Holy Family Church in Pittsfield to be transformed into Powerhouse Lofts, with a shrine


PITTSFIELD — By this time next year, a former Catholic church is expected to be transformed into a complex of market-rate apartments.

David Carver expects redevelopment to begin in January on the former Holy Family Church and rectory on Seymour Street near Wahconah Street. The project is expected to take about nine months to complete.

The Pittsfield Community Development Board on Tuesday night unanimously approved the estimated $1.8 million project similar to his conversion of the former Notre Dame School off Melville and First streets into 11 residential units in 2013.

The 10-unit complex to be named Powerhouse Lofts will be open to all types of tenants.

"If you look at many of our projects, we have young professionals, retirees and people in the middle," Carver told the Eagle after the board's vote.

The plan calls for removing a garage and the kitchen, which were added to the brick building in the 1970s. The remaining 17,000 square feet of space will be turned into eight, one-bedroom units in the chapel area; a four-bedroom unit will be created in the former rectory; and a three-bedroom unit will be built in the former church classroom space.

Carver intends to work with local lenders and seek historic rehabilitation tax credits and additional support through the state Housing Development Incentive Program, which provides tax credits toward financing downtown market rate housing.

The building's facade will be preserved, along with an existing shrine.

"It's meaningful to some people," said Robert Macintosh, the project landscape architect. "We expect it to be visited from time to time."

Macintosh told the city planners the renovated building will have exterior wall-mounted motion sensor lighting, a set of stairs for the second floor exit to the outside, a new driveway and several trees to replace the Pines being removed to make way for the parking lot on the 1.58 acre lot.

Constructed in 1906, the complex was the original energy source for the Berkshire-Pittsfield Street Railway Co., the local trolley service. What became the rectory was the powerhouse building, where coal-fired generators created the electricity to run the trolley cars.

The trolley later moved to a new facility before the public transportation service soon declined, along with those in most other cities, with the rise in popularity of the automobile.

Seeking a church of its own, the Polish community created one in the brick building at 133 Seymour St. It opened in 1924 and was closed in 2008 along with several other churches with declining parish membership in the Berkshires.

Carver has said the buildings are in good condition, with reinforced concrete and structural steel beams, although they have begun to deteriorate after being vacant.

He expects the unexpected once work begins on the 110-year-old building.

"There will be surprises," he said. "There's always surprises with these types of projects."

Contact Dick Lindsay at 413-496-6233.


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