Innovative Industrial Site Exemplifies Public-Private Partnerships and Green Builds
June 15, 2012
Named for one of the country’s most prolific inventors, the William Stanley Business Park in Pittsfield, Mass. is open for business, and aims to continue the legacy of innovation left by its namesake. This milestone was celebrated this week with the dedication of a new building occupied by MountainOne Financial Services.
The park, which overlooks the City of Pittsfield and the Berkshire Mountains, offers several opportunities to a wide range of businesses including those in the life sciences, information technology, finance, research and development, and light industrial sectors. A $6.5 million earmark, part of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Life Sciences Bond Bill, has been authorized to construct a 20,000-square-foot multitenant facility. The William Stanley Business Park is now seeking expressions of interest from biotech and medical device businesses interested in start-up or expansion space.
“I feel confident in our ability to demonstrate a level of interest that will be high enough to encourage the release of the earmark,” said Pittsfield Mayor Daniel L. Bianchi. “I see a tremendous opportunity for Pittsfield to become the western anchor of the state’s Life Sciences industry.”
Spread across 52 acres in the heart of Pittsfield, the William Stanley Business Park has been designated an Economic Opportunity Area (EOA) by the Commonwealth and, as such, potential tenants may qualify for 5% investment tax credits. Other local and state tax incentives based on new jobs created and maintained may also be available.
The project exemplifies effective reuse of a former Brownfield and has seen a flurry of activity to reach this goal in the last year, including the final land transfer from GE to PEDA. In addition, MountainOne Financial recently completed construction of a LEED-certifiable office building at the park in less than 11 months, after receiving its certificate of occupancy in April of this year.
MountainOne’s decision to design their new building sustainably is in keeping with the overall mission of the William Stanley Business Park to focus on innovative, energy-saving strategies and to preserve as much of the natural features of the area as possible. The first tenant, award-winning Silver Lake Solar Project, a 1.8-megawatt solar-panel array owned and operated by Western Mass Electric Company, greets visitors upon arrival. Roadways, lighting, and pedestrian walkways have been added, along with more than 440 indigenous trees planted across the park.
Corydon Thurston serves as executive director the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority (PEDA), a quasi-public entity formed to oversee rehabilitation and subsequent reuse of the site. He said the William Stanley Business Park represents the culmination of an innovative public and private partnership between the City of Pittsfield, the site’s former owner, General Electric (GE), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), and other government entities.
“We believe this is a model for cooperative remediation and redevelopment efforts across the country,” said Thurston, adding that many properties contaminated by industrial use have been designated Federal Superfund sites and many of these remain abandoned and unproductive. The unique public-private partnership at the William Stanley Business Park advanced the remediation effort and accelerated its effective reuse. PEDA can now boast two multi-million-dollar projects that have added to the tax rolls and added to the jobs here in the City of Pittsfield.
“If not for this arrangement, and the ongoing cooperation of the EPA and DEP the site could be awaiting remediation still today,” said Thurston. “While this property once had more issues than opportunities, issues have been addressed, and that is the result of every involved party’s willingness to work toward a solution.”