NORTH ADAMS -- A former place of worship could soon be converted into a four-unit apartment building, preserving its architecture while renovating the interior.
WDM Properties, a subsidiary of Scarafoni Realty, hopes to create four "market rate" two-bedroom apartments out of what was once the Holy Family Church at 625 State Road (Route 2). The developer has entered a purchase and sale agreement with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield for the 4,331-square-foot space.
"We are presently working on financing, permits and design," said David Carver, real estate developer for Scarafoni and Manager of WDM Properties.
The Planning Board will take up the proposal -- which requires a special permit for a change of use and site plan approval -- at its May 12 meeting.
Carver said in a statement submitted to the Planning Board that changes to the exterior of the building will be minimal.
"The churches and associated buildings in Berkshire County represent important cultural and architectural history and every attempt should be made to save them through adaptive re-use," Carver said when reached by phone Thursday.
Scarafoni has completed similar projects in the past, converting the former St. Raphael's Catholic Church in Williamstown into the eight-unit Church Corners Apartments. Last year, it converted a former Catholic school building in Pittsfield into an 11-unit apartment building.
"The most important issues involve the quality of structure as it relates to building codes, the size of the project, and parking," Carver said. "We require that they be structurally sound, be relatively small projects in scale with the neighborhood, and have dedicated parking."
So far, three such churches in Berkshire County have fit the list of requirement, and Scarafoni has jumped at the opportunity to revamp them.
The limited exterior work to the Holy Family Church will include the addition of several windows at the rear of the building, according to the plans, and replacement of stained glass at the front of the building with clear glass. The exterior trim will be repaired and painted.
Four parking spaces adjacent to State Road will be eliminated and replaced with grass and two new trees.
The application indicates that though its approval is unnecessary, the city's historical commission was notified of the project.
The lot, which also contains the Holy Family Terrace senior housing building, will be subdivided, allowing the Diocese to continue its ownership of 611 State Road. Although it does not pay taxes on the Holy Family Terrace complex, the Diocese has been paying taxes on the unused Holy Family Church building.
Attempts to reach a representative of the diocese were unsuccessful.
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