Amherst developer buys Knights of Columbus properties

  • The Rev. Joseph Quigley Hall, a portion of what had been Knights of Columbus-owned properties in Amherst center. STAFF PHOTO/Scott Merzbach

Staff Writer
Published: 9/26/2018 2:31:18 PM

AMHERST — A prominent Amherst developer has acquired the Knights of Columbus properties in Amherst center, including buildings that house a bar, a typewriter store and a banquet hall.

Barry Roberts, as 37 North Pleasant Street LLC, recently paid $1.29 million to the Amherst Knights Of Columbus Home Association to buy the properties that are appraised by the town at a combined $1.11 million.

McMurphy’s Uptown Tavern at 41 North Pleasant and Amherst Typewriter and Computer Service at 37 North Pleasant occupy the street level spaces between Antonio’s and Judie’s restaurants, with additional space above them in small, two-story buildings. The space above McMurphy’s was most recently the home of the Amherst Boys & Girls Club before it moved to Cottage Street over the summer.

Immediately behind the other buildings and facing the Boltwood parking garage and next to the five-story Boltwood Place, is the Rev. J. Joseph Quigley Hall, a banquet facility the Knights built a decade ago at 45 Boltwood Walk. It is named after the longtime priest at the Newman Center at the University of Massachusetts.

A sale of the buildings by the Amherst Council 1619 had long been rumored, but only took place earlier this month. The Knights, which in 2012 celebrated its centennial of service and fellowship for the Catholic communities of Amherst and Hadley, now meets at Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Hadley.

Roberts could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

Amherst Business Improvement Director Sarah la Cour said the Knights property is a prime though underutilized spot in the commercial district that likely has development potential.

Pointing to other Roberts projects, including the Amherst Cinema Arts Building and AmherstWorks in the old First National Bank building, la Cour said she anticipates that Roberts will have a good plan for the properties.

“Barry’s track record is really good development for the community,” la Cour said.

Assessor David Burgess said the town currently only collects taxes on the North Pleasant buildings because they are rented to commercial entities. Because the banquet hall until now has only been used by the fraternal organization, it is tax exempt. With Roberts owning all the properties and possibly turning the banquet hall into some commercial use, Burgess said everything will be taxable beginning in 2020.

The sales price was around what Burgess anticipated it would be. “That seems to be about right,” he said.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at

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