Adams — During its meeting on December 14, the town’s Board of Selectmen unanimously approved a campground project for Greylock Glen proposed by the Shared Estates Asset Fund, a company based out of Lenox.
The property at the base of Mount Greylock has been owned by the state since the 1980s. The town was named the master developer for the property in 2006.
According to its LinkedIn page, the Shared Estates Asset Fund was founded in 2019 and is a developer and operator of carbon-neutral luxury vacation rental estates. The company owns and operates several vacation rental properties throughout Berkshire County.
The company’s plans for the Greylock Glen are to develop what will be tentatively known as the Greylock Glen Ecovillage, which will include 72 rental units. The rental units will include 35 cabins, 19 mirror houses, nine airstream units, and nine regular camping sites, which will all be built on 25 acres on a piece of land that is over 1,000 acres. “We chose the variety of buildings for the site to offer a wide range of accessibility depending on people’s budgets and what their preferences are,” company CEO Daniel Dus said in an interview with The Berkshire Edge.
The company is currently negotiating a lease with Adams and he expects the process to be completed within 30 days. “We’re hoping for a 50-year lease, with several 10-year extensions based on performance and cash flow,” Dus said. “We will be constructing very long-term infrastructure as part of this project.”
Dus said that the company is hoping to start construction on the project in late 2023 or early 2024. “During 2023, we will get site plans ready, and apply for building permits,” Dus said. “The total cost of the project will be around $13 to $15 million. The state and the town have already installed sewer and electricity at the project site, but we will have to bring them both to the units once they are built. That will be a pretty substantial construction effort. Also, we need to install a bridge on the site along with some roads. We’re anticipating around 14 months of construction activity on the site.” Dus added that the company plans on installing at least 19 prefabricated units on the site, which might cut down on the time for completion of the project.
He said that the company has not asked the town for any capital funding for the project. “But we may seek some type of state financing or public financing in the future,” Dus said. “The project is in an Opportunity Zone [as part of the town’s zoning codes], and that creates a great tax credit financing opportunity. Taking advantage of that should be very helpful from a tax and tax-investment perspective.”
Dus said that eventually, after the project is completed, the company will partner up with local professionals and organizations to provide a series of educational opportunities at the site. “We plan on having guided hikes on the trails, and other outdoor experiences to help educate people about wildlife in the Berkshires and other outdoor-focused education,” Dus said.
He said that the town and the state have already “done all the heavy lifting” when it comes to the property itself, including a full environmental wetlands review, completing a site plan, and millions of dollars of previous work. “The point of our project is to reduce taxpayer burden by creating cash flows to the conservation project [on the property] itself,” he said. “The state previously spent $3 million establishing the site master plan for The Greylock Glen, which included all the required studies. This is such an important economic development project for the town. They have all created a tremendous amount of value for the town. We can step into this as a private developer to help with creating a sort of public and private partnership that will create private cash flows to help support this amazing public resource.”
Dus said that the company intends to construct an “ecovillage” which is intended to have very little negative impact on the environment. “Our project will be carbon negative,” he said. “We will use solar energy on the site along with 100 percent renewable energy.”
He emphasized that the project, once completed, will not draw people away from local Main Street and town businesses. “One of our keys to success within our customer experience at our properties is that we connect all of our guests directly to the local economy, directly to professional service providers and local businesses,” he said. “We will provide information about local businesses to guests for them to access. It’s key to all of our projects, to be honest, because guests want this plethora of experience options or food options or shopping options and they’re on vacation and they want to enjoy their vacation. “