Dear Friends and Neighbors,
In 2013, Amherst Media purchased property on Main Street with the goal of building a world-class community technology center in downtown Amherst. Our vision was to create a new resource for the Amherst community that could be a hub for government transparency, community media, and meaningful civic dialogue.
Unfortunately, we were unable to realize our goal. We now take the difficult step of finding a suitable buyer for the property. We have chosen to partner with Jones Reality, a local firm with strong connections to the community, to sell the land. The board of Amherst Media will consider offers carefully before making any decision regarding the final disposition of the property.
Six years ago, when Western Mass Electric Company (now Eversource) did not renew our lease for 246 College Street, where Amherst Media had been housed since 1991, we began looking for a new home for our community media center. We are grateful that the town of Amherst believed in our vision, and approved a zoning change for the property at Amherst Town Meeting. We worked with local architects, developers and hired a development director but this is an incredibly challenging fundraising environment, especially for media and journalism organizations.
Around the country for-profit and nonprofit local news organizations are struggling to survive. Locally, we found ourselves competing with a number of other organizations in the middle of, or recently completed big fundraising efforts. It became clear that, at this time, we couldn’t raise the capital to build on the land. We decided that our money would be better spent in support of programs and services to our community than in holding onto this property. Serving our neighbors as best as possible has always been and will continue to be our organization’s top priority.
This is an important moment in Amherst Media’s history. We are serving more students, organizations, and local businesses than ever before. We are covering nearly all local government meetings, producing original local news and children’s programs and offering nationally-recognized “maker spaces” for innovative learning.
To continue this good work, and to invest in building the skills and capacities of our neighbors to share their vision and voice, we have to take the difficult step forward in selling the Main Street property. We are grateful that Jones Group, as a local company, is willing to work with us to find a suitable buyer.
We appreciate your support and welcome the chance to talk with you further as we move forward. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch any time.