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Old ice cream factory in Northampton torn down, new house planned

Tearing down the old Ice Cream factory on Prospect in Northampton. 

CAROL LOLLIS

Tearing down the old Ice Cream factory on Prospect in Northampton. CAROL LOLLIS Purchase photo reprints »

— A former ice cream factory across from the YMCA on Prospect Street is being demolished this week to make way for construction of a single-family home, but a smaller building on the site that used to house a restaurant will remain.

The site has been one of the most sought-after parcels in Northampton since it went on the market after Marge’s Kitchen closed in 2007, with no less than a dozen proposals coming before the city. Most of those were turned down for zoning reasons.

“We’ve had more proposals for that parcel than any other parcel in town,” said Louis Hasbrouck, the city’s building commissioner.

Ricky Greenwald of Northampton bought the property at 285 Prospect St. a couple of years ago from a bank for $155,000 and is building the new two-story, 4,000-square-foot home for his young family. The new house will be attached to the former restaurant building at 287 Prospect St.

Greenwald, a psychologist, said he may use the smaller building as a home office. Home businesses are allowed in residential zones.

Greenwald had hoped to restore the old ice cream building, but it was too expensive to save.

“It’s sad to see the ugliest property in town get demolished,” he joked.

The site at the corner of Prospect and Murphy Terrace had been occupied for years by the Calvin Ice Cream Co., which closed in the late 1970s. The larger factory building had fallen into disrepair in recent years, but for a time housed apartments.

The smaller building has housed many restaurants over the years, most recently Marge’s Kitchen, a 24-seat eatery that closed five years ago, and earlier CK’s Cafe.

The buildings on the site, which had been owned by the family of the late Earl Rolland, went into foreclosure in 2009.

Forrest Devine, owner of Devine Construction Inc. of Granville, began demolishing the old ice cream building this week. Greenwald said the home is expected to be completed by the end of winter.

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