Bank rebuilding project picking up speed

  • The closed First National Bank is the building second from the left. FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 5/24/2019 11:41:12 PM

GREENFIELD — The First National Bank project is picking up some steam now that the state-funded architects have provided city officials with a cost to build their dreams.

An initial price tag of $5.8 million was presented this week to Greenfield Community and Economic Development Director MJ Adams and the city committee behind the drive to bring the First National Bank back into use as a multi-purpose events space for the arts.

The price tag is anything but permanent, and it may begin to change as soon as next week.

The Greenfield Redevelopment Authority, which owns the vacant and beleaguered Bank Row property, requested the architects to provide them with the cost of just getting the building up to code so it could open.

“What needs to happen upfront to get that first floor open,” Adams said to the architect. “That’s our approach.”

The city has a $3.5 million grant to fix the property.

City officials have shown the property to private investors when they expressed interest. A major issue cited to the officials is the high cost to get the building back to being functional.

John Lunt, with Friends of the First National Bank, cautioned the group that it’s most important to get the building open again.

“We have to think about what we can do with the cash we have,” Lunt said.

The group discussed pursuing a plan that priced the cost of opening the First National Bank in phases. Next week it may receive a price tag for the cost of getting the building up to code. Lunt said this is key to making sure the project to get off the ground.

The current price tag the state architects gave the redevelopment authority is $5.9 million with $4.7 million of it strictly from construction costs. The total number represents what the architects call “sticks and bricks.”

An additional half a million dollars is budgeted for design and about $117,000 for escalation costs, which are expected to rise more by the time this project could get underway.

The architects estimate the project would cost an additional $302,000 if built in three phases, but this assumes all three phases would be completed.

With a moratorium on gas from Berkshire Gas, following the fallout of the pipeline project, the officials at the meeting said they can not bank on having gas for this building and instead should focus on renewable energy sources.

“There’s no way they’re going to release the moratorium,” Lunt said about Berkshire Gas. “They have been intractable about this and I don’t see it changing here.”

The architects said two major structural issues with the building come from the span that holds up the new roof and the seismic bracing that holds up the wall in the case of an earthquake.

A catwalk is also being highly considered to ensure the space can be optimized for theatrical purposes.

The exterior facade could cost $890,000 to repair.

Between mechanical, electrical and fire protection needs, the building could require $1.5 million in work.

You can reach Joshua Solomon at:

jsolomon@recorder.com

413-772-0261, ext. 264


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