Tonight I attended a Board of Selectmen meeting in Plainville, Massachusetts. I attended the meeting to hear an update on a building in Plainville that has many wonderful memories for the people of the town. Falk’s Market, with the address of 2 East Bacon Street, has been neglected for many years. The building was bought by Jeff Kinney, a resident of the town, and the author of the Wimpy Kid book series.
Mr. Kinney and his wife, Julie, made the following statement at the meeting:
Good evening, and thanks for giving us a forum to discuss the status of the development of 2 East Bacon Street in downtown Plainville.
It’s been several months since we last appeared before the Board of Selectmen, and although outward appearances suggest little is happening with the property, we’ve been actively working on the project since we last met.
Earlier this year we hired a development manager, Bob Nicodemus, who has 30 years of experience as an architect, and attorney Dave Simmons, who has worked on several key development projects in the area, including the Lowes on Route One and the Plainville Commons shopping area. We’ve also been working with local architects and engineers to study the property and have made significant progress.
We recently conducted a pro forma evaluation of the property to see what a business would require to thrive at 2 East Bacon. It became evident early on that for the site to host a sustainable business, it would need more parking capacity. This summer we made an offer to acquire 8 East Bacon, the lot adjacent to Falk’s Market, and we’re happy to report that earlier today, we closed on that property. Having additional parking will give the business that occupies 2 East Bacon a chance to succeed.
As we previously reported, we had the existing Falk’s Market structure analyzed by two engineers in the spring. Their shared opinion was that the building has serious and widespread structural problems, and demolition was recommended. This summer we had a formal architectural study conducted on the property, and the result was the same. The major components of the building–the floors, ceilings, structural support, foundation, and the entire outer envelope all need to be replaced. After months of studies and analysis we feel certain that the building, in its current state, cannot reasonably be saved.
Therefore, we’ve made the difficult decision to take Falk’s Market down. This decision was not made lightly. Over the course of the past year, we’ve spoken with dozens of people who have great memories of the building and its proprietor, Merrill Falk. We don’t relish the idea of taking down Falk’s Market, but we feel that it’s the only practical option given the state of the building. We’d like to ask everyone in Plainville to support and encourage us in our goal to construct a new building where town residents can come together and make memories for generations to come.
As we’ve stated from the beginning, our hope is to create an iconic symbol of the downtown that all Plainville residents can be proud of. We recently started working with local architects to draw up plans for a building that fits downtown Plainville’s character. We have several preliminary concepts completed but we want to continue exploring different options before sharing them with the community at large.
The timetable for taking the building down has not yet been set, but when we do begin the process, we’ll take great care to preserve those parts of Falk’s Market that can be reused or repurposed.
This month, we’ll be filing applications with the Board of Health, the Redevelopment Authority and the Zoning Board to accelerate the development of 2 East Bacon. We look forward to working with the town to bring this project to fruition.
Thanks for your time, and we’d be happy to answer any questions.
What a wonderful attitude this statement represents. There will be many tears because the building cannot be saved, but the respect in their statement for the history of the building and the history of Plainville is fantastic. It is my hope that every resident of Plainville will support the Kinneys as they move forward with their plans for Falk Market, and that even though we are losing a part of our past, we can be excited about our future. Thank you Jeff and Julie Kinney for your commitment to Plainville. We are blessed to have you as part of our town.