Hampshire Mosque in Amherst buys former Adventure Outfitters building on Route 9 in Hadley

Last modified: Thursday, May 08, 2014
HADLEY — A Route 9 building that most recently housed Adventure Outfitters has been sold to the Hampshire Mosque.

The 451 Russell St. building was recently purchased by Hampshire Mosque Inc. for $570,000 from Ruth Anderson-Zabre and Michael L. Zabre.

Naz Mohamed, a member of the mosque’s board, said in an email Thursday that while the mosque now owns the property, it’s not clear how the mosque will use it.

“We are still assessing the condition of the building and evaluating the possibilities for the space, and there are a lot of uncertainties,” she said.

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The mosque is among tenants at the Amherst Carriage Shops seeking new locations in light of the possible sale of the property. Archipelago Investments LLC of Amherst made a $4.6 million offer to purchase the downtown strip of shops and offices for a likely mixed-use redevelopment expected to include housing.

The Hadley building, which has a parking lot, is close to the Amherst line, adjacent to Friendly’s restaurant and directly across the street from the Campus Shopping Plaza. Built in 1968, the one-story building has 9,200 square feet of space, three rest rooms and a basement, according to its real estate listing. Wildwater and Adventure Outfitters had used the site from 1994 until Zabre retired and closed the store in early 2013.

In 2010, the Hampshire Mosque attempted to buy property at 264 Harkness Road, the former site of a poultry farm and the Christian school known as the Harkness Road High School. But both Amherst and Pelham residents raised objections about the increase in traffic the move to the site at the town line would bring, and the mosque eventually withdrew the plans it submitted to the Planning Board.

Prior to moving to downtown Amherst in 2006, the mosque operated for more than a year from the Echo Hill neighborhood.

The mosque previously explored sites in Hadley, but former Town Manager Larry Shaffer was among those who encouraged the mosque to try to remain in Amherst, as the central location of the Five College community.

“Amherst is a community that values its diversity,” Shaffer said at the time. “I personally think the town is well suited to accommodate a mosque.”

Another Amherst religious institution moved to Hadley in 2006, when the Wesley Methodist United Church constructed a new building at 98 North Maple St. to replace its longtime home at 365 North Pleasant St. in Amherst.