North Adams Planning Board OKs restaurant, final piece of Redwood Motel redevelopment puzzle
"Don't make promises you can't keep," quipped Planning Board Chairman Michael Leary.
Since purchasing the small motel on State Road in 2015, the investors behind the new Tourists expanded their vision into a 48-room lodging and event campus, purchased the Blackinton Mill on the north bank of the river, and now plan to build a restaurant next door.
Located in the 19th-century farmhouse property adjacent to the hotel complex on State Road, the planned restaurant has brought an award-winning chef to North Adams.
The planning board unanimously approved the plans, submitted by Tourists' parent company Beyond Place, LLC, on Monday.
Beyond Place purchased the former Redwood Motel for $350,000 in 2015, and its multimillion dollar plans have since expanded to make the State Road site a destination that leverages its natural surroundings.
"We are really under-leveraging the fact that this beautiful Hoosic River flows through our community, and attention should be paid to it," Kerns said. "What we are really intending to do here is build North Adams' first riverside restaurant."
To lead the new restaurant, Tourists has tapped chef Cortney Burns, a previous winner of the James Beard Award and chef at Bar Tartine in San Francisco.
"Our ultimate goal is to create a destination restaurant experience with one of America's most admired young chefs at the helm, showcasing our bounty of regional ingredients and drawing additional visitors to North Adams," Tourists wrote in its application to the city.
Burns and architects Hank Scollard and Reed Hilderbrand have collaborated for nearly a year, planning for the restaurant while prioritizing its connection with the Tourists motel and the Hoosic River.
The team also emphasized the restaurant will "respect" the historic farmhouse.
"A big part of this process has been wanting to keep it really intact ... and wanting to create a restaurant that accompanies the house," Kerns said.
The farmhouse was converted in 1944 to a nine-room hotel, the Airport Rooms and Tourist Home and continued to serve visitors along the Mohawk Trail until 1994, according to the history of the property cobbled together by the motel.
A four-car garage next to the farmhouse will be demolished, but the farmhouse itself will remain the face of the structure with an addition to its rear. The roof deck atop the restaurant will be even with the floor of the existing farmhouse.
The plans also call for the construction of a greenhouse to the east of the restaurant.
The restaurants expects about half of its customers to be guests at the motel and the other half to come in from off-campus.
Kerns said the goal is to break ground on the project in about six weeks and open the restaurant in the summer of 2018.
Reach staff writer Adam Shanks at 413-496-6376 or @EagleAdamShanks on Twitter
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