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Deadline passes without a single pitch to buy the Mohawk Theater in North Adams

MohawkTheater4 (copy)

The Mohawk Theater in North Adams. The city looked for a buyer this summer, but no one submitted a bid by Tuesday's deadline.

NORTH ADAMS — The Mohawk Theater does not have a potential new owner.

By Tuesday’s due date, no prospective buyers submitted proposals to redevelop the long-empty theater, according to Mike Nuvallie, director of the city’s Office of Community Development.

“While it’s a little discouraging, it’s not the end of the road for the Mohawk Theater,” Mayor Jennifer Macksey said at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

The city got a “slew of questions” after tours of the building, Macksey said. “We’re to regroup and we’re a little disappointed, but we’re going to take pulses on all the people that did tours and try to figure out why there were no applications.”

The building nearly sold last year to a developer who proposed an event and performance space. But after Macksey took office, she turned down the proposal, citing the need for more community input and a discovery that the city still owed about $52,000 on an existing loan on the building.

Macksey held meetings earlier this year to get more public comment and in June the city put out a call to redevelop the building. She was not available for an interview Tuesday afternoon.

An open house last month drew few people to the building. The theater originally opened in 1938 and closed in 1991.

Buyers had to offer at least $100,000 for the property, which is worth about $466,000, according to the 100-page proposal published in June.

“We might have out-priced ourselves,” Macksey said. “But again, I’m not going to give that building away.”

The required $100,000 minimum bid is not what deterred Veselko Buntic, the sole bidder last round, from trying again this summer.

He said he decided not to bid after his previous proposal was rejected in a drawn-out process that involved a disagreement between the City Council and then-Mayor Tom Bernard.

“The whole process didn’t sit well with me,” he said Tuesday.

Buntic says he also decided not to stand between community views about the theater and his own vision for the place.

“I saw that people in the community were very close to it. And it was going to be difficult to do things,” he said. “It’s very difficult to make it financially valuable and sustainable if too many people are involved.”

He will instead focus on developing the two properties he already owns downtown — one on Eagle Street that he plans to turn into apartments and one on Main Street that he wants to turn into a hotel.

This story has been updated to include Mayor Jennifer Macksey’s comments at City Council

Greta Jochem can be reached at gjochem@berkshireeagle.com or 413-496-6272.

Reporter

Greta Jochem, a Report for America Corps member, joined the Eagle in 2021. Previously, she was a reporter at the Daily Hampshire Gazette. She is also a member of the investigations team.

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