WEST STOCKBRIDGE -- An 11-acre undeveloped parcel near the center of town has been sold and will soon be transformed into an expansive art attraction.
The property fronting Moscow and Oak roads was sold to Newton residents Igor Gomberg and his wife, Ekaterina Brezgunova, for $275,000, according to documents filed by the registry. It was previously owned by Flavio Lichtenthal and his wife, Lisa Landry.
The transformation is expected to cost $3 million and construction will begin next summer with a small gallery, cafe, ticket area, walking trails, and pavilions, according to one of the project's lead designers Naomi Sherman, of Cambridge-based Design Experiment.
The location is expected to include four small gallery spaces averaging 1,500 square feet that will feature artwork. Outdoors there will be sculptures to admire.
The opening is scheduled for fall 2014.
"In terms of the concept, the main idea here is it's going to be an oasis from city life," Sherman said. "It's going to be a place where people can come and spend the entire or part of the day and enjoy the nature around them."
The expansive property is zoned largely for commercial use, includes the town's stone quarry and three acres of residential-zoned land.
Gomberg owns a geological surveying company in Russia and his wife is a screenwriter in Russia, Sherman said. The couple in recent years moved to the United States and they are both patrons of the arts.
The couple are friends with famed Russian sculptor Nikolai Silis, whose work also is expected to be on display.
For years, the couple has been looking for a venue for Gomberg to share his passion of the arts. They had even explored a site in the Czech Republic, but that had to be abandoned due to complications, Sherman said. It was then that the search shifted to the Boston and New York areas.
"Because the Berkshires are very much art-inclined they thought it would be great for a project like this," Sherman said.
Cambridge-based The Design Experiment co-founded by Sherman and Tim Severo will oversee the project.
While the site will differ from other similar South County attractions Chesterwood in Stockbridge and Butler Sculpture Park in Sheffield, the West Stockbridge attraction also will be designed not to interrupt the site's natural beauty, Sherman said.
The three-phase development will likely be designed by March. The stone quarry is unlikely to receive much development, she said.
"We're trying to preserve the natural beauty of the site," Sherman said. "We might not want to touch it at all. We're hoping at some point there will be a walkway along the quarry. Right now there is no access at all."
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