Mohawk Theater Fails to Attract Bidders

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Mohawk Theater failed to attract even a single bid in this last request for proposals. 
 
Bids were initially due on July 1 but then extended to Tuesday, July 26. The RFP, the third for the 1938 moviehouse, has been issued in early June and an open house attracted a handful interested bidders.
 
"We're not totally discouraged," Mayor Jennifer Macksey told the City Council on Tuesday. "We're a little disappointed, but we're going to take a pulse on the people who did our tours and try to figure out why there weren't any applicants."
 
She speculated it might have been the asking price of $100,000 for what is essentially an empty shell. 
 
"We might have outpriced ourselves," the mayor said. "But again, I'm not going to give that building away. It's very important to us."
 
The city spent nearly two decades attempting to revive the moviehouse, a landmark location on Main Street. Theater has an assessed value of $437,000 but there is nothing inside. It has been vacant since 1991 and currently has no plumbing, heat or insulation, and limited electricity. The art deco interior has been completely ripped out and the roof is nearly 30 years old. 
 
Fifteen years ago, it was estimated that it would take $1 million just to bring it up to code. The city has already invested about $2.7 million in grant funding to purchase all parts of the building, stabilize the structure and pursue several studies on reuse — none of which amounted to anything. 
 
Requests for proposals were solicited twice last year after the council agreed to declare the building surplus property the year  before. The first two rounds did attract a total of five bids, but only one was considered viable by the administration of then Mayor Thomas Bernard. 
 
But his attempt to sell off the moviehouse for $21,000 for use as a multipurpose venue as part of a project to renovate the adjacent 103 Main into a hotel came to naught. The combination of a lame-duck mayor, a council angry at an attempt to cut it out of the approval process and a community that felt a beloved icon was being sold off cheap pushed the final decision to the incoming administration.
 
Macksey killed the deal almost immediately on entering the corner office and solicited community opinion from residents who fondly remembered the moviehouse and its brief life as a theater. That feedback was to be incorporated into a newly written request for proposals released in June. 
 
The mayor thought the process had been successful, saying there had been six viable candidates. 
 
"We got a slew of questions after the open house, which was exciting," she said. 
 
Macksey said her team had been talking a lot about the timing and the price, and would be following up with those who showed some interest. This could be an opportunity to look at other avenues or reissue the bid, she said. 
 
"So while it's a little disappointing, it's not the end of the road for the Mohawk Theater," the mayor said. "This is just a sign, I think, of the climate and it's a sign for us to regroup. But again, we're not going to give that building away.

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Weekend Outlook For Aug. 11-14

By Sabrina DammsiBerkshires Staff

Berkshire County has a variety of events this warm sunny weekend including festivals, guided meditation, tag sales, and more. 

 

Naumkeag at Night

Naumkeag, Stockbridge

Start your weekend off early with a night of live music Thursday at the beautiful Naumkeag, starting at 5 p.m. 

Enjoy light refreshments from the outdoor snack shack while listening to music by Afropop group Kina Zoré. 

Check in starts at 5 p.m. and the concert at 6. Admittance will not be permitted before or after these times. 

Tickets cost $9 for adult members and are free for child members. Adult non-members will be charged $15 and tickets for children without membership cost $5. 

More information here.

 

Mindfulness Meditation at Naumkeag

Naumkeag, Stockbridge 

Continue your weekend at Naumkeag with its guided meditation led by local meditation teacher Sandrine Harris this Friday.

Participants are required to wear comfortable clothes and need to bring their own yoga mat, blanket, or chair. 

Tickets are $12 for members or $20 for non-members. Registration is required. The class starts at 4 p.m. so participants have to arrive early to park and walk to the gardens. Admittance will not be permitted after 4. 

More information here

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