The Mohawk Theater (copy)

The public will have two opportunities in March, via focus group sessions, to give input on what should happen to the long-empty Mohawk Theater in North Adams.

NORTH ADAMS — Residents have a lot of thoughts about what should happen to the long-empty Mohawk Theater. Soon, they can share those opinions with Mayor Jennifer Macksey in two focus group sessions.

"It's going to be one, to talk about the process," Macksey said, "and two, to talk to the community about what they want to see at the Mohawk."

She added: "It's just going to be a brainstorming session."

Those sessions will be held at 6 p.m. March 7 and March 9 in City Council chambers at City Hall.

The city came close to selling the property late last year to a developer, Veselko Buntic of Dowlin Building LLC, who submitted the sole pitch for the building in response to a request for proposals. Buntic proposed buying the building for $21,000 and turning it into a multipurpose event and performance space.

Though then-Mayor Tom Bernard wanted to sell the building to Buntic, there were concerns from the council and the public about process. Eventually, the council decided to pass the decision to Macksey when she took office this year, and the council also decided it would need to approve the purchase of the building.

Macksey rejected Buntic's bid last month, citing concerns about process and the fact that she learned the city still owed about $52,000 on a loan related to the building.

The city has not yet issued a new request for proposals for the theater, and Macksey plans to use feedback from the upcoming meetings to inform that process. Comments from the meeting, though not specific names, will be included in the request for proposals, she said.

Will Buntic bid again?

“I'm undecided — I may bid, I may not," he said Thursday.

Buntic said he received a contract from the city for the property, and his lawyer was going to review it, and then "everything was pulled back." Several years ago, he bid on Windsor Mill, he said, and the city moved forward with another developer and then the sale fell apart in 2019. "I am a little bit disappointed with the city."

Whether he will bid this time, he said, "I'm going to think, I don't know."

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.