Category Archives: Linda Law

Something Stirring

Amidst ongoing speculation regarding the future use of Elm Court following the failure of the illusory “Travaasa” scheme to attract a single dollar of investment, and subsequent sale to Linda S. Law, we read the recent report in the Berkshire Edge with interest, particularly the closing paragraph:

“In the press release by Lefkowitz, she wrote that both Law and Peiser were considering opening a luxury resort. During their interview, however, both Law and Lefkowitz would not say what their plans for the property would be. “We have something stirring up that I think is going to happen, but I can’t talk about it yet,” Law said. “It is something that will be remarkable for the community. It’s something that is very special and no one else has thought of. I think that we don’t need another wellness and health spa, I can tell you that. Even though everyone wants to do health and wellness, we’ve got plenty in the community. We’re looking at some interesting alternatives. My background has always been in public-private partnerships, always. It has to make everyone happy. But of course, that never happens. But I want both sides happy, not just one.” Law added, ‘I think what we’re cooking up is going to be a killer.’ “

We agree that the last thing Lenox/Stockbridge needs is yet another luxury “wellness” resort, given that all of the existing options are operating way below capacity. The neighborhood would  wholeheartedly welcome and support the sort of creative public/private (and possibly non-profit?) use Ms. Law seems to be hinting at.

As we have noted before, there is precedent for such creative, transformative use of previous Gilded Age Vanderbilt mansions, north on Route 7: Shelburne Farms.


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!