OK, the progress on the Hadley Overpass is going even slower than I expected. To tide us over, I’m overing a little update on two other long-anticipated projects in North Adams – the Clark Biscuit Co. makeover and the facelift at the Mohawk Theater.
On Tuesday, all the windows had been removed from the red-brick section of the old biscuit company mill on Ashland St. The beige side of the mill had already been gutted and plastic put up over most of the openings.
The lack of windows gave a clear view into the building that’s being rehabbed into affordable apartments. The structure was purchased by Arch Street Development of Needham earlier this year – contingent on a lot of fancy financing and guarantees from state, local and federal agencies – for $167,000. The more-than-century-old mill’s been a lot of things since they used to make biscuits in its ovens. The last owner used the building for his own church.
Arch Street is pouring $12 million into the structure to create 43 apartments that should be ready this coming summer. The company’s also planning the renovation of the former Notre Dame School into some high-end condos.
It’s hard to tell what the progress is at the Mohawk on Main Street. We’ve been keeping watch on the project across the street from us but most of it’s being done behind the plywood walls built around the long lobby and next-door office. But every so often they open the doors and we get to peak at what’s inside. Looks a little scary right now.
The city is putting about $3 million (mostly grants) into the building to restore it to its former glory. Eastern General Contractors of Springfield is doing the demolition and code work as part of the first phase. The second phase will be the restoration of the 70-year-old art deco theater.
First-run films aren’t likely to make a return to the Mohawk but, hopefully, it will become a showcase for local theater, independent films and festivals, and traveling acts.
Speaking of theaters, we might as well throw in the $13 million Beacon Cinema project. A trip to Pittsfield last week meant strolling by the historic Kresge-Kinnell building that is currently wrapped in plastic as its transformed into a cinema, retail and restaurant hub. City officials are hoping that bringing the movies back to North Street will draw residents and others back to the downtown.
North Street had at least three theaters at one time, all put out of business after the cinemas opened in the Berkshire Mall.