PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Grant funds are available from Pittsfield Economic Revitalization Corp. for small businesses in Berkshire County to encourage increased use of the Internet.
A wide range of technology uses for the funds, directed to help business owners improve the management, marketing and growth of their businesses, include:
Website creation or enhancements
Network development of upgrades
Acquisition of computer hardware and software
Training on the use of software programs or website maintenance
Businesses will work with the private technology consultant best suited to their needs.
The program is supported by a $150,000 grant that PERC received from the Massachusetts Broadband Institute, part of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. Up to 10 businesses will be selected and will be responsible for 25 percent of the cost of their project. To qualify, businesses must have an annual budget of less than $500,000.
Businesses are encouraged to apply prior to the Jan. 31 deadline. Applications forms, eligibility requirements and further information may be obtained by calling Ann Dobrowolski at 413-499-9371 or at the Loans/Grants tab on PERC's website, PERCloans.com.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Local victims of Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme - the largest investment fraud in United States history - should see some of their money returned.
Barbara Picower, the widow of a Florida businessman who was the biggest beneficiary of the ploy, agreed on Friday to return $7.2 billion in profits back to the victims. The total is more than a third of the total amount stolen and would allow for most victims to get at least half of their money back, the Boston Globe reported.
Local residents who were conned are:
The late Dorothy Becker of Williamstown.
The Ranzer family of Williamstown.
David Albert of Pittsfield.
Michael Albert of Lenox.
Irwin and Ellen Dolkart of Lenox.
Turbi Smilow of Lee.
A complete list of victims from the state is located here.
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.
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.
HANCOCK, Mass. — Jiminy Peak's owners are extending their lofty Berkshire Hills holdings into the White Mountains with the purchase of Cranmore Mountain Resort.
In a statement on Wednesday, Jiminy principals Brian Fairbank, Joseph O'Donnell and Tyler Fairbank, said they purchased the assets of the 72-year-old North Conway, N.H., resort from California resort group Booth Creek Resorts.
The deal includes the assumption of debt, for a total price tag of $8.8 million and an expansion loan from CNL Lifestyle Properties for $7 million.
"Cranmore is a popular family ski area, with a great history and has tremendous potential for the near future," said Brian Fairbank, chief executive officer of Jiminy Peak Ski Resort, in the statement. "With our team's experience in the resort industry, the investment and support from CNL Lifestyle Properties, and the continued leadership of Cranmore General Manager Ben Wilcox and his outstanding management team, Cranmore will be able to fulfill its unrealized potential."
Jiminy Peak entered a partnership with CNL last year, in which the real estate investment group bought the mountain for $27 million and leased it back to the Jiminy group for 40 years.
Jiminy Peak, Booth Creek and CNL Lifestyle Properties have been in discussions for a year regarding the potential sale and amenity expansion. The three companies all have experience working with one another at resorts in New England and across the country.
The Fairbanks and O'Donnell purchased the assets and will make major upgrades and improvements at Cranmore with CNL, which also has a relationship with Booth Creek, providing capital for the acquisition and planned improvements.
Booth Creek will continue to operate the Northstar-at-Tahoe and Sierra-at-Tahoe Resorts located in Lake Tahoe, Calif., under long-term lease arrangements with CNL Lifestyle. Booth Creek retains its ownership and management of Waterville Valley Ski area in New Hampshire as well.
"Our team is pleased to make this investment," said Byron Carlock, president and CEO of CNL Lifestyle Properties. "Brian, Joseph and Tyler are talented resort managers, and we believe that with their experience and vision and our capital, Cranmore will be able to become a better resort, a more vibrant business and continue to provide great experiences for New England skiers."
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