Attendees on the second floor landing of the historic building.
ADAMS, Mass. — The long-vacant Jones Bock on Park Street is finally ready for tenants.
Owner and developer David LaBorde hosted an open house on Friday night to show off the newly completed apartments on the second and third floors; the ground floor will be prepared for occupation by the central office of Hoosac Valley Regional School District.
LaBorde said he was taken by the town after a walk down Park Street a few years ago.
"Adams is really the last frontier in Berkshire County," he joked.
The reception included a ribbon cutting on the second floor landing of the contemporary staircase with Selectmen Chair Christine Hoyt and Selectman John Duval holding the "grand opening" red ribbon.
"This is really a wonderful moment here for the town of Adams and thank you for all that you have done and being a wonderful partner," said Hoyt.
"We're thrilled to have six units coming online," she continued as Town Administrator Jay Green interjected that the units were "market rate."
"Any vibrant downtown today that you see now in the 21st century has a mix — it's mix of small businesses, it's a mix of housing and we're seeing that come here in Adams," said Green, who then referred to investments including those at 57 Park St. and the Adams Theater. "Thank you not only for coming to Adams but believing in our community."
Minus a few finishing details, the six apartments feature open plan spaces with plenty of windows and light, new kitchens and appliances and master suites. Rents range from $1,350 to $1,800 a month and Bishop West Real Estate is handling the rentals.
LaBorde said it was 25 months to complete the project — at least on his end. Several plans have been made and abandoned for the historic block over the years since a fire in 1996 damaged the hardware store on the first floor and apartments above.
It was purchased along with the Carlow Building in 2007 by a New York developer with plans to revamp the more than century old building into upscale residential units with storefronts on the first floor. The project was estimated at $2 million and a timeline for completion was set for early 2009.
Those plans were sidelined by 2008's global economic collapse and the project was only partially completed despite continued prodding by town officials, who had signed off on a million-dollar state grant to restore the Jones Block's facade. Instead, the developer declared bankruptcy and mortgageholder MountainOne Bank took possession of the two properties at a public auction in 2013.
Some work was done inside and a curved glass entrance installed in the alleyway between the block and what's now the Firehouse Cafe (which provided the refreshments for the reception.)
The 16,000-square foot building and the adjacent Carlow building were purchased three years later by real estate developers Peter West and Corey Bishop as Adams Park Street LLC.
LaBorde purchased the property in 2021, as FP QOZB I LLC, and described himself as the point man for a larger team including Jay Hayes of Wayland North, other backers and financiers, and "lots of subcontractors" who helped bring the building back to life.
Hoosac Valley Superintendent Aaron Dean joined the ribbon cutting and Green ventured that his father and longtime selectman, the late Joseph R. Dean Jr., would be as pretty pleased as other board members in seeing the project finally come to fruition.
Dean, as chair of the Selectmen back in 2007, had heralded the proposed renovation at the time as "the beginning of the transformation of Adams into a vibrant, thriving center."
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Miss Adams Diner Auctioned Off for $80,000
By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
Personnel from the Sheriff's Department prepare to auction off the diner to pay delinquent debts.
ADAMS, Mass. — Miss Adams Diner once again has changed hands, this time to its former owner's largest creditor.
David Atwell purchased the property at a sheriff's auction on Wednesday afternoon for $80,000 against the only other bidder, Mark Lapier.
Peter Oleskiewicz had purchased the landmark eatery in September 2020 but didn't open it for more than a year. He closed it in March this year, saying it wasn't generating enough revenue to continue. It was seized June 8 to pay off creditors related to his other business, Desperados.
According to documents in Northern Berkshire District Court, Oleskiewicz owes Atwell a total of $168,338.05 for the now closed Mexican restaurant in North Adams and the state of Massachusetts $59,062 in sales taxes.
Bidders had to have $10,000 in cash or bank check to participate; the winner is required to pay the balance within 45 days or the sale would go to the next highest bidder.
Atwell said he had no immediate plans for the Park Street diner but wanted to assure he would get some return.
"I had $170,000 worth of debt on it. So I wasn't gonna let it go for ... you know," he said with a shrug after the auction. "If we had gotten a bit closer, I would have let it go but I wasn't going to take a haircut at 50 percent. It's too much money."
The Cook Street park began construction last week, a public information session on the reconstruction of Park Street is set for Wednesday at 5:30 at Town Hall and the town is participating in a regional digital equity planning process with its first meeting in October.
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