Wed 4 Mar 2009
Mixed news on the Williamstown development front. First, the good news: the long awaited Hopkins Furniture Store renovation addition is finally about to get trucking. This is fantastic news for the other merchants on lower Spring Street, as the area will now have another anchor building to match Tunnel City across the street, and any sort of positive development news in this economic climate is very welcome. The bad news: no mention of the Purple Pub. This building was supposed to hold both a Subway (mooted by a Subway coming to the former LisAsia space on Spring Street — and for the love of God, can they PLEASE go easy on the yellows especially on the exterior) and an expanded Pub. I assume that the Pub is no longer reopening (or at least it is questionable), based on the fact that the restaurant space is still available? That is terrible news — a true Williams institution. I can only imagine that after being closed for two years, and in the current capital crunch, the Pub couldn’t gather the resources for a build out? I hope some intrepid alum with fond memories of Fridays in the Pub provides financing, if that is indeed the obstacle. Back to good news from this article — the burnt-out shell of the former Subway building is being demolished. This building was always an eyesore even before it was boarded up, and having a one-story building in the heart of Spring Street — especially one with no historical or aesthetic value — was always a major missed opportunity. Making this a green patch in the short run will be a major improvement, and hopefully, once the economy picks up, this can be developed to provide more prime commercial space as well as Spring Street apartments or offices.
Anyone know if the Cable Mills project is still on track despite the economy? Water Street badly needs its own economic anchor, and Williamstown needs more housing, so this project is a win/win — turning an abandoned property into a high volume of very desirable housing without spoiling any of the Williamstown natural landscape, while providing an economic engine for oft-neglected Water Street businesses in the form of an exapanded proximate customer base.
One other bit of bad news, alas — the Photech Mill project near Cole Field — another win-win that was going to turn an abandoned, formerly contaminated property into a senior assisted living facility — now appears to be dead. No huge surprise in this climate, but hopefully the town can find a replacement developer in the relatively near future, because as it stands this is an eyesore and a major waste of potentially productive space.
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