MountainOne's new financial center is the first new construction (not counting a passive solar array) on former General Electric land that has been remediated over the last decade. Above, PEDA head Corydon Thurston, left, developer Eric Taylor, Mayor James Ruberto and Hoosac Bank President Donald Keagan play in the dirt.
Pittsfield Business Park Welcomes First Construction
By Andy McKeever iBerkshires Staff 03:31PM / Monday, August 08, 2011
PEDA has spearheaded the rehabilitation of the business park and will now be recruiting new businesses to redevelop the vacated property.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Pittsfield Economic Development Authority welcomed its second tenant to the William Stanley Business Park on Monday.
The agency broke ground on a new $2 million financial center for MountainOne Financial Partners at the intersection of East Street and Silver Lake Boulevard.
PEDA, a quasi-public agency, has been rehabilitating the former General Electric land for more than a decade and now the agency is looking for companies to help develop the land. Next the agency hopes to reel in a company to develop a 16-acre parcel along Tyler Street.
For Eric Taylor, a managing partner of the development company Pittsfield Stanley Works, Monday was a chance to do something his ancestors did more than 100 years ago.
"It is probably only fate that I came here today to help break the ground that my cousin William Stanley, the founder of Stanley Electric Co., did so back in the 1900s," Taylor said. "What we're doing today is not only signifying an accomplishment but signifying commitment, and we have only just begun."
MountainOne becomes the second tenant to the park — after Western Massachusetts Electric Co. built a massive solar array — and the first new construction after 13 years of work. The 52-acre park was polluted from General Electric and PEDA has been working with the city and federal and state environmental groups to remediate it for new growth.
"This is a complex legal arrangement that created PEDA — a partnership between the city of Pittsfield, the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the DEP of the state of Massachusetts," PEDA Executive Director Corydon Thurston said. "Together we've negotiated, tested, demolished, remediated, recycled, tested again, prepared, planned, permitted, tested again and finally today we come together to celebrate the rebuilding."
The 6,850 square-foot building is expected to employ about 25 people and further helps MountainOne expand.
MountainOne consists of Hoosac Bank, Williamstown Savings Bank, Coakley, Pierpan, Dolan & Collins Insurance Agency and True North Financial Services and boasts 225 employees in 14 locations. The new 6,850 square-foot building will help the company continue to expand, according to President and CEO Stephen Crowe.
"The reason we are here is because we've outgrown our space on North Street. That's nothing but exciting and good news for the city," Crowe said. "To borrow a phrase, this is a great day for MountainOne."
Crowe sparred with Mayor James Ruberto over who benefits more from the new building. Ruberto said MountainOne's new building will be a sign to the rest of the industrial world that rehabilitated land can foster business growth and lead the way for new companies to relocate to the city.
"It is a great day for MountainOne but it's an even greater day for the city of Pittsfield," Ruberto said. "I think what makes it such a special day is to see a local business, a local business person, someone who is committed not only to Pittsfield but to Berkshire County occupy this location. It's only fitting that we tied all local interest together. We never had to look outside of Berkshire County."
Taylor estimates that more than 22,000 trade labor hours from local businesses will be used in the construction of what many once considered a pipe dream.
"I was really excited to build the first new building. I shared it with friends and I heard 'I will believe it when I see it,'" Taylor said. "My statement today is that sometimes you need to believe in order to see."
The groundbreaking drew a large crowd consisting of local business leaders and elected officials who heralded the development as boost toward future job growth in the city.
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Get Real, you are right. But the story should why it took this long? Why the secret meeting of PEDA
board members in Florida? Why the lack of accurate
or even lack of minutes to board meetings. We can only hope that with a new Mayor, comes a new PEDA
board comprised of qualified people not political buddies.
Note how Western Mass. Electric has the smarts to put its equipment and not its people at risk in the chemically-toxic environment surrounding Silver Lake.
Would you want your wife, son or daughter breathing the toxic stew of emissions coming off Silver Lake?
Thank you, but no thank you.