CT Management Group, LLC (CTMG), in conjunction with the support of the City of Pittsfield, is pleased to announce the pending acquisition of the St. Mary the Morning Star Church property on Tyler Street, which will be slated for redevelopment into market-rate housing.
Developer Dave Carver, of CTMG, and Mayor Linda Tyer held a joint press conference to deliver the announcement inside the church Thursday morning. The development proposal, which received acquisition funding support from MassDevelopment, involves the creation of 29 units of market rate rental housing in all four buildings which include the rectory, convent, school, and the church.
“We are very fortunate and extremely grateful that the development concept has the support of the City of Pittsfield, Mass Development, the TDI program, the Tyler Street business group, and Friends of St. Mary’s,” Carver said. “We hope support from the neighborhood will grow as we proceed with the permitting process with the City of Pittsfield. The city and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are supporting redevelopment on Tyler Street through a variety of programs and this announcement would not be possible without the support they have provided to date.”
“The City of Pittsfield’s Tyler Street District is a vibrant example of how, through public-private partnership, the Transformative Development Initiative can revitalize a neighborhood,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Lauren Liss. “By providing this loan and our TDI assistance, MassDevelopment is pleased to support the city and David Carver as they write the next chapter for the St. Mary property, a key and beloved site in the heart of the district.”
Mayor Tyer said the project reflected an important and exciting next phase for the Morningside community and the city overall.
“I am absolutely thrilled to know that one of our city’s most cherished and beautiful landmarks will have a new lease on life through its conversion to market-rate housing. We know that this development will meet an ever-growing need for this kind of housing, but moreover, we know the revitalized property will add to the vibrant energy and enthusiasm that’s already a part of Tyler Street,” Tyer said. “The city recognizes the significance of this investment and wanted to support the advancement of this major development through our available resources.”
The city extended the Housing Development Incentive Program (HDIP) district earlier in July 2017 to facilitate the redevelopment of the property. The amended HDIP zone begins at the corner of Seymour and Wahconah streets proceeding east along Wahconah Street to Tyler Street, and east along Tyler Street to the intersection of Tyler Street and Woodlawn Avenue; the amended zone mirrors the boundaries of the city’s existing Tyler Street TDI district.
It’s also anticipated that a proposal for a Tax Increment Exemption Agreement will be brought forth to the City Council in early January.
To date, the city has facilitated the development of three market-rate housing projects through the HDIP program: the Holy Family/Powerhouse Lofts, the Howard and Onota buildings.
Diane Marcella, president, of the Tyler Street Business Group, said the redevelopment would have a major impact on the area.
“It will be a catalyst for new business, no doubt about that,” she said. “This project is a labor of love and we are so thankful that we have people like David in our community to make something like this happen.
For several years the St. Mary’s property was under contract to Cafua Management, a company located on the eastern part of Massachusetts. The company’s plans included demolishing some or all of the buildings to build a Dunkin Donuts. Carver says that when that proposal was abandoned last year in favor of another site, CTMG, which has offices in Pittsfield and North Adams, started a dialogue with the diocese to acquire the property.
“Over the past year, while our proposal and timelines were being considered by the diocese, other offers and expressions interest appeared but never materialized paving the way for the acquisition by CTMG this week,” Carver notes.
He said acquisition of the property is only the first step for this expansive project. “The largest hurdles will be assembling financing for a design that will deliver high-quality housing at affordable prices for local residents,” he said.
Carver notes that there will be very few exterior changes to the buildings and the parking areas will remain unchanged from their current locations. The buildings, which are closely situated to one another, will be connected by sidewalks and stairways creating a campus-like setting. Preliminary floor plans reflect a wide spectrum of bedroom sizes and configurations. Additionally, plans for spaces throughout the property include that of a fitness center, gathering spaces, and storage areas.
The property, he said, provides significant inspiration in respect to the design.
“We are very fortunate to have located all the original drawings for the property which confirm that they were all built between 1912 and 1954. These drawings, plus an inspection of the buildings, indicate that they are all structurally sound and highly worthy of renovation for residential use,” Carver said.
They represent high-quality architecture, especially the grand Italianate church building. The historic and cultural significance is also extremely significant to their neighborhood. The growth and prosperity of the neighborhood can be traced through the progression of new buildings built on the site over this period.”
All of this is good news for the group, Friends of St. Mary, which advocated in support of keeping the building intact, said Darcie Sosa, who spearheaded the preservation campaign.
“It was always part of the Friends of Saint Mary's ad hoc committee’s mission to not only save the church and adjoining buildings from demolition, but to also assist in finding a developer that wanted to re-purpose the buildings and contribute to the Morningside neighborhood,” Sosa said. Our committee is so grateful that an individual like Mr. Carver took an interest in the Saint Mary’s campus. We know with his history of repurposing historic buildings in the Berkshires, he will bring life back to such a beautiful group of buildings and add to the much anticipated streetscaping of Tyler Street."
For more information, please call Craig Barnum, CTMG, 413-358-3238 or Roberta McCulloch-Dews, Director of Administrative Services, Mayor’s Office, 413-499-9322.