Fresh Vision

As reported recently in the Berkshire Eagle, “Front Yard LLC” (Amstar) has finally managed to attract a buyer for its distressed Elm Court property, for the exact amount of the promissory note (0% APR!) that had been held by Elm Court Realty LLC (Robert and Sonya Berle) since 2012: $8,000,000.

So ends the sad chapter of “cradle to grave” (their term, not ours) real estate speculators, and their ill-fated attempt to steamroll a neighborhood while bamboozling local boards with the tantalizing promise of joining a lucrative “world class wellness resort brand” that sounds like a spin-off from The White Lotus: Travaasa.

Where is Travaasa now? Maui, sold. Austin, sold. Berkshires, finally sold. Their tacky plan to attract investors for what was essentially a generic four-story motel using the disintegrating mansion as a Gilded Age fig leaf finally fades to black. It seems that sometimes you get the cradle, and sometimes the grave.

Now comes Linda Law, a new owner with a fresh & promising vision, an investor with experience in restoration and renovation (Blantyre), one who clearly treasures the historic character and cultural legacy of the Berkshires. She speaks of conducting extensive architectural research, and of a deeply felt duty of care. She also expresses the aspiration to recover “vibrancy,” and suggests a use that is “accretive to the community”. As a primary goal, she wants Elm Court to “shine a bright light globally, and be a beacon for Lenox, Stockbridge and the entire Berkshire region.”

Following the grim saga of Amstar, we welcome such a vivid and positive vision, and hope that she sees our neighborhood (her new neighbors) as potential sources of creativity, collaboration and support. Nobody cares about the distinctive character and rich history of Old Stockbridge Road more than the people who live here.

As for beacons of light during our deepening climate emergency, for further inspiration she may want to research the extraordinary non-profit Shelburne Farms, sited along the shores of Lake Champlain, once owned by a different set of heirs to the same Robber Baron fortune, and now the highly respected global leader in place-based, farm-based and sustainability education .

As relayed from their website:

Shelburne Farms is an education nonprofit on a mission to inspire and cultivate learning for a sustainable future. We believe that transformative learning experiences sow the seeds for a thriving and more just world. Our work seeks to create the space, spark the conversations, and share the stories to inspire educators, students, and learners of all ages to build a better future for everyone.

Sounds eminently “Berkshires” to us!