Building Commissioner Gerald Garner for the work she put into getting the polling station moved to the Memorial Building. 
 
"It was a very easy vote tonight for the board, but Haley actually had to go to the state, send pictures of the building and really express to the state the building was ready to go," he said. 

 

The deadline to register to vote is April 12. 

 

  • The board ratified the contracts of several seasonal laborers, including Ryan Boody, Mike Durant, Jacob Lesnick, Shawn Marko and Brandon Schwarzer. 

 

  • The board approved the route for the Memorial Day parade and ceremony. The festivities will run from 8:30 a.m. to noon on May 30. 

 

  • The board approved the assignment of street numbers for two properties. 0 Forest Park Ave., the Forest Park Country Club, will become 41 Forest Park Ave., while 0 East Orchard Terrace, a newly built home, will become 34 East Orchard Terrace. 

 

  • The board ratified the contract of Jesse Gamm, the new library aide.

 

  • The board approved the appointment of Erica Deane to the Conservation Commission. 

Tags: bidding,   housing,   RFP,   

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Adams General Government Review Committee Creates Working Plan

By Brian RhodesiBerkshires Staff

ADAMS, Mass. — The General Government Review Committee has created a working plan for the next several months as it continues working on updating the town charter.

Community Paradigm Associates consultant Bernard Lynch created the plan, which will guide the group in future meetings, based on discussions the group has had previously. Topics include town meeting structure, executive and personnel functions, modes of appointment for town officials, financial management and other issues.

Lynch said he hopes the committee is able to complete discussion of one topic per meeting but noted some discussions might take more or less time than others.

"We don't have to make a decision [on a given topic] that night," he said. "I think we should try, if we can, to make decisions as we go on. But if somebody has to be held over for additional information, we can."

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