Part of old hardware store in Easthampton razed; behavioral health clinic coming

EASTHAMPTON — Part of what was once downtown Manchester Hardware was razed to the ground on Friday to make way for a behavioral health and support centre.

The hardware store, first established in 1911 and located on Liberty Street before moving to Union Street, closed in November 2020.

The Center for Human Development acquired the building at 55-69 Union St. for $1.4 million last June to transform it into a behavioral clinic for children and adults.

The nonprofit human services organization, which has an office at 332 Birnie Ave. in Springfield operates several programs in western Massachusetts and parts of Connecticut, including Amherst, Chicopee, Easthampton, Greenfield and Northampton.

Earlier this month, the organization opened a new Community Behavioral Health Center in Chicopee. The center serves Chicopee, Holyoke, Ludlow, South Hadley, Belchertown, Granby, Monson, Palmer, Southampton and Ware; as well as people from all regions who are already receiving CHD services.

Once the new Easthampton building opens, all services will be moved from the existing CHD clinic at 179 Northampton St. to the new center at Union Street.

The new behavioral outpatient clinic will provide counseling and therapy services for both standard appointments and urgent mental health care, according to Ben Craft, vice president of community engagement at CHD.

“The new center will also be the community center for child behavioral health services delivered to homes,” Craft wrote in a statement. “We anticipate this location will allow us to significantly increase access to mental health and child support services in the communities of Easthampton, Hampshire and Hampden County.”

Prescribing and nursing services will be available at the new center, but no medication will be dispensed there at this time.

The center will also provide recovery support, which will include clinicians and recovery coaches who will provide on-site and mobile counseling.

Services do not include overnight or residential treatments. Methadone is also not given.

The 17,900-square-foot commercial building has undergone several renovations over the years. Before it became a hardware store, Massachusetts Historical Commission records show that the portion of the two-story brick building that was demolished was originally constructed in 1909 and housed the FC Haynes Hack and Livery Stable, according to the Massachusetts Historical Commission. The owner of the rental stable, Frank Hayes, left the business around 1917.

Ten years later, Frank Manchester built the attached building, Manchester Hardware, records show.

The city’s Historical Commission approved the demolition of the front half and back half of the building in November 2022 after a public hearing. A letter dated November 1, 2022 from project architect Alfonso Nardi of Uncommon Architectural Places describes the building as having no “unique architectural features”.

According to city planner Jeff Bagg, the Center for Human Development is expected to go before the planning board for site plan approval in February.

Emily Thurlow can be reached at [email protected]

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