Moody Center Boutique Inn

The Moody Center to construct ‘boutique inn’ on Northfield campus

The Moody Center plans to turn Revell Hall, foreground, and Holton Hall, background, into a 24-room boutique inn in Northfield. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ


Staff Writer

Published: 3/4/2020 9:59:34 PM

NORTHFIELD — The Moody Center is investigating the feasibility of a $2 million renovation to turn two of its existing buildings into a small boutique inn on its campus.

Headquartered at the home of the great 19th-century evangelist Dwight L. Moody, The Moody Center continues to promote Moody’s ministry model by inspiring today’s Christian leaders. The campus regularly invites guest speakers and events to its campus, as it works to once again make the property an epicenter for ministry innovation in Massachusetts, the Northeast and beyond.

Christian Arnold, the principal architect at Clockwork Architecture, said the project is in the “feasibility phase” of renovating Revell and Holton halls into a 24-room inn.

“Based on how those studies go, we may evaluate other projects including Moore Cottage, Bookstore and Betsey Moody Cottage,” Arnold said.

While Clockwork is acting as the development consulting company, a construction company has not yet been selected. The buildings are going through a state and federal historic review process, making it difficult to predict how quickly the analysis will be completed.

“We are hopeful that we can start construction this year,” Arnold said.

Arnold said the lodging would be open to the public but with an “emphasis” on use by visitors of The Moody Center and events the center hosts.

Joan and Steve Stoia, founders of the Northfield Area Tourism and Business Association (NATABA) and owners of the Centennial House Bed and Breakfast, said they were open to The Moody Center’s proposal. Any place that is a tourism destination, they said, would have multiple lodging options. Last year, The Moody Center proposed a design for a 140-room hotel building.

Steve Stoia said the larger hotel wouldn’t have matched Northfield’s character.

“This is a beautiful small town,” he said.

The Stoias said The Moody Center’s 24-room inn proposal is more favorable. The Moody Center’s plan would preserve some of the historic buildings located on the campus. The Stoias said accepting this inn is a necessary step to further Northfield’s economic development.

“We’re looking for careful economic development in town,” Steve Stoia said. “A lot of our guests go out in the backyard when they can to see the stars — there’s no light pollution to speak of. We have to be careful not to ruin what we have.”

By establishing a design that restores the historic buildings and reflects the small-town business mindset of Northfield, Steve Stoia said The Moody Center is “being a good neighbor.” Additionally, the business would expand the tax base for the town.

“They’re planning to rehab existing historic buildings,” Joan Stoia said. “It’s a win-win as far as I’m concerned.”

The Moody Center recently went before the Northfield Historical Commission to seek support for tax credits through a state program. By restoring and renovating existing historical buildings for new use, The Moody Center is able to apply for tax relief through the Massachusetts Historical Commission.

Northfield Historical Commission Chair Carol Lebo said the members were pleased with The Moody Center’s proposal for the boutique inn.

“They plan to renovate the interior of buildings they already own,” Lebo said.

The local Historical Commission wrote a letter to the state commission saying it had no concerns with what The Moody Center plans to do and advocating for the restoration, Lebo said. The commission saw early designs of the renovations, which involved mostly interior work.

Last fall, The Moody Center and Clockwork Architecture applied to establish a campground on The Moody Center’s property. While the application was approved by the Northfield Planning Board in October, subject to more than a dozen conditions, this campground proposal has since been tied up in litigation, which The Moody Center President Emmitt Mitchell said is still ongoing.

Zack DeLuca can be reached at or 413-930-4579.