U.S. Dept. of Agriculture to move offices in Greenfield 

The former Center School in on Montague City Road in Greenfield.

The former Center School in on Montague City Road in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

David Zaccheo is renovating the Marion Bliss Finer Building at the former Center School in Greenfield to house offices. The U.S. Department of Agriculture will be one of the tenants.

David Zaccheo is renovating the Marion Bliss Finer Building at the former Center School in Greenfield to house offices. The U.S. Department of Agriculture will be one of the tenants. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

One of the larger spaces in the Marion Bliss Finer Building at the former Center School in Greenfield.

One of the larger spaces in the Marion Bliss Finer Building at the former Center School in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

David Zaccheo is renovating the Marion Bliss Finer Building at the former Center School in Greenfield to house offices. The U.S. Department of Agriculture will be one of the tenants.

David Zaccheo is renovating the Marion Bliss Finer Building at the former Center School in Greenfield to house offices. The U.S. Department of Agriculture will be one of the tenants. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

By MARY BYRNE

Staff Writer

Published: 10-16-2023 4:54 PM

GREENFIELD — The U.S. Department of Agriculture offices on Federal Street will relocate early next year to one of the buildings formerly occupied by the Greenfield Center School on Montague City Road.

“I think it’s going to be a great spot to meet with producers and landowners, to educate them on USDA programs that are available,” said James Newland, county executive director for the USDA Farm Service Agency. “It’s going to be a great space.”

Newland said the relocation comes as part of a standard leasing process at the national level, wherein the USDA is required to go out to bid for new contracts after a certain number of years.

He explained that the existing office on Federal Street houses two agencies within the USDA — the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Farm Service Agency — with between five and six employees between them at any given time.

The USDA will occupy about 3,600 square feet of the Marion Bliss Finer Building, according to property owner and Greenfield resident David Zaccheo. The occupants of the remaining 4,400 square feet of the building are still to be determined.

Zaccheo is working on the project with his brother Mark, who has completed several successful renovations locally, including turning the former Montague Center School into 22 apartments. Zaccheo said plans to renovate the interior of the Marion Bliss Finer Building into professional offices include a new conference room and break room, as well as a new heating system. The overall footprint of the building, however, will not change.

There will also be site improvements, including new parking and lighting, as well as improvements to the landscaping. All the necessary approvals are in place, including a special permit.

“We’re excited to bring a little more energy to this stretch of Montague City Road,” he said. “I think the tenant is a really good fit. … [The site] was an old farm, and it kind of feels well-suited to the USDA, which is devoted to promoting agriculture in the county.”

Apartment construction to begin following office build-out

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The main building on the property, meanwhile, will be rehabilitated and converted into 13 market-rate apartments, with a mix of studios and one-bedrooms, as well as a singular two-bedroom unit, according to Zaccheo.

With a tenant secured for the Marion Bliss Finer Building, construction on that building takes priority, he noted.

The apartment building will “begin in earnest” likely in November, he said, with construction teams transitioning between the two projects.

“They’ll work in tandem, but the offices will be finished in advance of the apartments,” Zaccheo said.

He anticipates he’ll be ready to show apartments by August 2024, with units ready to rent by September 2024.

Reporter Mary Byrne can be reached at mbyrne@recorder.com or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne.