Construction on multi-use Turners Falls building planned to start in summer

  • The vacant building at 38 Avenue A will be torn down and replaced with a four-story building featuring retail storefronts on the first floor, medical offices on the second and third floors, and apartments on the fourth floor. Construction is expected to start this summer. STAFF PHOTO/MAX MARCUS

Staff Writer
Published: 2/24/2020 4:44:30 PM

TURNERS FALLS — Construction is expected to begin this summer on the first new building in downtown Turners Falls since the 1950s, at 38 Avenue A. The developer and involved town officials expect construction to take a year.

The plan is for a four-story building, with retail storefronts on the first floor, medical offices on the second and third floors, and apartments on the fourth floor, said Sohail Waien, the doctor at New England Wound Care, who is coordinating the project.

For now, the property is owned by the Montague Economic Development and Industrial Corporation, a Town Hall organization similar to Greenfield’s Redevelopment Authority. This past summer, the town opened the property for development proposals, and in October accepted New England Wound Care’s plan.

Earlier this month, the Economic Development and Industrial Corporation approved Town Planner Walter Ramsey to begin drafting a purchase and sale agreement for the property. The sale price will likely be $1, Ramsey said, as a nominal fee. The town’s financial interest in the project is not the sale price, but in the tax revenue and in the overall increase to foot traffic that the new building is expected to generate, he said.

In the meantime, Waien said he expects to have design drawings and cost estimates in the next four to six weeks.

The concept of the building has not changed since it was first discussed in October, but details that were previously uncertain have begun to solidify, such as the uses of each floor and the timeline for construction.

In its appearance, the goal for the building is to be “architecturally relevant and respectful of the town’s history,” Waien said. The exterior will mostly copy the appearance of the Grand Trunk Hotel, which was on the property until it was torn down in the 1960s. The finer details of the building will copy the style of surrounding buildings, Waien said. He described the inside as similar in style to a mill building.

Parking requirements, according to Ramsey, will be tied to the number of residential units, which Waien now expects to be seven apartments. Ramsey noted that while the required number of spaces will be lower than it would have been with multiple floors of apartments, the demand will be greater due to the two floors’ worth of offices. Waien said that the building’s policy will encourage employees to use the public parking that is within walking distance of the property.

Ramsey has described this project as the first downtown-style building since the 1950s. Although there have been other construction projects in Turners Falls since then, like the Greenfield Savings Bank on Avenue A, he said there has not been a mixed-use building like this one.

Reach Max Marcus at mmarcus@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 261.


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