Berkshire Mall

The 5 futures: Proposed Berkshire Mall plans

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The plainly titled "Berkshire Mall: Future Use Study" does more than suggest what-ifs. It fleshes out five possible new uses for the Lanesborough mall, which lost its last retailer this past spring, apart from the independently run Target store.

Here is a look at all five. Each includes a favorability score based on a range of factors, based in part on whether the idea requires rehabilitation of the existing mall, partial demolition of structures, or a full knockdown:

WHAT IT IS: Leave two sections of mall structure to create indoor sports event space with outdoor fields or courts. Add to accessory buildings. The creation of open green space, with tree plantings, would foster stage or festival events. A large parking lot would remain to host a yearly carnival and to protect underground utilities.

HOW REPORT SCORED CONCEPT: Positive

ZONING ISSUES: Could be permitted under current zoning.

COST OF REMOVING OLD MALL STRUCTURES: $25 million

COST OF NEW BUILDING: $75 million

TOTAL (including other costs): $132 million

WHAT IT IS: Create indoor resort facility to tap into Berkshire County's range of recreational activities in colder months. About half of existing mall would be demolished. Former J.C. Penney wing could be rebuilt as a hotel. New dining destinations would be cultivated.

HOW REPORT SCORED CONCEPT: Positive

ZONING ISSUES: Could be permitted under current zoning.

COST OF REMOVING OLD MALL STRUCTURES: $85 million

COST OF NEW BUILDING: $87 million

TOTAL (including other costs): $252 million

WHAT IT IS: Interior sections of existing mall would be leveled to create open green space surrounded by several buildings housing training and technology businesses. Stand-alone buildings would allow flexibility in use over the years. Buildings would be linked by covered walkways, fashioning a "campus" feel.

HOW REPORT SCORED CONCEPT: Positive

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ZONING ISSUES: As laid out, the concept would need a Planning Board special permit as a "retail, service and industrial complex."

COST OF REMOVING OLD MALL STRUCTURES: $88.5 million

COST OF NEW BUILDING: $15.5 million

TOTAL (including other costs): $150 million

WHAT IT IS: After full demolition of existing mall, site would be home to an array of housing designed to care for people as they age, from independent living in "cottages" to town houses to full nursing and rehab centers.

HOW REPORT SCORED CONCEPT: Though the idea received positive scores, they were lower than other proposed concepts, mainly due to the fact that the plan makes no use of the current structure. Water and sewer systems would need "significant" upgrades.

ZONING ISSUES: Would require "extensive" rezoning.

COST OF REMOVING OLD MALL STRUCTURES: $10 million

COST OF NEW BUILDING: $115 million

TOTAL (including other costs): $183 million

WHAT IT IS: Some current mall space would be retrofitted as indoor growing sites or facilities for food processing. Site would also be fitted with greenhouses, solar fields and open space for agricultural use. Ninety percent of the parking lot would be removed. Target could sell locally grown produce, and the site would be promoted through farm tourism.

HOW REPORT SCORED CONCEPT: Positive

ZONING ISSUES: No rezoning needed

COST OF REMOVING OLD MALL STRUCTURES: $58 million

COST OF NEW BUILDING: $2 million

TOTAL (including other costs): $87 million 


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