|North Adams Planners OK Inn at Historic Beaver Mill|
|By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff |
05:12AM / Friday, September 16, 2022
|The Planning Board approved plans for 13-room inn in the Beaver Mill. |
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Developer and artist Eric Rudd, operating at Cire Corp., is planning to create 13-room inn i the historic Beaver Mill.
The inn concept is not far off the artists' residences that had existed in the mill after he and his wife, Barbara, first purchased it, he said.
"We had the Contemporary Artists Center [at the mill]. We had artists sleeping there, eating there, we we're feeding 40 people breakfast, lunch and dinner was quite a rush, if I can say so myself," Rudd told the Planning Board. "We have about, I don't know, hard to keep count, but about 40 studios, mostly artists studios.
"I try to make them very economical. And you know, there's a balance. So this will change the economics of the mill in the future, on the positive."
Rudd said the economics of the 135,000-square-foot structure has changed: propane has doubled in price and electricity costs are up 37 percent. The short-term rentals will aid in keeping costs in line, he said, as well as have a positive impact on the 200-year-old mill's future.
"I have 100-year plan for the mill, the museum well after my lifetime and Barbara's lifetime," he said. "And so this kind of fits the bill."
The artists' residence at the now defunct CAC had four bedrooms sharing facilities but that he didn't think that would fly in this day. Each unit would have its own suite and would upgraded to contemporary standards.
"These are going to be very nice rooms, very upscale. Barbara and I do a lot of traveling, especially also in Europe, and you know, they have to be immaculate, it's seven days a week," he said. "You can't just have a sloppy room one time because it just will do you in."
All alterations will be in the interior and on the first floor for full accessibility. He anticipated no change in traffic since the mill has studios and businesses in it that see people coming and going and there's a large parking lot across the street from the mill.
"It's gonna be a nice addition. We want to be affordable. I think the rooms will be so nice that we could still match other hotels in the area," Rudd said. "I don't really want to do daily rentals, we're really good to deal with a three-day minimum, or for a week or so."
He anticipated targeting patrons interested in the arts and possibly integrate their stay at the mill with workshops in the artists studios where they could try to make art or take tours. Plus, he said, the mill isn't far from downtown and has a beautiful natural resource next door in Natural Bridge State Park.
"So it can be a fun experience. And I'm a great believer in some of the experiences and partnering with other kinds of things, other studios, not just my own studio," Rudd said.
He also pointed out that operating an inn is allowed in the mill's B2 zone.
Construction on the units could begin in five or six weeks with the goal of having the units open by this time next year.
The Beaver Mill is the city's oldest with parts that date to 1833 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was owned by the city's first mayor, A.C. Houghton, and was part of Sprague Electric's mini-empire in North Adams. It was long vacant and in disrepair by the time Rudd bought in 1990. It now houses his home, studio, a museum area for his large works and artists studios.
Rudd also developed another old mill used by Sprague, the Eclipse Mill, that's now filled with artists' lofts, and two churches that have been transformed into museums, including the Berkshire Art Museum on East Main Street.
The Planning Board, with Rudd's neighbor Kyle Hanlon abstaining and Lisa Blackmer absent, approved the special permit Monday for an inn to be operated at the mill with few questions. They requested that Rudd provide a final signage plan to the building inspector.
"As a private citizen and abuttor, I've been a neighbor of the mill since '96 and never had a single complaint with Eric or any of his tenants," said Hanlon.