RESTORED KINNELL KRESGE FACADE
The Kinnell Kresge building was built in 1918 as a joint development by Dr. George K. Kinnell, a local veterinarian, and the S.S. Kresge chain of 5-10 cent stores is an important contributing structure within the Park Square Historic District. With its distinctive glazed terra cotta tile facade it is a major feature to downtown Pittsfield's North Street. The ornate white glazed terra cotta tile and brick was designed by Joseph McArthur Vance (1868-1948) based on a similar facade on the S.S. Kresge Company Headquarters building in Detroit, Michigan. The Kinnell Kresge building functioned as the Kresge department store as the primary retail tenant for many years, while professional offices were offered for rent on the upper floors.
Consisting of more than 1,700 individual terra cotta tiles, the restoration work involved the inventory and removal of each individual tile 48% of which were restored, cleaned and re-set, mixed in with 920 new tiles. The façade is also full of terra cotta details like lion heads, egg-and-dart ornamental trim, floral swags, and signage. In addition to the terra cotta restoration the Kinnell Kresge buildings also had a complete restoration of the existing wood center pivot windows, historic replica storefronts, and period appropriate sign boards. The building opened to the public on November 20, 2009.
At the project's unveiling, former Mayor Ruberto stated, "This facade is an important part of the historic fabric of downtown Pittsfield. It is exciting to see this building restored to its original glory and reemerging as an important destination for hundreds of thousands of people in downtown Pittsfield."
Jack Waite, Principal of John G. Waite Associates, Architects PLLC stated that, “The restoration and revitalization of the Kinnel-Kresge Building is an outstanding adaptive use project because it exemplifies what can be done when the public and private sectors work together to preserve a significant historic building for a badly needed new use. This remarkable restoration effort promises to breathe new life into downtown Pittsfield by providing and economic cornerstone that will help attract other business to the area.”
Overall, the building contains a state of the art cinema with 6 theaters and 20,000 square feet of restaurant, retail and office space. Richard Stanley of North Street Cinema, LLC stated, “As I watched this painstaking restoration process, I was impressed by the process and overwhelmed with the beauty of the result. I cannot say enough positive things about how the City has managed this process!!”
Funding for the façade restoration of the Kinnell Kresge building was provided through a Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development’s Community Development Action Grant and an Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development’s Growth District Initiatives Grant. The project was facilitated by the granting of a façade easement by the building owner to the City of Pittsfield.