Hotel North Adams Switching Logos
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Holiday Inn signs on what's now Hotel North Adams were removed this morning by Callahan Sign Co. That doesn't mean the Holiday Inn won't be returning, the hotel's general manager Linette Searcy wrote us.
The signs had to come off because the logo is obsolete, she wrote. The Holiday Inn logo has gone green, using a white H inside a green square or the name written out in green.
"The new signs take about 90 days to manufacture, so we are looking to November 1st to become a Holiday Inn again with the new logo signs," Searcy wrote.
The inn is currently in the midst of a nearly $3 million renovation after being purchased by Larkin Hospitality. The hotel took on a new name after the affiliation with Holiday stopped in March but is expected to be renewed this fall.
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Mattress Maker Facing Foreclosure in N.Y.
WCW has been in a dispute with the town of Hoosick, N.Y., over the value of its property on Mechanic Street. The county has brought foreclosure action against the mattress maker, which is now looking to move its operations.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A New York manufacturer considering relocating to the city is facing foreclosure in Hoosick Falls for failing to pay property taxes.
WCW Inc., a mattress manufacturer, owes Rensselaer County more than $1.4 million in back taxes and penalties dating back more than four years, the Eastwick Press, a local paper covering eastern Rensselaer, reported Friday. The company has been appealing the valuation of its One Mechanic St. property set in 2007 by the town of Hoosick and the village of Hoosick Falls.
North Adams and the state Office of Business Development have been working with the WCW to craft a tax incentive package to encourage owner John Wilkinson to move his operations — and 100 jobs — into the former Sprague Electric building in the Hardman Industrial Park.
Mayor Richard Alcombright said he and state officials were aware of what he described as a "long running dispute" between Wilkinson and Hoosick over assessments.
"He did talk to me about it," Alcombright said when reached Sunday night. "One of the reasons he did want to locate here is because he and the town of Hoosick could not come to an agreement. ... I don't know all the details. [The article] bears out what he told me."
According to Eastwick Press, the company's realty arm, J.W. Realty Co., purchased properties on Mechanic Street in Hoosick Falls for $400,000 in 2006. The purchase was described as "a sale of distress" while the properties were assessed at about $10.4 million; the company filed a grievance, which resulted in the valuation being dropped to $1.74 million (it has since jumped to $2.08 million). WCW apparently balked at that number as well and negotiations between the company and officials failed to resolve the issue.
WCW also owns another site on Route 22 and operates a call center in Bennington, Vt. Wilkinson told Eastwick Press on Wednesday he could not speak to the company's future in Hoosick Falls until next week.
On Wednesday, the North Adams Finance Committee voted to recommend to the City Council a tax incentive that would give WCW property tax breaks over the next five years and designate the Sprague property as an economic development area, allowing the mattress maker to apply for state incentives as well.
Alcombright said he planned to talk further with Wilkinson on Monday about the news reports. However, he was not "overly concerned" about WCW's dispute with Hoosick.
"The fact that he's planning on buying the building, not leasing, tells me his finances are strong and his credit is good," he said. The Sprague building is assessed at $2.2 million and Wilkinson is reportedly in negotiations to buy it. Based on that assessment, the company would get about $177,000 in tax breaks from the city.
The Rensselaer County attorney told Eastwick Press he expects a summary judgement on foreclosure in 30 to 45 days. WCW is looking to relocate all three of its operations by the end of this year, either in North Adams or to another site being looked at in Manchester, Vt.
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Mattress Company Could Bring 100 Jobs to City
Finance Committee Chairman Michael Bloom and member David Bond endorsed the creation of an economic opportunity area and tax incentive for a company looking to move 100 jobs to the city.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The city is hoping a Hoosick Falls, N.Y., company will make its beds — lots of them — in North Adams. The move could bring at least 100 jobs.
WCW Inc., a family-owned manufacturer of bedding for hospitals and the hospitality industry, is eyeing the former Sprague Electric building in the Hardman Industrial Park. The growing venture wants to consolidate all three of its current facilities into one operation.
The Finance Committee on Wednesday eagerly endorsed a request by Mayor Richard Alcombright to designate the nearly 100,000 square-foot building and property in the industrial park an economic opportunity area and the accompanying five-year special property tax assessment. A resolution and tax incentive will go before the City Council on Aug. 23.
The incentive is part of a package to sweeten the deal over a competing site in Manchester, Vt.
"[Owner] John Wilkinson really likes North Adams, he's made that very clear," said Alcombright, who was knowledgeable about what Vermont was offering. "I looked at the numbers that he had ... we certainly seemed to be very, very competitive; in fact, I think we're more competitive."
The mayor said the condition and size of the building, the city's lower property prices and taxes, significantly lower state workers compensation rates and state tax credits, and McCann Technical School and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts were all attractors. It also hasn't hurt that Housing and Economic Development Secretary Gregory Bialecki has spoken to the Wilkinsons on the city's behalf.
In a letter of intent to the mayor, WCW President Jeffrey Wilkinson wrote, "this project would involve the purchase of an existing building suitable to allow the relocation of our entire operation and staff. This would involved relocation of approximately 100 jobs with an annual payroll in excess of $4 million."
Local and state officials have been working with the company to bring the deal to fruition over the past six weeks.
"This is by far the most exciting, encouraging thing since ... Mass MoCA," said Councilor Keith Bona.
Michael L. Vedovelli, regional director for the state Office of Business Development, said the City Council's approval will be necessary to wrap up a package including state tax credits by a September deadline for the Economic Assistance Coordinating Council.
"It's viewed as a three-way partnership with all parties coming together," he said, describing the state's package as "aggressive."
Where a TIF, or tax increment financing, agreement allows reductions on capital investments, the STA provides for property tax discounts over the entire value. That's important, said Alcombright, because investment into the building is expected to be small while the assessment on the property is $2.2 million.
WCW mattresses are sold to hospital and hotels — and exported to China.
"The STA will provide, I believe, the incentive we need to have this company locate in North Adams," said the mayor. "Their commitment, on the other hand, is the purchase of the building, capital improvements, corporate growth and expansion of jobs over time."
The STA would would tax the company at 25 percent increments, starting at 0 and ending at 100 percent over the five years.
John Wilkinson has been in the bedding business for some 30 years; WCW was established in 1992 and holds 16 patents for various types of bedding and mattresses. It currently operates an administrative headquarters and a manufacturing facility for sewing, foam cutting and assembly in Hoosick Falls and customer call center in Bennington, Vt.
WCW is looking to relocate before the end of the year and the former Sprague building is "the perfect size" for them, said the mayor. The structure is about 20 years old; it has been vacant for some years but is in good condition. It also has space to the south that would allow for future expansion.
About 80 percent of current jobholders are expected to follow the company; that percentage would decrease as jobs opened for local residents and the company expanded.
Alcombright and Michael Nuvallie of the Office of Community Development toured the facility last week and were impressed with the operation. In addition to being family owned and an American manufacturer (that exports to China), the company is very green: everything is recycled, it's very clean and it uses nontoxic materials.
"I think everybody in this city is ready for some good news," said Bond. He asked, "is there any way for the council, the community, to communicate with this company and really let them know ... how well received they would be?"
"I think supporting the STA shows how committed you as a council and the city of North Adams are toward this project," said Vedovelli, "and if you're talking about welcome, I think that's a very strong sign."
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School Building Committee Sets Meeting
I. Call to order
II. Reading and Approval of Records
a. Minutes of 27 July 2011
III. Project Status Overview
IV. Project Scope – 620 vs. 310 student school/s solutions
V. School building options: Greylock, Sullivan and /or Conte
a. Building Committee vote on size of project and choice of school building/s
VI. Schedule – MSBA Feasibility Study Extension Timeline
a. Building Committee vote on approval of schedule to complete Feasibility Study and Schematic Design Phase
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The School Building Committee will meet Thursday, Aug. 11, at 6 p.m. in the lower level conference room at Conte Middle School.
School officials are expecting to continue the discussion on the school building project's direction taken up at the last meeting.
Officials are debating the wisdom of moving forward with a two-school solution for the educational needs of 620 pupils in Grades kindergarten through 7. While the Massachusetts School Building Authority has agreed on the number of students and the continuation of the K-7 alignment, it has not specifically endorsed a two-school solution.
Sullivan School parents have also forcefully rejected the idea of closing Sullivan in favor of a more cost-effective Conte School renovation. The general consensus has also rejected building one large school but there seems to be agreement on either renovating or building a new Greylock School.
School officials are now debating whether to proceed with two schools, which would require a Proposition 2 1/2 debt exclusion vote and an inevitably controversial decision on Sullivan or Conte. The other option would be to put forward one school, which would likely not need a debt exclusion vote but would only solve the educational needs of half the students.
The MSBA's approval in either instance is not assured.
School and city officials are looking to the public for more input and residents are encouraged to attend next Thursday's meeting. The project status from the last meeting is below.
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Monument Square Has New Accessory
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