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Louison House Planning Youth Housing on Bracewell Avenue
By Brian Rhodes, iBerkshires Staff
02:00PM / Tuesday, November 15, 2022
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The building, currently split into two units, would be converted into five studio-style apartments with a bathroom and kitchen and one two-bedroom apartment.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Housing support center Louison House hopes to turn 111 to 113 Bracewell Avenue into six apartments for unaccompanied youth. 

 

According to plans presented to the Planning Board Monday, the building, currently split into two units, would be converted into five studio-style apartments with a bathroom and kitchen and one two-bedroom apartment. The interior of the building will be redesigned, including replacing electrical, plumbing, HVAC, and life safety systems, to accommodate the new layout. 

 

"That would fit the need for a lot of our younger folk who just need a small space, but they need permanent housing," said Kathy Keeser, Executive Director of Louison House.

 

The structure, she explained, is currently vacant.

 

"They don't need to be out in the streets wandering," she said. "So we feel that would help with some of the homelessness needs, youth needs." 

 

The North Adams Housing Authority donated the property to Louison House in 2017.

 

Keeser said the organization has already mostly secured the needed funding for the project, and the group will continue to maintain the property once it's complete. 

 

"We actually have programmatic funding most likely coming down, because we don't want to charge a whole lot of rent. It'd be subsidized. Very low, affordability," she said. "... We're probably going to have a new piece of funding that will help pay. Basically, it'll pay for services and give us the money without having to charge high rent to be able to afford to pay for things." 

 

The board approved the application.

 

In other business: 

 

  • The board approved a special permit for Walmart, which plans to expand its current store at 1415 Curran Highway by 8,150 square feet. The extra space will aid the store's online pickup operations and will be at the northwest corner of the existing store.  

 

"This entire expansion area is solely to support the pickup operation, so it's not additional sales floor. People can't shop within that area," said James Cranston of Bohler Engineering. 

 

Cranston said 45 spaces should be relined and dedicated to pickup, making them slightly wider than other spaces in the lot. Additionally, the building's facade will also receive a slight upgrade along with the expansion work. 

 

The project has already received approval from the Conservation Commission. 

 

  • The board approved a special permit for ALC Addiction Treatment Services for internal repairs and repainting at 218 Ashland Street. The work will not alter the exterior of the structure. CEO Paul Supranowicz said ALC would simply be moving from its current location across the street, at 195 Ashland Street. 

 

"It's a little bit larger than the space we're currently leasing across the street," he said. "It's about another thousand square feet larger, which will give us a little bit more room.

 

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