WTF closing in on North Adams building purchase

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NORTH ADAMS — The Williamstown Theatre Festival is poised to close on its purchase of the former Price Chopper supermarket shopping center building in the coming weeks.

According to paperwork field with the North Adams Planning Board, WTF intends to use the space for set-building operations, and later use spaces occupied now by Rent-A-Center and Oriental Buffet as rehearsal space. Built in 1960, the 35,748-square-foot space is located at 227-245 State Road (Route 2).

The Planning Board approved WTF's application for a change in use earlier this month.

While the sale hasn't closed and the purchase price has not become a matter of public record, the building is listed for $495,000 on the Moresi Real Estate Partners website.

Price Chopper closed in 2016, and the site has remained vacant since.

"It's been challenging to sell the property," company owner Dave Moresi recently told The Eagle.

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He said the project is in the due diligence period required before closing on the purchase.

Golub/North Adams Realties Corp. is in the process of putting a new roof on the building and some required redesign work, according to Moresi.

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According to the application, the former grocery would be occupied by a number of functions related to set construction, including a paint shop, carpentry shop, welding shop and rehearsal space.

The structure will see heaviest use from May through September, with lighter use during the winter months. At peak times, the crew will number about 70. There are not any modifications to the exterior being proposed.

The Williamstown Theatre Festival set-building shop used to be in the Hoosac Mill on Route 2 until the roof collapsed in 2011. It then relocated to the Blackington Mill in the West End, "but they knew they were on borrowed time there," Moresi said.

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When WTF board members approached Moresi about looking for a new space, he said he looked at the Price Chopper space and said, "it really fits all the criteria."

"It's a good fit for North Adams," Moresi said. "It's another good redevelopment on the Route 2 corridor, a growing arts corridor."

He noted that the current Oriental Buffet and Rent-A-Center leases will be honored, although once their leases expire, the new owner has the option of not renewing the lease if they need the additional rehearsal space.

If that were to happen, according to Oriental Buffet owner Dong Liang, "We would move our place, not close down, because our customers support us. Everybody likes our food."

Scott Stafford can be reached at sstafford@berkshireeagle.com or 413-629-4517.


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