Hotel on North: Luxury hotel plan for North Street in Pittsfield gets special permit
Photo Gallery l Hotel on North Press Conference
PITTSFIELD -- It isn't often a reception with refreshments is held to announce a new development project in Pittsfield. Rarer still is when such a reception draws about 60 people in the afternoon and includes many city government and community leaders.
Laurie and David Tierney, who plan the Hotel on North in two historic buildings they own at 273 to 297 North St., and members of their development and management team provided details of the upscale 45-room hotel. The reception and press conference was in advance of a meeting before the city's Community Development Board, which was asked to approve special permits for the $8 million project.
In less than 14 minutes Tuesday evening, the board unanimously approved special permits for the parking plan, which will involve off-site spaces beyond the 41 located behind the buildings; and permits approving the size of the 68,160-square-foot project as required in the zoning district, and waiving a second loading area that would otherwise have been required because of the size.
"A boutique hotel has been a dream of ours for years. This is a project very close to our hearts," Laurie Tierney told the gathering, which included city councilors, Mayor Daniel L. Bianchi and other city officials, along with downtown merchants and representatives from cultural and business organizations.
When traveling, Tierney said, her family always seeks out unique places of lodging that provide exceptional service, which is the stated goal for the hotel.
In addition, Tierney and other speakers stressed a commitment to the community and local businesses and organizations -- especially in utilizing local vendors and contractors, as well as partnering with cultural organizations.
"We believe in local; that's why we wanted this to be a community announcement," she said.
Several times during the event, speakers were interrupted by applause while announcing aspects of the project -- once after Tierney asked, "Are you excited now?"
A key detail was that the management team that operates The Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge and The Porches inn in North Adams will manage the new hotel. The Main Street Hospitality Group was formed by the Fitzpatrick family, which restored and has operated the historic Stockbridge inn since 1969.
Owner Nancy Fitzpatrick said the two families are friends, and she has been involved for some time with the Tierneys in the search for the right building. "We looked at a lot of buildings," she said.
Principals in the management group include Sarah Eustis, Fitzpatrick's daughter, the chief executive officer, and Bruce Finn, general manager of the Red Lion Inn, the chief operating officer.
Eustis and Finn said they plan a unique "destination hotel" in downtown Pittsfield and one that stresses service for visitors. As at the other inns managed by the group, the employee selection process is thorough and training is extensive, Finn said.
The project architect is David Tierney's sister, Karen Tierney Hunt, who expressed excitement at working with the historic, side-by-side brick buildings, both built in the 1880s and on the National Historic Register. Hunt said historic preservation tax credits will be sought for the project, and historic features and color schemes will be preserved, enhanced or restored.
Photo boards illustrating a number of possible room and building features and others showing floor plans were on display at the meeting. None of the rooms or bathrooms are expected to be identical, and unique features, such as columns, will be incorporated into the interior design.
Hunt said she has a vision of creating an active centerpiece for the downtown that might recall "Thursday nights on North Street" from decades ago.
Two restaurants on the lower level of the buildings facing North Street -- Mad Jack's and Spice Dragon -- will remain. A central lobby near the main hotel entrance with marquee and revolving door will have a bar, gift shop, gallery and other space open to the public.
An atrium will allow natural light into each floor level from the roof to the lobby.
There will also be computer facilities, a boardroom and conference space. Finn said market research indicates many of the thousands of Pittsfield area business visitors might stay at the hotel.
Room rates, he said, would average from about $130 per night to just more than $200, depending on time, season and other factors.
In answer to questions, the Tierneys said the expectation is for about 80 construction jobs during the building phase and from 35 to 50 full- and part-time employees working at the hotel.
David J. Tierney Inc. is the general contractor. An opening during late spring 2015 is projected.
The marquee overhang at the entrance and parking spaces required for valet parking will require additional permits from the city.
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