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Pittsfield Hotel On Pace For May Opening

Credit Jim Levulis / WAMC
A group of community leaders and media toured the Hotel on North construction Thursday.

Community leaders and members of the media toured the Hotel on North construction in downtown Pittsfield, Massachusetts Thursday.The sounds of construction ring throughout the floors of the $14 million project bringing 45 boutique hotel rooms to downtown Pittsfield. Owner Laurie Tierney says conference areas, retail space, ballroom and the spa will maintain the building’s 19th-century features.

“The wood floors will all be maintained if possible, we’ll be sanding them down,” Tierney said. “Keeping all the original brick. The main social spaces will have tin ceilings. They won’t be the original tin ceilings because unfortunately they’re not in good shape, but we will be putting the tin ceilings up so that it’ll look like it did many years ago.”

Each room is going to be unique in its own way, with different configurations, sizes and appearances because of the layout of the old clothing store and office supplier interspersed with wooden columns. One room even features a rolling library ladder rising to book shelves and cubby space.

“It’s just a gorgeous room with a tall, tall windows and the shelving on the sides, so we decided to maintain this and make this the ‘library suite,’” said Tierney.

Three extended-stay rooms will offer a kitchenette, seating area and large bathroom. State Senator Ben Downing says the hotel can be a real gem for downtown Pittsfield.

“You see how it leverages the assets that we already have in Barrington Stage Company, the Colonial Theatre, the Berkshire Museum and all of those arts organizations that are drawing people to this area,” Downing said. “This is about making sure they don’t just show up for a day, making sure they show for a weekend, a week.”

The four-floor hotel will be managed by Main Street Hospitality Group, operators of Stockbridge’s Red Lion Inn, North Adams’ Porches Inn and The Williams Inn in Williamstown. Tierney says a subsidiary of Main Street is expected to run the restaurant. Two restaurants on the first floor, Spice Dragon and MadJack’s BBQ, shut down this summer as demolition and construction began.

David Tierney, Laurie’s husband, serves as project contractor. He says there is a focus on open social and working spaces using a three-story skylight to brighten the common areas in contrast to the private rooms.

“It’s going to shed some light down onto this floor, which once you get all the walls up, it’s going to be very dark in here,” Tierney said. “So we’re trying to bring natural light, to be light and airy versus cozy and warm.”

An existing ballroom and other large areas are designed for conferences and events of up to 100 people, space Berkshire Chamber of Commerce President Jonathan Butler says is a consistently cited need in the region.

“A good percentage of visitors to Berkshires are drawn from the urban New York and Boston regions and this diversifies the lodging options that they have here,” Butler said. “Where they can actually stay on North St. in downtown Pittsfield in a boutique setting, where you can look out the window and see a vibrant downtown street and you can look a little further into the horizon and see a ski area.”

At the peak of construction, the project employs about 80 people. The bar and restaurant are expected to open in March with the hotel following in May, employing 50 to 70 people. The project is financed by MountainOne Bank along with state and federal historic tax credits. Laurie Tierney hopes a revitalization effort will spread through the community and liven up the city.

“We’re hoping not to shut down Pittsfield at 10 o’clock at night,” said Tierney.

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