19th-century Singley’s building comes down

  • The Singley Building on the corner of Bridge Street and Deerfield Avenue in Shelburne Falls is being prepared to be demolished. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

  • An excavator takes a bite out of the former Singley Building in Shelburne Falls on the corner of Bridge Street and Deefield Avenue on Monday. recorder staff/Paul Franz

  • The Singley building has been razed in Shelburne Falls. March 20, 2018 Recorder Staff/Paul Franz—Paul Franz

  • The Singley building has been razed in Shelburne Falls, Tuesday. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

Recorder Staff
Tuesday, April 03, 2018

SHELBURNE FALLS — The former Singley’s Furniture building on Bridge Street, which was too damaged for renovation, was taken down on Monday and Tuesday this week.

And plans to replace the building with a mixed-use complex of retail shops and apartments have been put on hold for now, says co-owner Josh Simpson.

“All our funding plans from last year fell through,” said Simpson. “It would be nice if, some day, we could build the building. But we can’t see our way for the next few years.”

“It will be an empty lot, or maybe it will be turned into a green space,” he said. Simpson, a glass-making artist, is one of four co-owners who bought the property at auction in 2014. He said the owners had applied for a low-interest state loan to replace the crumbling structure with a building that would house first-floor shops and five upstairs apartments. But the loan was declined, he said, because the state didn’t believe the new building would be profitable enough.

Without the money to rebuild, the owners still felt now was a good time to take the old structure down.

“We don’t know what to do with the lot. But we’re all very optimistic: It’s in the center of downtown Shelburne Falls,” he said. “It’s a beautiful spot for something.”

For 67 years, furniture was sold there, but before that, the building complex — built between 1870 to 1900 — also contained boarding rooms, a variety store and second-hand antiques store.

The building was put up for auction in 2014, after the third generation of Singleys running the furniture store decided to retire. Simpson, his wife Cady Coleman, and Susan and Jon Stark bought the property for $140,000. Initially, they were going to renovate the old building, until they learned the building had too many structural problems.