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New incubator storefront by Adams theater developer adds to buzz around Park Street

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Yina Moore, founder and executive director of Adams Theater, sits in her new storefront incubator and co-working space, two doors down from the theater on Park Street.

ADAMS — As if rejuvenating a live venue isn’t enough, Yina Moore leased a storefront a couple doors down from her Adams Theater project to open a small-business incubator at 35 Park St.

It will double as a community gathering space and a pop-up gallery. Other uses could include co-working space, an arts-related retail shop, an event venue or a place to stop in and socialize over coffee, Moore said.

The spot recently received a “Pop Up, North Berkshire” grant for $7,500 from 1Berkshire.

“This is a low-risk opportunity to try out their ideas,” said Ben Lamb, director of economic development at 1Berkshire.

The grant comes from funding provided to 1Berkshire through the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development and the Massachusetts Office of Business Development.

The new Adams Incubator will operate near the Miss Adams Diner and the Firehouse Café and Bistro, helping Park Street gain foot traffic and stimulate commercial activity downtown.

It comes amid ongoing work to renovate the theater at 27 Park St. and an effort to reopen the Mausert Block for market-rate apartment living with retail space on the ground floor.

“We’re seeing a whole new dynamic in Adams,” Lamb said. “The Adams Incubator will be a space for collaboration and panel discussions — these types of amenities are exciting. And the work at the theater is also good for generating top-of-mind synergy.”

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Yina Moore, founder and executive director of the Adams Theater, hopes to start hosting various events for the community in the space this fall. 

At the theater, work continues to renovate the lobby and kitchen, as well as install a two-story space for three restrooms, including one that is handicapped-accessible.

The theater’s revitalization is funded by private investment, Moore said. The project is also applying for funding from the Massachusetts Community One Stop Grant administered by three state agencies to pay for the auditorium work.

Moore, an architect, bought the 27 Park St. property, the former home of the Topia Arts Center, in May 2021 for $189,00, less than half its original asking price.

John Duval, chairman of the Adams Select Board, said the rise of further commercial activity downtown is a promising sign.

“We currently have several businesses in our downtown that serve the community during normal daytime hours,” he said via email. “However, what has been missing for many years is the evening and weekend draw that includes shopping, entertainment, restaurants, etc.

“The Adams Theater and its incubator store will be a major anchor piece of the downtown economic puzzle along with soon to-be-completed market rate downtown apartments (in the Mausert Block) and the grand opening of the Firehouse Café and Bistro restaurant,” he said. “All these efforts are resulting in positive economic activity returning the downtown and surrounding area to its former status as a Berkshire County destination.”

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The new sign for Adams Theater has been installed above what will be the theater entrance on Park Street. 

Moore said work on the theater’s lobby and bathroom spaces should be completed in October. Over the winter she will work on architectural designs for the auditorium space. She anticipates hosting community events in the theater before completion of the interior work and installation of seating for 400.

Moore intends to apply for grant funding and launch a public fundraising effort to help pay for completion of the auditorium work, which will cost “at least $900,000.”

When all is said and done, Moore estimated the cost for the rejuvenation of the theater would come in at about $2 million.

“When people see something happening, they want to get involved,” Moore said. “Now there are a lot of people drawn to the project, so we’re building a team.”

She said the acoustics of the theater space are noteworthy. She expects to host productions “with dynamic staging,” like plays, dance performances, musicals and concerts.

“Very talented performance artists are already contacting me,” Moore said. “This county is full of great talent.”

Scott Stafford can be reached at sstafford@berkshireeagle.com or 413-281-4622.

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