Mass MoCA campus grows by one building


NORTH ADAMS -- The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Arts has bought the former Brien Center building at 25 Marshall St.

Mass MoCA purchased the building late last month for $325,000 from Marshall Street Holdings LLC, according to documents filed at the Northern Berkshire Registry of Deeds.

"25 Marshall Street was once part of the collection of mill buildings that comprise our factory campus," Mass MoCA Director Joseph Thompson said in a statement Friday. "It's immediate adjacency, and its ‘keystone' position vis a vis the downtown business district could present interesting opportunities for further strengthening connections between Mass MoCA programs and audiences, and downtown North Adams.

"We look forward to working with the city to investigate and develop ideas for that over the coming months and years," he continued.

The 22,400-square-foot, red-brick building, built in 1920, is located at a busy intersection in the downtown on Route 8 near City Hall. The Brien Center moved to the former North Adams Transcript building at 124 American Legion Drive in June 2012.

The Marshall Street property was last sold at auction on Dec. 13, 2012, to Marshall Street Holdings LLC for $210,000 after years of ownership by Edith and John Leu.

The listing with Greylock Realty states the building has 81 rooms with 67 possible offices.

Mayor Richard J. Alcombright called the purchase "encouraging" and spoke of the continuing effort to connecting the museum with the downtown to spur economic development.

"Sometimes when people go to MoCA, they park, go to the museum, get in their cars, and leave," he said. "I think pushing the campus further south toward the end of Main Street is a wonderful thing."

The building is also an important piece of the corridor that extends from Mass MoCA to the Western Gateway Heritage State Park, he said. The latter is expected to redeveloped into "Greylock Market," a mixed-use artisans center.

Alcombright said talks with Greylock Market LLC, the for-profit development company made by a group of investors, are still ongoing.

"We're actively moving on that, and we hope to have something settled fairly soon," he said.

The museum's 13-acre campus of renovated 19th century factory buildings already consists of more than 200,000-square-feet in gallery space.

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