Developer of Great Barrington nursing home changes plans, will build condos instead of rentals | Southern Berkshires

GB nursing home conversion

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 picture.

GREAT BARRINGTON — A real estate investor and developer from the Boston area has decided to build condominiums at a former nursing home where rental apartments had been planned.

Charles Goldman, of Walpole-based, The Goldman Group, LLC, said the company will keep to the same general layout of 30 units as a previous developer who had received a town permit to build market-rate apartments here.

The company is closing on the property, which housed the former Great Barrington Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, in about two months, and will have to go through new permitting since the plans have changed, Goldman said.

If permits are in hand, construction will likely begin in September or October, and the complex will be completed by spring, he added.

Goldman said condos will preferably be priced above the market rate.

The projected cost of a one-bedroom would be around $300,000; $400,000 for a two-bedroom. A few three-bedrooms might also be part of the plan, as well as a fitness center and various other communal amenities. The plans, he said, are not finalized.

The nursing home building, owned by Bear Mountain, has sat vacant since mid-2020. The 29,176-square-foot structure is listed by Stone House Properties for $1.2 million.

The previous developer, Jon Halpern, had planned to increase the size to 38,922 square feet. He backed out due to the pandemic and other reasons.

The town is in the midst of a shortage of all types of housing, particularly affordable housing. A new report says that only 1,501 new housing units have been build in all of Berkshire County in the last 10 years.

Town Planner Christopher Rembold says the greatest need is for people making moderate incomes to lower incomes.

“The need at the bottom is endless,” he said.

But the town also wants to see its abandoned buildings reused.

Town voters approved changes to the bylaws proposed by the Planning Board in 2020 that would allow conversion of former nursing homes into housing.

When asked why he switched to building condos, Goldman said the numbers worked better.

“Great Barrington is unique and the Berkshires are unique in that it’s far from any metro area but the real estate market is so strong,” he said. “Condo and home prices are much higher than your average rural town.”

Goldman also said another reason to build condos is that managing rentals from afar is harder.

Great Barrington approves conversion of nursing home to apartments; neighbors worry

Neighbors last year pushed back on the previous proposal to build apartments at the former Great Barrington Rehabilitation and Skilled Care Center off Maple Avenue (Route 23), saying it would increase traffic change the neighborhood.

The Planning Board issued the permit regardless, after traffic studies and other analysis indicated this wouldn’t be the case.