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Funding Secured For Pittsfield BJ's Wholesale

Staff Reports

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — More than a year after announcing the construction of a BJ's Wholesale Club on Hubbard Avenue, the Braintree developer secured a $9.2 million construction loan for the project this weekend.

Reported on Monday by Waltham-based Bostonsf.com, Cape Breton Corporation and Saxon Partners worked with real estate intermediary Holliday Fenoglio Fowler, L.P. to get the loan through Sovereign Santander Bank.

The developers plan to build a 85,188-square-foot freestanding building and fueling station behind Berkshire Crossings.

The project was announced in October of 2009 when Robert MacPherson, president of Cape Breton, said the group will begin the formal permitting process aiming to break ground in 2010. It will be the county's first BJ's club and City Hall said it would create about 120 new jobs. The closest BJ's clubs to Berkshire County are in Greenfield, Springfield and Albany, N.Y.

BJ's Wholesale Club Inc. is a leading operator of membership warehouse clubs in the East. The company, now in its 25th year, currently employees more than 20,000 team members and operates 180 clubs in 15 states from Maine to Florida.

Formed in 1998, Saxon Partners is a retail and residential developer focused on the New England region and Cape Breton Corporation is a real estate development company specializing in the site acquisition and local permitting of retail buildings and shopping centers.


Tags: Pittsfield, BJ's, Wholesale      

Breakfast Forum Focuses on Management

Staff Reports

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Enterprises will offer a free business breakfast forum on "Are You Getting the Information You Need to Successfully Manage Your Business?" on Friday, Oct. 29, from 7:30 to 9.

It will be held in the third-floor boardroom at One Fenn St. It will be led by Steve Fogel, program director of Berkshire Enterprises, and Joe Gelinas, a consultant to small businesses specializing in process improvement.

The forum will focus on assessing measurement systems such as cash and inventory controls. As small businesses seek to survive and grow, owners and managers need to periodically review the information they are gathering to make sure that have sufficient information to identify the risks and minimize their impact on your business.

The forums are made possible through support from Greylock Federal Credit Union, Legacy Banks, Berkshire Bank, TD Bank, and the Pittsfield Cooperative Bank in space provided by CompuWorks. Berkshire Enterprises is a program of the Office for Workforce Development at Berkshire Community College.

To register, contact Fogel at sfogel@berkshireenterprises.com or leave a message at 413-236-2141. Space is limited and reservations are required.

Tags: forum, Berkshire Enterprises      

Big Y Buys Diesel Dan Property for $4.25M

Staff Reports

LEE, Mass. — Springfield-based supermarket chain Big Y Foods, Inc., has paid $4.25 million for 9.8 acres of property on which it intends to build a new store.

The site, situated between Exit 2 of the Massachusetts Turnpike and the Lee Prime Outlets, was originally home to Diesel Dan’s Travel Complex.

Colebrook Realty Services, Inc. brokered the sale of the property and its improvements.  Colebrook Principals B. John Dill and Mitch Bolotin represented the seller, NortherEdge/Plant One Realty Trust.  According to documents filed in the Registration of Deeds, the closing date was Sept 20.

Big Y plans to develop a 48,000 square-foot supermarket on the site, with 5,000 square feet of additional retail space. The Zoning Board of Appeals voted unanimously on Sept. 1 in  favor of the construction, which is scheduled to begin by the end of the year.

“We are excited to be one step closer to building a Big Y World Class Market in Lee as we continue to move forward with our plans to open this market to better affect customer service strategy for South County,” said Charles L. D'Amour, President and COO of Big Y Foods, Inc., in a statement released by Colebrook today, Oct. 7.

The sale of the property is part of a broader portfolio restructuring on the part of F.L. Roberts & Company, Inc.

According to Steven M. Roberts, President of F.L. Roberts & Company, Inc., “Along came our repurchase opportunity for some of our formerly owned Sunoco station and Colebrook Realty was instrumental in providing a key element to our asset shuffling strategy: a timely Purchase and Sale Agreement with Big Y.  Mitch and Jack did an excellent job in a difficult real estate market.”

Tags: Big Y      

Real Estate Panel to Tour S. County, Pittsfield Sites

Staff Reports

MassDevelopment is shuttling a bevy of real estate professionals out to the hinterlands on Tuesday to size up opportunities in Lee, Lenox and Pittsfield.

The Berkshire Economic Development Corp. will host Walter Upton, director of construction at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts; Fred Kramer, president of Boston design firm Add Inc.; Maury Wolfe, a partner in the Boston architectural firm of DiMarinisi and Wolfe; and Eden Milroy, president of development and property management firm Pilot Development, along with some 25 real estate professionals and local officials.

The group will get a bus tour of Lee and Lenox before heading to the William Stanley Business Park in Pittsfield sometime after 11 a.m. Then they'll look at the former KB Toys building on West Street before having lunch at the Colonial Theatre. The whirlwind tour wraps up at 1 when the bus departs back for Boston.

The BEDC is hoping to spark interest in some of the vacant business properties in the area, particularly the stalled Pittsfield business park whose sole tenant at the moment is a field of solar panels.

The good news is that the response for the Berkshire trip was high, we're told. The panel is also expected to offer advice and insight on how best to reuse and market some of the properties.

Tags: BEDC, MassDevelopment, Stanley Business Park      

Rooms With A View: Fitzpatrick Buys Wigwam Cabins

Staff Reports

The Western Summit on the Mohawk Trail overlooks the city of North Adams.

FLORIDA, Mass. — The old Wigwam Cabins on the Western Summit have been purchased by Nancy Fitzpatrick, adding to her collection of historic properties that include the 1773 Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge.

Fitzpatrick, as LMNO Properties LLC, purchased the cabins, guest house and gift shop from the Berkshire Natural Resources Council on Aug. 13 for $275,000. The deal includes a right of first refusal for the nature conservation group should Fitzpatrick ever decide to sell it.

The council took ownership of the buildings last year, when it purchased 37 acres for $470,000 with plans to add it to some 730 acres along the Hoosac Range to conserve the land and restore a three-mile long trail.

The buildings and just under 4 acres were put on the market for $350,000 this spring.

"I'd been eyeballing the cabins longingly for years. I hated the thought that they might disappear," said Fitzpatrick in a news release announcing the purchase. "This style of roadside architecture, from the early days of automobile travel, is underappreciated and endangered. I can't wait to get going on this project."

The site has been a tourist destination with three-state views since the early part of the last century. It will be managed by the Porches Inn in North Adams, another historic property developed out of old houses on River Street by Fitzpatrick and and Williams College alum Jack Wadsworth.

Fitzpatrick is renovating the vintage cabins and will operate them seasonally beginning in spring 2011. She's interested in American road tripping and the hotels and motels that were built during the development of the Interstate Highway System.

Guests at the cabins will have easy access to the trail system being undertaken by the Berkshire Natural Resource Council that will ultimately connect the Florida and Savoy Mountain state forests and include a major hiking trail, the envisioned 100-mile Mahican-Mohawk Trail for Northern Berkshire County. This trail will start at the Wigwam site, ending at Spruce Hill, in the Savoy Mountain State Forest. The anticipated completion date for the trail is in June 2011.

"The Wigwam will capture the imagination and spirit of adventure of its guests, by recalling the nostalgia of bygone days of motor-touring on Route 2," said Bruce Finn, general manager of the Porches and Red Lion inns, in the press release. "The Wigwam Cabins will give travelers access to the Hoosac Range Trail, and — ultimately — the Mahican-Mohawk Trail. It is also a short, five-mile drive to the center of North Adams, Mass MoCA, and The Porches Inn through scenic winding mountain roads, and just a bit longer to Williamstown. Guests will enjoy breathtaking views from their rustic cabin settings, with easy access to all there is to do in the area."

Guests of the Wigwam will have full use of all guest amenities at the Porches, including the hotel's year-round pool, hot tub and exercise facilities. The property will be renovated with each cabin or guestroom offering a private bath and shower. The cabins will feature comfortable furnishings, wood stoves, refrigerators and coffee-making facilities.

Tags: Wigwam, Fitzpatrick, Mohawk Trail      
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