PITTSFIELD -- Cafua Management Co. of Andover, which plans a new Dunkin’ Donuts restaurant at the site of the former Plunkett School on Fenn Street, has closed on the property.
Cafua purchased the vacant brick school building on 0.84 acres at Fenn and First streets for $775,000 last month from Forer Development Co., according to Middle Berkshire District Registry of Deeds records.
In November, attorney Thomas Hamel, of Martin Oliveira & Hamel, representing Cafua, said the developer was ready to move forward with its restaurant plan despite the City Council’s rejection in June of a drive-thru operation for the site.
Cafua has filed an appeal of that rejection of a special permit for the drive-thru to Massachusetts Land Court. Hamel, who was unavailable Tuesday for comment, has said that, even if the drive-thru is not allowed, the company believes it will be able to show one would improve traffic flow at the corner site.
Cafua, which operates a Dunkin’ Donuts with a drive-thru east of the parcel on First Street, has other Dunkin’ restaurants in Pittsfield and throughout the Northeast. The company had planned to close the existing restaurant, which has been the target of complaints about drive-thru lines spilling out into First Street, if its project at First and Fenn streets was completed and included a drive-thru.
Permits for demolition of the school and construction of a Dunkin’ Donuts without the drive-thru operation have been obtained by the developer.
Although the city is considering extending the Downtown Arts Overlay district along the east side of First Street to include both Dunkin’ sites, which would prohibit a drive-thru operation, Cafua has filed paperwork with the city that effectively freezes the current zoning in place for three years, should the company win its appeal in Land Court or should the council reverse its decision on a drive thru permit.
As proposed, the drive-thru at the Plunkett site would enter from Fenn Street and exit onto First Street and would have room for more vehicles to line up at the window than at the current Dunkin’ site.
The 36,000-square-foot brick school opened in 1909 and closed in 1977. Forer Development Co. of New York City, a stationery and greeting card firm, then purchased it from the city.
A manufacturing business was located there during the 1980s, first operated by the owner and later by another company, but that operation closed in 1987. The building had sporadic use until about three years ago.
To reach Jim Therrien:
or (413) 496-6247
On Twitter: @BE_therrien