If you live in the Pioneer Valley and especially Easthampton, chances are you have visited the Old Town Hall for an exhibition, performance, community convening or — in its previous use — for a permit, marriage license or town meeting.

In 2006, CitySpace, a nonprofit 501c3, embarked on a mission to bring several of the arts organizations in Easthampton under one roof. CitySpace was fortunate enough to do this after the city purchased a newer building at 50 Payson Ave, leaving Old Town Hall empty. The city granted CitySpace a short lease, with the possibility of renewals if CitySpace successfully managed the first floor of Old Town Hall. The partnership between CitySpace and the City of Easthampton has been so successful (see some of our accomplishments) that twelve years later, CitySpace now has its sights set on restoring the 2nd floor hall into an accessible performing arts and community space.

Rendering by Kuhn Riddle Architects
Rendering by Kuhn Riddle Architects

Why is the Old Town Hall Transformation project important?

  1. Preserves and makes accessible an historic building in Easthampton’s Main Street Historic District
  2. Contributes to the economic and cultural vitality of Easthampton
  3. Fosters the performing arts in the Pioneer Valley

While tenants of the Old Town Hall, Flywheel, Easthampton City Arts, Big Red Frame and Elusie Gallery present programs year-round in Easthampton’s Old Town Hall, the beautiful second floor of the historic building remains unused. This project will transform the space while maintaining its historical integrity, creating a new flexible venue unlike any other in the region to enjoy performances, concerts, and community events.

Cityspace’s goals:

  • Make the 2nd floor accessible to the public
  • Make the Old Town Hall a destination for the performing arts
  • Maintain the historic Old Town Hall
Construction costs pie

Total project costs are approximately $6,000,000. Estimated inflation costs by 2021 increase the project costs to $6,602,724.

CitySpace worked with Kuhn Riddle Architects to create cost estimates for the total project costs.

View 2nd floor Project Construction Documents

View 2nd Floor Construction Estimates

FAQ

To support the project you can donate online or send your donation by mail to CitySpace, 43  Main Street, Easthampton, MA 01027. And thanks!

Yes, Easthampton’s Old Town Hall was built in 1869 and is located in the Main Street Historic District on the National Historic Register of Historic Places.

As CitySpace undertakes the restoration of the 2nd floor of the Old Town Hall we have planned for CitySpace’s next steps for management and programming. The space will function as an affordable rental performing arts and community space and CitySpace intends to hire full time and part-time staff members to manage and promote the space.

Parking is an important consideration for the future of CitySpace and the Main Street Historic District. Free street parking is available throughout downtown Easthampton. However that’s not enough. The organization anticipates working with the Easthampton city planner and a future coalition of downtown businesses to address the issue of parking availability and work towards constructive uses of unused parking lots during evening hours. If you are interested in attending a convening on parking on Main Street, please sign up for more information. We’ll let you know when it is happening!

The 2nd floor of the Old Town Hall is an open hall without beams and columns and will be usable in a variety formats. It will have a flexible stage and seating with state-of-the-art sound and theatrical lighting systems. The 300 – 400 person space will be an affordable alternative to some of the larger spaces in the region with options for community events and performance rehearsals.

In 2013, CitySpace organized a forum called The Future of Performing Arts in Easthampton. This convening was a catalyst to help bring CitySpace where it is today. A public outcome from the meeting was for CitySpace to manage the 2nd floor space and bring it back to life as an accessible and affordable performance space. Now that CitySpace is planning for those next steps, we organized “The Future of Performing Arts in Easthampton Part 2” in the early months of 2019. With about 75 attendees we connected with and gathered feedback from individuals and organization reprentatives  If you are interested in becoming a partner with CitySpace, please sign up for more information. We’ll let you know when it is happening!

CitySpace has secured a longterm lease with the City of Easthampton for the management of the Old Town Hall. This 44 year lease for a performing arts space was established by the State of Massachusetts in 2018. The 44-year lease allows for CitySpace to apply for historic tax credits to help fund the construction of the project.

No, it won’t raise your taxes. CitySpace is seeking funding from the Community Preservation Committee, state, federal, and corporate funding sources, foundations, historic tax credits and individual donations.

Easthampton adopted the Community Preservation Act in 2001. The CPA created 3% tax surcharge which generates revenue for projects addressing open space, affordable housing, historic preservation and recreation.

Federal Historic Tax Credits (HTC) was enacted in 1981 to encourage the preservation and adaptive reuse of historic and older buildings. The HTC program encourages private sector financing in the rehabilitation and re-use of historic buildings. The federal tax credit allows program participants to claim 20 percent of eligible improvement expenses against their federal tax liability. Developers of HTC projects typically use the tax credits to raise equity from private investors to help offset the costs of developing the project. Investors provide equity in exchange for the tax credits and other benefits over the life of the investment. The tax credits flow the year the project is placed in service. The equity investment helps to finance the historic renovations, reducing the debt burden on the tax credit property.

CitySpace leases the Old Town Hall from the City of Easthampton. CitySpace works in partnership with the city on restoration projects of the Old Town Hall.

Flywheel, Easthampton City Arts, and Big Red Frame lease space from CitySpace in the Old Town Hall.

The City of Easthampton #OurBuilding

Our timeline is subject to funding. Our estimated timeline to begin construction is the beginning of 2021.

We are working to bring Easthampton’s Old Town Hall Back to life because we want to:

  • Preserve this centrally located beautiful historic building
  • Make the Old Town Hall accessible to ALL people
  • Develop a hub that contributes to the economic and cultural vitality of Easthampton
  • Foster the performing arts in the Pioneer Valley.

Interested in helping us out? Sign-up and let us know you care about the Old Town Hall too!

Have more questions? Ask CitySpace!