GREAT BARRINGTON -- A longtime local jeweler will be expanding after purchasing a stone-walled building nearby that previously housed the Christian Science Church.
Walter McTeigue, co-proprietor of jewelry store McTeigue & McClelland, last week purchased the prominent church building on 454 Main St. and its surrounding 1.5 acres for $625,000. He co-founded the business with jeweler and designer Tim McClelland in 1996.
The McTeigue & McClelland business has become synonymous with the yellow home at 597 South Main St. that currently houses its hand-crafted, high-end jewelry, which is marketed to an international clientele.
McTeigue knew no ordinary property would serve his plans for expansion, so he approached the Christian Science Church about purchasing that property. With an interest in preserving its building and ready for a move, the Christian Science Church agreed to sell.
"Given we have people coming from so far away we have to have a beautiful showroom and room to have a really beautiful destination," McTeigue said.
McTeigue & McClelland will move to its new building after renovations are completed early in 2014, and its current home will eventually be put on the market.
In the meantime, the Christian Science Center will move its services to the Berkshire South Regional Community Center, where it will remain through September. The center's trustees are currently searching for a new facility to rent.
The congregation currently has about 15 to 20 members, according to Great Barrington Christian Science Church Trustee Ned Odegaard.
"We were spending too much time maintaining an old building. That's not what churches do," Odegaard said.
McTeigue estimates it will cost $1.3 million to renovate the church space, but said the structure was worth the price tag. He said the additional space will provide more showroom space and accommodate growth for many years to come.
"We really wanted to find something equally distinctive," McTeigue said. "The church is that, and every bit of that."