The building dates back to 1906, when it was constructed by the Berkshire Railway System to host a steam boiler and large electrical generators to power trolley cars. But, by 1910, the building had become too small and the railroad built new on East Street. In 1924, the Polish community petitioned the Catholic Diocese of Springfield for their own church and the building was converted.
It was closed in 2008 along with two other Pittsfield churches when the diocese consolidated. It has been vacant the last decade until CT Management purchased it last year.
"We're going to do 10 really nice, modern, unique, residences. They are not traditional built-for-the-masses residences. These are going to have all the utility and modern elements but have the uniqueness of space that you can't find anywhere else," said Craig Barnum of CT Management Group in December when describing the project.
"There are extremely high ceilings in a lot of these units that have beautiful barrel arches. We've maintained a lot of the interior integrity in the molding. The windows are extremely cool."
Many of the details of the former church were kept.
The building features a large four-bedroom unit and several one-bedrooms in the main sanctuary area. It is now two floors. The developers kept the high, arched ceilings, and built the units around the existing architecture. Barnum said the company attempted to preserve as much of the original building as possible -- including using church pews as trimming around windows.
The company opened the building up on Thursday to former parishioners of Holy Family so they could see the changes. Barnum said the units are being leased to a mixed demographic -- from young working professionals to retirees to families.
Plans for the $1.8 million project began in 2016, when the city approved a tax incremental financing package for the company. CT Management said retrofitting such a building is more expensive than constructing new apartments and the city's assistance essentially helps keep the rents aligned with what the market can bear. Otherwise, the building could still be vacant.
The Berkshires has numerous vacant church properties. Some of them have seen the wrecking ball, like St. Francis of Assisi in North Adams, while others are being re-used. CT Management has particularly picked up its focus on saving the historic buildings and what is now called "Powerhouse Lofts" is just the latest.
The city has been particularly interested in getting more market-rate housing in its downtown area. In recent years, there has been an increased demand and a number of projects have been completed bringing those units to market.
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