Massachusetts Historical Commission - 2012 Preservation Award Winners
Five Downtown Greenfield Projects: Allen, Arms, Pond, and Siano Blocks and Franklin Savings Bank • Greenfield

Five Downtown Greenfield Projects: Allen, Arms, Pond, and Siano Blocks and Franklin Savings Bank • Greenfield

Adaptive Reuse, Rehabilitation & Restoration

The rehabilitation and restoration of these five buildings in the Main Street Historic District in downtown Greenfield represent a collaborative effort, spearheaded by two persistent developers who worked together to secure public and private funding. Prior to the project the Allen Block, a 3 ½-story Georgian structure built in 1827, had exhibited an alarming bulge in its exterior walls, and its third floor had been unoccupied for decades. The Arms Block, built in 1876 by coal dealer George Arms, who opened a hardware store there, had undergone several alterations that obscured its original storefront windows and interior brick arches. The Pond Block, a Panel Brick building dating to 1874, had suffered significant neglect and fire damage by the 1980s, and its first floor was vacant prior to the project. And the Siano Block, built in 1921, was a building that over the years suffered neglect and vacancy, numerous alterations, and a fire. The Classsical Revival-style Franklin Savings Bank, built in1911, retained an impressive amount of original fabric but had also been largely vacant in recent years.

The buildings required extensive rehabilitation, including stabilization, masonry repair and repointing, and removal of paint from rustic granite pilasters and lintels. Many windows were deteriorated, boarded-up, or filled in; these have been replaced with historically accurate wooden sash. Interior partitions and façade alterations were removed to reveal original layouts and storefront windows. Historic fabric such as cast-iron decorative frame posts, oversized timber roof trusses, painted signage, and marble paneling were restored. One of the most dramatic changes was the removal of a drop-ceiling from the interior of the Franklin Savings Bank, revealing a large skylight and decorative plasterwork. Most significantly, the rehabilitation and restoration of these buildings, which used state and federal historic rehabilitation tax credits, returned them all to full, active use. Among the occupants are several restaurants, a bookstore, art gallery and performance space, and, on upper floors, residential units. This is a model project demonstrating the cumulative impact that coordinated rehabilitation of smaller buildings can have on historic downtowns and Main Streets.

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