Photo Gallery: River Street Package Store building is razed


NORTH ADAMS -- The former River Street Package Store was demolished on Monday, leaving an empty lot at the corner of Houghton and River Street.

The space will be planted with grass in the short-term, according to the owners of the Porches Inn. Several other options for its reuse are being "explored" for the future, according to Mel Karakaya, the Porches' innkeeper.

The property, nestled at 177 River Street, was purchased by the Porches Inn last December for $250,000, according to city assessor records. The Porches Inn, which is managed by the Main Street Hospitality Group and owned by Jack Wadsworth, opted to have the building, which was built more than a century ago, torn down.

The sale price for the former package store -- which moved to a new location on River Street last year -- was more than $100,000 more than the assessed value. City records show the two lots on which the building sits are valued at $143,500.

The building, which sits on just under one-fifth of an acre of land, was last sold in 1997 for $180,000. It is unclear how much the Porches Inn spent on the demolition of the building, in which two apartments had already been condemned by the city.

Karakaya declined to give a specific dollar amount on the project's cost, but said "we think that it's worth it."

"It's kind of eyesore for anyone ... who passes by," Karakaya said, adding that it will become "a clean, nice area for the community and our guests."

The inn's owners were just recently permitted by the city to raze the building, according to Karakaya.

The makeover of the lot is just one piece of a larger effort by the Porches, which opened in 2001, to revitalize the entire neighborhood, Karakaya said.

Mayor Richard Alcombright said the razing of the old store was good news for the city.

"I'm really kind of happy that there's private investment coming into the city," Alcombright said.

The building also presented safety concerns, Alcombright said, by blocking drivers' sight lines.

"There have been a lot of accidents there because some of the blind spots created by that building," Alcombright said.

The demolition was completed by Adams-based Waterman Excavating in a full day, causing only a minor disruption to traffic.

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