With ITAM Lodge purchased, next goal is to link it to the Lake House Guest Cottages

The Sons of Italy ITAM Lodge on Pontoosuc Lake in Pittsfield has been purchased by the owner of the nearby Lake House Guest Cottages of the Berkshires.

Editor's note: This article was updated on Jan. 31, 2018, to clarify the Lake House Guest Cottages of the Berkshires is open year round, with its summer season lasting May to October. Also corrected was the name of ITAM, which will be Proprieter's Lodge. 

PITTSFIELD — A local contractor has purchased the ITAM Lodge on Waubeek Road, and intends to link the property to a multipurpose venue that he already owns and operates in Lanesborough.

New owner Eric Taylor of Peru, who owns Restorations Inc. of Hinsdale, plans to connect the 4 1/2-acre site to the Lake House Guest Cottages of the Berkshires, which he opened in 2015. Both structures are on Pontoosuc Lake, but are located on different shores.

"We're bringing it under that umbrella," said Taylor, who purchased the two-story, 16,000-square-foot lodge — it had served as the ITAM's home for over 40 years — for $1.15 million from ITAM Lodge No. 564 Realty Trust, according to documents filed at the Berkshire Middle District Registry of Deeds in Pittsfield.

The Lake House complex, which consists of seven buildings, is available for weddings, corporate events and family gatherings, and includes rooms for overnight guests. The former ITAM Lodge, which Taylor plans to rename the Proprietor's Lodge, will be used as a site for those same functions, but will not have guest rooms.

"We're going to have to shuttle people back and forth with a boat," Taylor said.

The Lake House's summer season runs from May to mid-October, but the venue is open all year. Plans call for the Proprietor's Lodge to be open year-round, Taylor said. The Lake House hosts 40 to 70 events during the months it is open. But having a second venue will alleviate crowding at the Lake House and allow more events to take place.

"Right now, we're kind of confined with what we have at the Lake House," Taylor said.

Taylor's company, Pontoosuc Lake Properties LLC, has also obtained a $2.2 million mortgage on the former ITAM Lodge property with MountainOne Bank of North Adams, according to registry documents. The mortgage is so high because Taylor said he plans to spend $1.5 million to $2 million on top of the purchase price to renovate the former lodge.

"We're adding an addition and an elevator, redoing the roof, the HVAC and the bathrooms," he said.

Although some "housekeeping" chores, such as cleaning out the former lodge's basement, have begun, the bulk of the interior and exterior improvements are not yet underway.

The Conservation Commission is reviewing Taylor's plans for grading changes, stormwater discharge and tree removal on the site. The board's next meeting is Feb. 8, and Taylor said exterior renovations — including a proposal to remove 20 large white pine trees that Taylor has referred to as a "safety hazard," and adding a porch within the structure's 100-foot buffer zone — could begin after that date, depending on the outcome. He hopes to begin holding functions at the former lodge in August.

"I've been talking with the city's building department," Taylor said. "They can issue us a permit now for the inside stuff, but we're hoping to have a decision from the commission on the eighth."

Plans call for a 1,000-square-foot addition to be added to the front of the building, and 4,300 square feet of covered decks and patios.

The addition of other buildings is "not planned at the moment," Taylor said. "Whether we will or will not depends on how this phase is accepted. At some point, we'd like to have another building over there, but one step at a time."

Taylor's firm, Restorations Inc., which his father, George, founded in 1970, has performed work on several Gilded Age cottages, including the Brookhurst Estate in Lenox, and constructed the shrine at the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Stockbridge. Restorations also built the MountainOne Financial Center at the William Stanley Business Park of the Berkshires in Pittsfield, the courtyard at the new Courtyard by Marriott in Lenox and Azure Green's 18,000-square-foot headquarters in Middlefield.

The membership of ITAM Lodge 564, whose roots date to 1915, reluctantly put the lodge property on the market last year because of its aging membership, a shortage of younger replacements, and a decrease in events and revenue. The lodge property was originally listed for $1.7 million.

The building was constructed in 1973. The site had served as the ITAM Lodge's home since 1967. The lodge purchased the site, which includes 300 feet of frontage on Pontoosuc Lake, in 1968. The property had formerly served as the home of the Breezy Knoll Inn.

Business Editor Tony Dobrowolski can be reached at tdobrowolski@berkshireeagle.com or 413-496-6224.