North Adams' Freight Yard Pub looking to partner with microbrewery


NORTH ADAMS -- Owners of the Freight Yard Pub are negotiating with a number of breweries in the hopes of bringing craft beer to North Adams.

The discussions are part of an ongoing plan to privatize the Western Gateway Heritage State Park into a local retail, artisan and residential hub, dubbed the Greylock Market.

Colleen Taylor, co-owner of the pub, said investors and the restaurant have been in talks with companies, both large and small, though she declined to name names.

Taylor said she was excited at the possibilities a brewery could bring to her restaurant.

"[Greylock Market President Blair Benjamin] has been interviewing a few different microbreweries and a distillery," Taylor said. "It's been fun."

The private investment group Greylock Market LLC announced last year it would seek a microbrewery or distillery to partner with the Freight Yard Pub, which has done business in the park for more than 20 years.

A Freight Yard Pub and brewery partnership could happen in any number of incarnations depending on the brewing company and its needs and size, according to Taylor.

With one brewer, Taylor said she discussed possibly converting the patio of the restaurant into a beer garden, with taps outside. And for another brewery, the restaurant considered converting its upstairs into a "farm to table" eatery combined with the local beer.

"We usually sit down and I try to get their vision and I explain where I think it can go," she said. "It will be different for whoever comes down."

Taylor hopes to incorporate the other businesses that move into the Greylock Market into her restaurant. For example, she said, if a cheesemaker opens nearby, the product could be used in Freight Yard Pub meals.

Announced last fall, the Greylock Market will use about $6 million in funds from private investors over two years to create a marketplace of local businesses, craftspeople, and some new residential units.

The site itself is owned by the state as Western Gateway Heritage State Park, but the buildings are owned and maintained by the city of North Adams, according to Mayor Richard Alcombright.

"We've been very busy these last few months as we've really sort of digged in," Benjamin said.

The company is working with architects, engineers, and contractors to not only plan renovations for several of the buildings in the area, but get a firmer grip on the potential costs.

"It's a work in progress to find the right balance between ideal renovation and what can be achieved that will still be a great project," he said.

Benjamin said he has been in discussion with a wide variety of tenants, and continues to aim for a mixed use between retail and residential at the market.

"That's the right mix that will generate activity," he said. "We're getting some enthusiastic interest [from potential tenants]."

Once the costs are finalized, and funding is proven, Benjamin said, Greylock Market LLC hopes to finalize its lease agreement with the city. Shortly thereafter, it hopes, tenants will be moving in to a revitalized section of the city.

Alcombright met with Benjamin and the redevelopment authority's legal counsel in a private session Tuesday to continue ongoing lease negotiations, he said.

"I am happy with the way its moving along," Alcombright said.

To reach Adam Shanks:
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