Spring St. building to be demolished

On Thursday, the Williamstown Historical Commission waived a demolition delay bylaw for 41 Spring Street.
The building has been unoccupied for about a year, according to Cheryl Shanks, professor of political science and member of the historical commission. The building was most recently home to Zanna, a women’s clothing store, on the first floor. In past years it also operated as off-campus housing for College students, colloquially referred to as the “Slippery B,” on its upper floors. The “Slippery B” was deemed unlivable following the 2007-08 academic year due to asbestos and damages. The building was first constructed in 1880.
Mark Paresky, whose father David Paresky ’60 donated the funds to build Paresky Student Center, owns the building on Spring Street. The Paresky family owns the majority of the east side of Spring Street, whereas the College owns most of the west side. Paresky was unavailable for comment by the time of print.
The Williamstown Historical Commission determined there was “nothing worth preserving about the building,” according to Williams Barkin, Williamstown assessor and chair of the commission. The commission was empowered to delay demolition for 90 days, but forewent that right given the decay of the building and its inability to be fully utilized, as it does not have a kitchen or sufficient plumbing.
“The town’s interests and Paresky’s interests coincide,” Shanks said. “Paresky wants as much rent-generating property as possible. The town also wants this because we need the taxes.”
The proposed reason for demolition listed in Paresky’s application to the Historical Commission is “to create open space on Spring Street.” There is discussion of potentially converting this open space into a complex, with retail storefronts on the ground level and residences upstairs.
Pending notification from the department of inspection services, Paresky will begin demolishing the building.

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