A new developer is racing to convert Great Barrington’s former retirement home into rental apartments. The building is ready for the permit | South Berkshires

Conversion of a retirement home in the UK

Great Barrington has approved the conversion of the former Great Barrington Nursing and Rehabilitation Center into 30 rental apartments. A new developer has entered the scene.

GREAT BARRINGTON — A shuttered retirement home could finally add apartments to a city desperate for new rentals and seeking solutions to a housing crisis.

Charles Goldman, of Property Pros, LLC, plans to purchase the former Great Barrington Skilled Care and Rehabilitation Center on Maple Avenue/Route 23. The property went under contract Wednesday.

The 29,176-square-foot Colonial-style structure, listed by Stone House Properties for $1.2 million, already has planning permission as well as design plans for a 30-unit renovation from another developer’s attempt to redevelop the building last fall.

These plans included expanding the building to 38,922 square feet, creating a gym, a public garden, and a dog grooming station. Half of the property’s 4.1 acres are woods.

The Planning Board had unanimously approved this permit last year, and the Select Board had supported it.

Great Barrington approves conversion of nursing home into apartments; neighbors are worried

That developer, Jon Halpern, decided to scrap the project due to the pandemic and other reasons, he previously said. Richard Aldrich, the listing agent for Stone House, said he believed Goldman, which is based in eastern Massachusetts, was considering building apartments using Halpern’s plans.

“For anyone who wants to change those plans and do something else, it’s a two-year process,” he said.

Goldman could not immediately be reached for comment.

Great Barrington approved these plans by developer Jon Halpern, who pulled out of the project. A new developer buys the building and plans to build the complex.

One of the conditions of the permit is that the units cannot be rented for less than 30 days.

Nearby residents fought the scheme on the grounds that it would change the character of the area and increase traffic, although a study by a traffic engineer found it would generate less traffic than the care home nurses at full capacity.

The council had previously proposed to change the city’s zoning bylaws to allow for the conversion of nursing homes into housing. City voters approved this bylaw change in 2020.

The property is owned by Bear Mountain, a Connecticut-based healthcare provider that also owns Timberlyn Heights Nursing and Rehabilitation just down Highway 23 to the west. It closed the facility in early 2020.

Newly built housing is particularly hard to find in the Berkshires.

A report released on Wednesday said “The difficult housing situation in Berkshire County is the result of decades of inadequate housing production, coupled with deferred maintenance of existing housing stock and complicated or outdated state and local regulations. “.

The report, from a task force sponsored by the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission and 1Berkshire, says only 1,501 new homes across the county have been built in the past 10 years.

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