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Looking for some Berkshire property? The former Housatonic School is waiting to be redeveloped if you're up for the job

abandoned housatonic school

The former Housatonic School is up for sale.

GREAT BARRINGTON — For sale or lease: A genuine fixer-upper!

Great village location in the heart of the Berkshires! Mountain views. Close to hiking trails, restaurants, package store, tea shop, churches, a bakery, art galleries, a dance studio and a famous recording studio! A public playground is next door! An indoor gymnasium, too! And a sledding hill!

Sewer? Provided by the town! The tap water? Inspires spirited community conversation!

Redevelop a piece of history! There may be $650,000 available to get you started.

This is not a tear down. Repeat: not a tear down. Not if you can help it!

Yes, in a unanimous vote on Tuesday, the Select Board made it official. Anyone interested in submitting a proposal to redevelop the town-owned former Housatonic School will have 90 days to do so, beginning Jan. 26.

That means you have until April 27 to respond. (By 2 p.m., to be precise.)

Built in 1907 to educate the children of this fair village, the brick structure has three levels, with approximately 21,680 square feet of gross floor area. And by "gross," we mean "entire" or "sum," not "coarse" or "disgusting."

The building sits on a 0.65-acre parcel at 207 Pleasant St. And by "Pleasant," we do, indeed, mean "pleasing" and "agreeable"!

Housie6.jpg

Housatonic’s abandoned former elementary school sits in the center of the village between a playground and the indoor recreation center known as the Housy Dome. 

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Is there asbestos? Lead paint? Other hazardous materials inside? Yes, yes and yes. The town will take care of that. Plus, did we mention the friendly neighbors? The mountain views? Did we mention the building is approved as eligible to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places?

The Select Board says it “welcomes creative development schemes.” According to the board, the possibilities include:

  • Vocational training program, collaborative work space, or business incubator programs focused on: multimedia, film, technology, digital arts and cultural sector or supporting and strengthening the local food economy.
  • Residential apartments.
  • Educational program for children or adults that meets local needs.
  • Business incubator or collaborative work space to enhance the development of local businesses, including small-scale manufacturing and the production of products, and training programs that focus on strengthening local economic sectors.
  • Cultural center to support visual arts, music or theater programs, or museum.
  • General office, commercial or business use.
  • Combined commercial and residential.

And what about that $650,000? The town has voted and appropriated $650,000 toward the re-roofing of the building and other exterior work.

That said, the town “may choose to award these funds,” subject to terms and conditions set forth in a redevelopment agreement. Also, the town reserves the right to reject any or all proposals.

This marks the third time over the years that the town has put out a request for proposals for redevelopment of the former school. More windows have been smashed since the last time. The roof now leaks, too.

We did mention the mountain views and friendly neighbors. But did you know the choo-choo train goes by twice a day and gives a kindly toot? And at John's Garage, around the corner, they will pump your gas for you!

For more information or to submit a proposal for redevelopment, contact the office of Town Manager Mark Pruhenski by emailing cmorales@townofgb.org or calling 413-528-1619, ext. 2900.

Who wants in?

Sale price? Negotiable.

Felix Carroll can be reached at fcarroll@berkshireeagle.com or 413-496-6391.

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