By Joe Durwin
iBerkshires Correspondent
February 18, 2016

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Bridge completion, breaking ground on BIC, three current tenant prospects and a new outreach campaign are among the pieces in play for the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority this year as it continues the ongoing slog to build up the William Stanley Business Park.

Identities of the three prospects that have emerged in recent months are being kept private for now, but discussions with them are ongoing, according to PEDA Executive Director Corydon Thurston.

“I’m not at liberty to publicize at this time, but that’s all good news,” said Thurston, who said the mayor and other new incoming public officials have been briefed on these leads.

Currently the park has two tenants leasing parcels; Eversource, whose solar array field rings the north side of Silver Lake, and Mountain One Financial Partners, which opened a new administrative center there in 2012. At least two other prospective tenants have seriously eyed the former General Electric lots for development in recent years — a regional headquarters for Action Ambulance and a big box retail operation by Waterstone Retail Development.

A third tenant will emerge with the eventual completion of the Berkshire Innovation Center, which is anticipated to move forward within the next several months despite short about $600,000 from the estimated cost needed for the construction of the center.

“There was a gap between what was set up a couple of years ago without any designs in mind,” explained board member Douglas Crane. “By the time it went out to bid, the construction industry had warmed a bit, and things cost more.”

“We’ve been diligently working with their engineers to redefine and analyze the bids and building design so that they can get a grip on the actual gap, funding wise, and make the ask,” Thurston told the board, who said he felt “confident” that such funds will be forthcoming from the Mass. Life Sciences Center.

Thurston said he anticipates a ground breaking for the Berkshire Innovation Center “sometime in the early second quarter.”

Even without a facility in place, the BIC is already active as an entity, working on a variety of programs that included sponsorship of last year’s Berkshire Robotics Challenge, an event which is the subject of one of the new videos produced as part of the BIC and PEDA’s outreach campaign to enterprises that may be lured to the park by opportunities stemming from the new center.

PEDA board Chairman Mick Callahan said the outreach program will “encompass stakeholders, site professionals, bankers, realtors, prospects, in a very targeted fashion.”

Board member Christina Barrett said there are more videos being developed that will highlight other aspects of the business park, along with continued social media and other advertising efforts.

“We’re spending as much time as possible on this,” added Thurston. “We’ll continue to grow that, to outreach to various key segments, or to try and leverage the Innovation Center and other activities that are going on in the market in support of new development and prospects for the business park.”

Another positive that PEDA hopes to highlight in publicity this year will be the completion of the Woodlawn Avenue bridge this spring. The opening of this bridge will mark the first time this route has been open to any traffic in ten years. The previous bridge was closed in 2006, and demolished in 2012. Once slated to be done by the summer of 2013, the bridge project has been plagued with a series of delays over the years.

With mild winter weather this year, work has proceeded swiftly throughout the season, and PEDA is looking to celebrate the finished bridge on a date to be determined this spring.

By Tony Dobrowolski, Berkshire Eagle Staff

PITTSFIELD — The city has received final approval for $500,000 in startup costs associated with the construction of the Berkshire Innovation Center.

The Pittsfield Economic Development Authority (PEDA) on Wednesday unanimously approved a $250,000 allocation from the quasi-public agency’s funds toward the center’s launch. The City Council on Sept. 2 approved allocating $250,000 from its GE Economic Development Fund.

“It’s important to understand that our agreement to fund this runs with the city’s agreement,” board Chairman Maurice Callahan said.
An additional $300,000 in startup costs is expected to be raised by the center itself through grants and membership fees, according to PEDA’s Executive Director Corey Thurston.

In May, the city received a $9.7 million capital grant from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center toward the construction of the center, a 20,000-square- foot structure at the William Stanley Business Park of the Berkshires that is expected to supply training, and equipment for local companies who supply materials to the life sciences industry.

The center is considered crucial to the future development of the 52-acre business park, which is administered by PEDA. Construction could begin by next spring, according to project consultant Rod Jane, and is expected to be completed by July 2016.

The city was required to obtain additional funding in start-up costs because the capital grant only includes funds for the construction of the building and equipment.

Jim Therrien, Berkshire Eagle
September 5, 2014

PITTSFIELD – With all signs pointing to strong support, the City Council made it official this week by approving $250,000 in start-up funds for the Berkshire Innovation Center planned at the William Stanley Business Park.

Councilors OK’d the use of $250,000 from the GE Economic Development Fund to help cover startup costs for the 20,000-square-foot facility, which will be constructed with $9.7 million in state funding through the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center.

“This is exactly what the fund was set up to do,” said Ward 4 Councilor Christopher Connell. The money was set aside by GE for development and job creation in the city as part of a consent decree agreement 14 years ago that led to an environmental cleanup of former GE industrial sites in Pittsfield.

Other than a few unpointed questions about long-term prospects to bring in enough revenue to sustain the center’s annual budgets, councilors mostly offered glowing praise for the opportunity the facility presents for countywide job creation.

“To me, this is the most important vote we have taken so far this year,” said Councilor at large Kathleen Amuso.

Supporters of the request from Mayor Daniel L. Bianchi for the startup funding, including a number of local business leaders, turned out in force to reiterate details of the proposal — and express why they believe it could bolster the manufacturing revival here.

The nonprofit “private sector-led” center is expected to sustain itself through fees from member firms and organizations, grants such as for research, and income from training, video conferencing and other services.

Other revenue is expected from rental of sophisticated industrial equipment and testing facilities, which smaller companies could not otherwise afford.

City Community Development Director Douglas Clark said the “conservative” business plan developed for the center was unanimously endorsed by the Life Sciences Center board in deciding to provide the construction grant. If revenues are lower than expected during the first two startup years, he said, there is room for further adjustments on expenses and costs to address that.

In answer to councilor questions, he said the intention is to ensure the center is self-sustaining and not require further allocations from the development fund.

In addition to the $250,000 for startup costs over the next two years, the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority board is expected to match that amount this month. PEDA is a quasi-public agency charged with development of the Stanley Business Park.

“It took a lot to get here tonight,” said PEDA board Chairman Mick Callahan, but now, he said, the building “is going to go vertical at 901 East Street.”

Enthusiasm among the local businesses seeking to become members of the center is strong, Clark said, and that bodes well for the success of the facility. In addition to small manufacturing firms, a number of institutions of higher education from the region are expected to participate.

The intention is to have the nonprofit center programming ready to begin by the time construction is complete in 2016, and to have the organization’s structure completed and staff members hired.

The center, which originally was planned as an industrial incubator space, morphed into a collaborative organization offering a wide range of expertise, training for precision manufacturing procedures and specialized equipment to help speed research, design and product development for local companies.

Based in part on those changes, the state board upped an original $6.5 million grant promise to $9.7 million.

In praising the BIC concept, Ward 2 Councilor Kevin Morandi said it offers the potential to bring in some much needed jobs, many of which are expected to be good-paying skilled manufacturing positions. In addition, he said, “This will put Pittsfield on the map” as a burgeoning manufacturing center.

Fruition of the center plan is an example of the community taking time to develop the best possible facility to become a spur for economic development, said Ward 6 Councilor John Krol.

Ward 5 Councilor Jonathan Lothrop lauded “all the hard work you’ve done on this,” adding, “I can’t wait to attend the groundbreaking.”
The council vote to approve the funding was greeted by sustained applause from supporters in council chambers at City Hall.

June 5, 2014

Rod Jané, President of New England Expansion Strategies, and consultant for the City of Pittsfield’s Life Science Initiative, has been invited to be a panelist at the 3rd Annual Capital Region Commercialization of Life Sciences Innovation Day on Friday, June 6, 2014. Sponsored by “Bioconnex” the event will be held at the Albany Molecular Research, Inc.’s Corporate Headquarters in Albany, NY.

The goal of the conference is to showcase life science research and bring together innovative biotechnology researchers and institutions, business executives, academics and possible collaboration partners from within the Capital Region. Last year, more than 130 people attended to hear from speakers on topics from Public Policy to Hot Life Sciences Research in the Capital Region and Venture Capital Funding.

“We are excited that Rod will be speaking at this prestigious conference and introducing the attendees to the mission of the Berkshire’s Life Science and Innovation facility at the William Stanley Business Park in Pittsfield,” said Corydon Thurston, Executive Director of the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority (PEDA). “We have had discussions with a number of businesses and institutions in the NY market and already have a half dozen committed to memberships for our new facility.”

Thurston believes that this opportunity is a reflection of the great work Rod has done in executing the feasibility study and building a strong marketing plan for the center.

“Jane will be sitting on the panel, Regional Biotechnology Development, which will give him the opportunity to reach out to a large industry sector in the Capital District and make them aware of who we are and what will be available for equipment access and collaborative partnerships within our new Life Sciences and Innovation Center here in Pittsfield.”

William Mulholland, Director of Economic Development at Berkshire Community College, will also be attending the conference as part of the Berkshire delegation along with Thurston and Jané, They are hopeful that the industry speakers and networking will help to cultivate new relationships, with various levels of industry participants, for the entire Berkshires.

May 20, 2014

Governor Deval Patrick and the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) today announced approval of a $9.7 million capital grant to the City of Pittsfield for construction of a new 20,000 square foot Life Sciences “innovation center” in the William Stanley Business Park. Spearheaded by the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority (PEDA), the facility will enable shared research, early-stage production and commercialization, and work force training for life science companies and related businesses.

The MLSC award includes $7,725,000 for building design and construction and $2 million for equipment, including state of the art tools for precise measurement, precision analysis and microscopy, and rapid 3D prototype printing.

“I am thrilled, because we have been diligently, deliberately and systematically pursuing this fabulous award for more than two years–with support and direction from the PEDA Board, City Hall and MLSC staff,” said Corydon Thurston, PEDA Executive Director. “This is a new and unique economic engine for Pittsfield and the Berkshires, one that provides an exciting opportunity to create jobs by enabling existing businesses and mentoring new startup companies.”

To secure the grant, New England Expansion Strategies (NEES), Westborough, conducted an extensive industry and stakeholder feasibility study. This included outreach to more than 85 external organizations primarily based within Berkshire County and Western Massachusetts. Along with 30 private sector companies, 26 of them in the Berkshires, study contributors included industry trade groups, higher education institutions, hospitals and venture capital firms.
In operation, the innovation center will be a self-sustaining entity with private sector support. It will foster innovation by, and the growth of, existing area companies to spur regional economic expansion, jobs and investment. Primary participants will be small to medium sized manufacturers in life sciences and the field’s supply chain.

Educational Opportunities
The facility will enable start-ups in early-stage production and commercialization with shared research and work force training support. The operating budget will be funded through membership, usage fees and rental income from labs, clean rooms and offices. To date, PEDA has secured signed membership commitments from 19 private sector companies and five institutions.

“The PEDA board has been supportive throughout this process because the William Stanley Business Park is an absolutely perfect location for this investment,” said Maurice Callahan, Jr., PEDA Board Chairman. “This successful collaboration is a fine example of our region working together towards building the foundation for a new economy.”

Along with choosing a formal name for the facility, Thurston said, organizers must now create a new and separate 501c3 nonprofit corporation with its own board of directors, advisory board and staff. The facility’s core membership will be actively involved, he said, and once the corporation is established the group will focus on selecting an architect and planning for groundbreaking. Officials anticipate that construction can begin by the summer of 2015.

“We are especially grateful for the patient and thoughtful guidance of Dr. Susan Windham-Bannister, MLSC president and CEO,” Thurston said, “and for the outstanding work of our consultant Rod Jané, NEES president, who helped develop the sustainable business plan that secured this grant.”

Through the MLSC, Massachusetts is investing $1 billion over 10 years in the growth of the state’s life sciences supercluster. These investments are being made under the Massachusetts Life Sciences Initiative, proposed and signed into law by Governor Patrick. Since 2008, the MLSC has awarded or committed more than $520 million, including nearly $400 million to support capital projects, creating over 1.3 million square feet of new educational, research and manufacturing space and thousands of jobs.

PEDA has been aggressively marketing the 52-acre William Stanley Business Park, General Electric Company’s former industrial facility in the heart of the city. With approval of the MLSC grant, the third of a group of nine original parcels is scheduled for development.

May 16, 2014

PITTSFIELD, MA– Mayor Daniel L. Bianchi and the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority (PEDA) will dedicate the recently completed Silver Lake Walkway, between East and Fourth Streets, on Friday, May 23 at 10 a.m. A ribbon cutting ceremony will officially open the reclaimed lake and shoreline, with benches and plantings, as the city’s newest recreational amenity.

Now in use by the public, Silver Lake is open for nature-watching, boating and winter skating. The lake hosts a variety of fish species, including largemouth bass, carp and sunfish, for catch and release fishing. The banks have been replanted with grasses, shrubs and trees and a handicap accessible pedestrian walkway graces the northern and eastern shorelines.

Silver Lake is a focal point of the 52-acre William Stanley Business Park, General Electric Company’s former industrial facility in the heart of the city. PEDA has been aggressively marketing the park, with three of nine original parcels now occupied.

“It is unique to have a lake in an urban setting,” Mayor Bianchi said. “Silver Lake will enhance the William Stanley Business Park and will add a valuable marketing aspect to the business park.”

“The Silver Lake walkway is a great addition to the recreational resources offered in our inner city,” said James McGrath, Pittsfield’s Park, Open Space, and Natural Resources Program Manager. “We’re pleased to have been a part of its development.”

Under the terms of a consent decree, General Electric funded the Silver Lake project to remediate the shoreline and cap the lake. In accordance with the decree, and in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, the work resulted in a new and vibrant resource for all to enjoy.

“This is a significant landmark in the city and PEDA was pleased to play a key role to acquire the shoreline property and facilitate the construction of this lovely walkway,” said Corydon Thurston, PEDA Executive Director. “This project is yet another example of the scenic beauty and recreational amenities that set Pittsfield apart as a compelling location for business development.”

Guests attending the dedication ceremony are asked to park in the lot next to the Western Massachusetts Electric Company solar facility along Silver Lake Boulevard and proceed to the tent adjacent to the driveway.

February 12, 2014

The Pittsfield City Council voted unanimously last evening to approve a $1 million allocation, matching $1 million already offered by the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority (PEDA), to entice manufacturers bidding to build rail cars for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA). Councilors also indicated their willingness to consider furnishing additional incentives.

Massachusetts will select a transit car maker to provide 152 new vehicles for the MBTA’s Orange and Red lines. Nine companies are vying for the estimated $850 million contract, which requires that final assembly work be completed in Massachusetts.

“I am most grateful to the Mayor and City Council for doubling the incentive to $2 million, and for their willingness to provide additional tax increment financing to encourage companies to consider Pittsfield to build these rail cars,” said Corydon Thurston, PEDA Executive Director. “This decision is a powerful statement of our desire to accommodate new business and will help mitigate the differential between new construction and retro fitting existing space.”

“Two million dollars should get their attention–and getting them to the table is our current objective,” said Thurston. “If we do that, and have the opportunity to outline all the benefits the Berkshires has to offer, I think we stand a very good chance of success.”

If chosen, Berkshire County could see the creation of up to 250 jobs during a project that will continue for at least a decade. The $2 million being offered will be drawn from the city’s Economic Development Fund and from PEDA’s financial reserves.

PEDA’s William Stanley Business Park is one of four proposed Berkshire county sites for manufacturing the cars, as each car builder will have different facility requirements. The PEDA site has a “ready-to-build” foundation of more than 120,000 sq. ft. with rail access and siding, plus 19 acres of adjacent available land in the center of Pittsfield.

PEDA has been aggressively marketing the 52-acre business park comprising nine parcels, three of which are occupied. Gold Rated by the MA Biotechnology Council, the location has also been designated for construction of a 20,000-square-foot multi-tenant life sciences facility, supported by a $6.5 million earmark in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Life Sciences Bond Bill.

The MBTA rail car makers’ proposals, which will include a designated site, must be submitted by May 1. The state is expected to award the work at the end of the year.

Learn more about the proposed site.

December 11, 2013
Tony Dobrowolski, Berkshire Eagle

PITTSFIELD — The Pittsfield Economic Development Authority wants to lure a railroad car manufacturer to the city — and it is planning to sweeten the deal by offering a $1 million incentive.

The William Stanley Business Park of the Berkshires, which is managed by PEDA, is one of four proposed county sites currently being proposed as suitable for a manufacturer that would make new railway cars for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.
A manufacturer hasn’t been chosen yet, and the project isn’t expected to commence until 2015.

Two of the other sites are in Lee, while the fourth is in Dalton. The Stanley Business Park is the only site currently under consideration in Pittsfield, although its possible another city site could be chosen. All four of the current sites have access to rail. New Bedford also is believed to be interested in the proposal.

PEDA’s Executive Director Cory Thurston said the MBTA is seeking a manufacturer to build new railway cars for its Orange and Red lines. But the state is requiring that the final assembly of the cars be conducted in Massachusetts.

He said the initiative, worth in excess of $800 million, could last 10 years and bring between 200 and 250 jobs to the Berkshires.
PEDA and 1Berkshire, the county’s leading economic development agency, are both putting together proposals to “sell manufacturers” on the Berkshires, Thurston said.

PEDA’s board voted unanimously on Tuesday to approve the $1 million incentive as a way to help bring the manufacturer to Pittsfield and alleviate construction costs. PEDA’s executive committee is expected to work out the exact details of that offer by February. The funding would come from PEDA’s financial reserves.

Thurston said PEDA would consider placing the facility in an area known as the “40s,” which is located across Kellogg Street from the authority’s administration building.

There are existing building foundations that General Electric left behind on that parcel, and Thurston said engineering studies are currently taking place to determine if those areas could house the type of facility a manufacturer would need to construct.

To reach Tony Dobrowolski: [email protected], or (413) 496-6224. On Twitter: @tonydobrow

For Immediate Release
Date: June 26, 2013
Contacts:
Angus McQuilken, Massachusetts Life Sciences Center
617-921-7749 or [email protected]
Corydon Thurston, Pittsfield Economic Development Authority
413-494-7332, Cell: 413-770-7922 or [email protected]

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) announced today the approval of a $55,000 capital planning grant to support a research project at the William Stanley Business Park in Pittsfield. The business park is the site of a proposed Berkshire Life Sciences Center, a 20,000-square-foot facility on former General Electric (GE) property that is managed by the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority (PEDA).

The project the grant will fund is a formal study of opportunities to catalyze life-sciences-related economic development in Western Massachusetts. The study will be conducted by New England Expansion Strategies, a third party selected through an RFP process.
The MLSC is the agency charged with implementing the state’s 10-year, $1 billion Life Sciences Initiative, proposed by Governor Deval Patrick in 2007 and approved by the Legislature in 2008. $6.5 million in capital funding was designated in the legislation for a project in the William Stanley Business Park in Pittsfield.

“As we pursue our mission of accelerating growth in Massachusetts, we are very focused on making investments across the entire Commonwealth that promote life sciences-driven economic development,” said Dr. Susan Windham-Bannister, President & CEO of the MLSC. “The city of Pittsfield is an important partner in that effort, and we are pleased to award this funding to support their forward-looking plans for life sciences growth in the region.”

“This grant will enable Pittsfield to examine the most effective life-sciences-related potential at the William Stanley Business Park by leveraging the inherent strengths and relationships in the Berkshire region of Western Massachusetts,” said Pittsfield Mayor Dan Bianchi. “I am optimistic that the planning for a life sciences business presence in Pittsfield will offer enhanced opportunity for employment and will be the first step in making the Berkshires a meaningful part of the dynamic Massachusetts life sciences industry.”

“This is one of the many steps in the process,” said PEDA’s Executive Director, Corydon Thurston. “It will help the City and PEDA validate its vision for the facility and lead to the creation of a sustainable business model for its operation. We have been diligently pursuing this effort for more than a year now under the guidance of the MSLC, and we are very pleased that the Board of the MLSC has recognized our progress, and I thank them for this funding.”

Thurston credited his Board, and foundation partners, Nuclea Biotechnologies and Berkshire Community College, for playing a major role in developing the vision and local collaborations that resulted in this initial MLSC funding. “We truly appreciate the care and level of review given all funding requests to the MLSC, and I think their track record speaks for itself,” continued Thurston. “With that enviable record, I take comfort that this planning grant is an indicator that we are, in fact, on the right track for Pittsfield, and I am very excited about the prospect for expanding the Life Sciences ecosystem in Massachusetts into the Berkshires”.

“I am very excited that New England Expansion Strategies was selected to conduct the feasibility study for the Berkshire Life Sciences Center,” said planning consultant Rod Jane. “This project can be an extremely important catalyst for economic development in the region. As former Executive Director of the Massachusetts Office of Business Development, I had the opportunity to assist Nuclea Biotechnologies with their successful startup in Pittsfield. During that process I found the city officials and local businesses from Pittsfield to be exceptionally helpful, proactive and responsive, which was instrumental in helping the project succeed. I look forward to working with the City of Pittsfield and PEDA to help make the Berkshire Life Sciences Center a success.”

“I am excited at the opportunity this grant represents,” said State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D- Pittsfield). “This investment is the first step in building the Berkshire Life Sciences Center and deepening the ongoing regional collaboration in science and technology here in Berkshire County. From the MCLA Center for Science & Innovation to countless other steps, we are working hard to capture the jobs and opportunity presented by the life sciences. These resources will help us to do just that.”

“I am so pleased once again with the results of the state’s strong partnership with local business and government leaders, which will continue to foster innovation and economic growth here in the Berkshires,” said State Representative Tricia Farley-Bouvier (D-Pittsfield). “We are confident that life sciences will become an important local industry that will grow opportunities for high-paying STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Math] jobs in the region.”

For more information on this project, visit williamstanleybp.com or www.PittsfieldEDA.org

About the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center
The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) is a quasi-public agency of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts tasked with implementing the Massachusetts Life Sciences Act, a 10-year, $1-billion initiative that was signed into law in June of 2008. The MLSC’s mission is to create jobs in the life sciences and support vital scientific research that will improve the human condition. This work includes making financial investments in public and private institutions that are advancing life sciences research, development and commercialization as well as building ties among sectors of the Massachusetts life sciences community. For more information, visit www.masslifesciences.com.

January 25, 2013
Tony Dobrowolski, Berkshire Eagle

PITTSFIELD — A Needham-based developer has made a second pitch to put a retail center in the William Stanley Business Park, a $30 million complex that would be slightly bigger than what had been proposed originally.

Waterstone Retail Development has proposed the construction of a 200,000-square-foot building occupied by a single tenant that it says would bring 200 mostly full-time jobs to Pittsfield, create 350 construction positions over a two-year period, and bring $300,000 in tax revenue to the city.

The complex would be located on the same area that Waterstone proposed the first time: A 16-acre parcel commonly referred to as “the teens.” The parcel borders Woodlawn Avenue and Tyler Street. Waterstone has developed 37 shopping centers across the country.
It would cost $10 million — a third of the project’s total price tag — just to prepare the area for a retail complex, said Doug Richardson, Waterstone’s vice president of development. Numerous concrete foundations and slabs, remnants of General Electric Co.’s factories, would have to be removed. The land would be capped to prevent remaining underground contaminants from interfering with the above ground construction.

Waterstone’s first proposal, announced in December 2011, called for the creation of a 170,000-square-foot multi-tenant shopping center at the Stanley Business Park that could bring 150 jobs to the city.
At the time the first proposal was announced, Waterstone had already signed a letter of intent with the city and was negotiating a lease with the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority, the quasi-public agency charged with the 52-acre business park’s development. The business park is on land once occupied by GE factories.

On Thursday, Waterstone Principal Neal Shalom said that the original letter of intent expired “quite a while ago.” He said Waterstone has been working with local people since that agreement ended, but that the company currently has no plans filed with the city.

“We’re working in good faith with PEDA and the city,” said Waterstone Principal Anton Melchionda.

If the proposal does go forward, the next step would be for Waterstone to file plans with the Community Development Board, said PEDA’s Executive Director Cory Thurston.

Mayor Daniel L. Bianchi, who is also a PEDA Board member, has said he would prefer the development of the Stanley Business Park to be limited to industrial concerns. He invited Waterstone to discuss its revamped proposal with PEDA because only one of the current’s board 11 members was also on the board in December 2011.

“I am still committed personally to a manufacturing operation over there,” Bianchi said following Waterstone’s presentation. “But I had heard some numbers about what it might take to get the land to be developed.

“That’s what I wanted the board to hear as well,” Bianchi said, referring to the $10 million figure. “I was kind of interested in what they had to say in regards to that.”

Shalom said Waterstone’s first proposal, which was announced to great fanfare, fell through when the proposed anchor tenant halted its national expansion plans due to the economy. After conducting extensive research on the amount of available industrial land in certain areas of the Berkshires this time around, Shalom said Waterstone has concluded that the teens parcel is best suited for retail.
“We’d be happy to do manufacturing or warehousing, we actually do more of that than we do retail,” said Shalom. “But we’ve determined the highest and best use, in our opinion, is a retail development on the site.

“People are interested in seeing manufacturing and that would be great here,” he continued. “But there’s not a lot of manufacturing companies locating in this part of the country, and there’s a lot of competing empty buildings available that have a low cost of entry.”
Richardson said there are 10 sites in Pittsfield alone that would be “quicker and cheaper” for industrial firms to develop than the teens parcel.

The project would also include the construction of a new parking area, new signal and turn lights at the intersection of Dalton Avenue and Tyler Street, new sidewalks and walkways on both sides of the roadways, two new public transit stops, and the possibility of extensive landscaping improvements.

To reach Tony Dobrowolski: [email protected], or (413) 496-6224. On Twitter: @tonydobrow