Redwood Motel developers purchase city-owned property, expanding resort project

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Photo Gallery | Land at former North Adams sewage treatment plant sold

NORTH ADAMS — The developers of the Redwood Motel on State Road have expanded their vision north, purchasing city-owned property that encompasses a former wastewater treatment facility and a small stretch of the Appalachian Trail.

The developers on Tuesday purchased multiple parcels from the city that include a long-defunct wastewater treatment plant and an area known as the former Blackinton playground. With approval from the City Council, the city was paid $55,000 for the sale of the land, which will be deposited into its Sale of Land reserve account.

Developer Beyond Place LLC, purchased the Redwood Motel in April 2015 for $350,000 as a base for its recreational resort project. The group of investors have since purchased adjacent and nearby properties, including the Blackinton Mill, which sits across the Hoosic River on Massachusetts Avenue.

The group's vision for the cluster of land includes a complete renovation of the motel itself and inclusion of nearby pieces of land for lodging, events and hiking.

The city-owned properties purchased by Blackinton Backwoods — a different company name, but the same developers as on the Redwood project — were listed in a public request for proposals earlier this year, according to Mayor Richard Alcombright. Blackinton Backwoods was the only respondent.

"The scope of the development within this entire project and within the West End is immense," Alcombright said.

The developers also are in the process of negotiating with the state Department of Fish and Game for a structured easement on another nearby parcel that abuts the Hoosic River.

The parcels purchased from the city this week are landlocked, closed in by the railroad on the north and the Hoosic River in the south. Under the developer's plans, it would be accessed by pre-existing tunnels from the north and potentially a footbridge from the south.

"This is land that's been really completely had enormous barriers to traditional development, primarily because of access," said Eric Kerns, the project's manager.

The issue of potential contamination on the property was raised by city councilors. Under the terms of the sale agreement, the city is only held responsible for contamination if it is determined that the city caused it. The city would not be on the hook for any other contamination, such as that left behind by former nearby manufacturers, on the land.

Councilor Keith Bona noted that the city had previously considered using the former wastewater treatment plant land for a solar array, but that it was deemed not viable.

Kerns said there have been three requests for proposals on the property in the last 15 years and his group is the only respondent.

Though the land will be privately owned, the public will still have access to the river. There will be days, however, when there will be events such as weddings on the land.

"There won't be constant public rights of access," Kerns said, "but at the same time there will not be active enforcement of keeping people out."

Contact Adam Shanks at 413-496-6376.


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