Shaw’s Motel property in Northampton bought for $750,000

Wednesday, July 22, 2015
NORTHAMPTON — A Hampden County businessman has purchased the Shaw’s Motel property on the corner of Bridge Street and Pomeroy Terrace for $750,000, five years after the last renter left and it went on the market.

Matthew Campagnari purchased the two adjacent parcels on July 2 under the corporate name Winterberry LLC with offices at 128 Federal St. in Springfield, according to property records. The properties include the condemned motel at 87-89 Bridge St. and two houses at 3 and 5 Pomeroy Terrace.

Attempts to contact Campagnari were unsuccessful, but city officials said he has been inquiring about residential zoning changes enacted last fall that will allow him to build up to 12 units on the property.

“It’s good news. We look forward to seeing what’s proposed,” said Carolyn Misch, senior land use planner for the Office of Planning and Sustainability. “The neighborhood, the city, people have been waiting to see the property taken on and have new life brought into it.”

Misch described the 1900 building as an eyesore. Josephine and Donald Shaw bought the two-story building in 1949 and opened Shaw’s Motel in 1951, according to Gazette archives. Josephine Shaw rented many of the 20 rooms to those who were down on their luck or suffering from mental illness into the 1990s, and had a few tenants left up until her retirement in 2010. She transferred the property to her son, Donald M. Shaw of Hatfield, and it has been on the market ever since.

Building Commissioner Louis Hasbrouck condemned the vacant building in 2012, and a mysterious fire in 2013 caused $25,000 in damage to it. Hasbrouck said Monday that the house at 3 Pomeroy Terrace is in decent structural shape, but he has not been in the house at 5 Pomeroy Terrace. In total, the two parcels with three buildings have an assessed value of $876,600, according to city records.

Hasbrouck and Misch said Campagnari spoke with their offices at least a few months ago, but did not reveal much about his plans for the property. “It’s residentially zoned, so that’s likely what it would be, but it does allow for mixed use by a special permit,” Misch said.

Any multifamily development with seven or more units will require a special permit from the Planning Board, she added.

It’s a good bet Campagnari will be demolishing at least the old motel building, she said. “From what I understand, it’s not financially viable to renovate it,” Misch said.

Hasbrouck said Campagnari had a lot of questions about the residential zoning changes, but did not volunteer information about his plans, including how many units he hoped to build and whether they would be rental units or owner-occupied.

The City Council in November voted on changes to zoning rules for two areas of the city, including the area where Shaw’s Motel sits. The council set new design criteria for projects of seven or more units, requiring all such projects to seek a special permit from the Planning Board.

It also allowed for increased density — something that worried many residents of Ward 3, where Shaw’s Motel is located. The change meant the maximum number of units that would be allowed on the Shaw’s property would double from six to 12, Hasbrouck said.

Campagnari, 49, is a licensed electrician and part-owner of Campagnari Construction LLC and Campagnari & Moltenbrey Construction LLC, according to corporate documents filed with the state.

Donald Shaw was represented in the sale of the Northampton property by Anthony Ardolino, who served as chief of staff for former Springfield mayor Michael J. Albano from 1996 to 2001. Ardolino confirmed in a brief phone conversation Monday that he represented Donald Shaw in the sale of the property, but did not provide additional details.

Campagnari and Ardolino were co-defendants in a federal tax fraud case that landed them both in federal prison in 2007, according to federal court records.

Campagnari formerly owned several bars in Springfield in the 1990s and 2000s. Court records show he was sentenced to 18 months in state prison in 2007 after admitting to charges related to a tax fraud scheme involving unreported income and paying bar employees under the table.

Brothers Anthony and Chester Ardolino of Springfield also pleaded guilty, admitting they were his hidden partners in the businesses, and each received one-year prison sentences.

Rebecca Everett can be reached at reverett@gazettenet.com.