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Redevelopment Planned for Former Dealership
Tammy Daniels,
01:15PM / Thursday, August 11, 2011

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Scarafoni Associates is planning to demolish parts of the former car dealership on Union Street and redevelop the rest for commercial use.

The proposal was to be presented to the Planning Board on Monday night but was postponed after one of the planners fell ill and the meeting was adjourned.

"It will allow us to do something with a piece of property that's been sitting there for awhile," said David Bond, who does commercial leasing for Scarafoni Associates.

The first tenant will be J Star Gymnastics, owned by Jonathan Girard. Girard said he closed his studio on Curran Highway about a month ago because the space wasn't working out. "We didn't want to close but it was something that had to be done," he said.

He's hoping to move his growing business — 60 students now and a cheerleading group — into the Union Street complex "as soon as possible." The move will require a special permit from the Planning Board to operate a gymnastics studio in an Industrial-1 zone.

Scarafoni and Associates is proposing to redevelop the former Chevrolet dealership on Union Street into commercial space. The building to the left, which sustained structural damage during the winter, will be torn down to provide more parking.

J Star will move into the 18,000-square-foot building along Union Street but won't take up the entire structure. Bond envisions using the rest of the building — showroom section of the former Shapiro/Gateway Chevrolet  — for community or recreational uses such as Zumba classes.

Bond said the work will be done in phases, with the demolition of the sections of the buildings in poor condition. The garage area next to the showroom facing Canal Street was severely damaged from this past winter's heavy snow and is scheduled to be removed this month, pending approval by the Building Department. An older section between the Windsor Mill and the dealership on Union will also be demolished.

The property was originally part of the Windsor Mill until being operated as a car dealership since the 1940s. It's been sitting empty since Gateway moved out several years, part of a countywide consolidation of new car dealers.

Parking spots will replace the torn-down buildings and the property will be subdivided into three separate parcels, each with a building ranging from 12,000 to 18,000 square feet. The entire property is just under six acres.

Bond said the parcels could be further divided into commercial, retail and light industrial space with leasing  or sale costs based on renovation requirements. It will be done in phases with plans by Westall Architects and will include landscaping along Union Street (Route 2).

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