BJ's Wholesale Club Coming to Pittsfield

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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A Braintree developer has announced plans to construct a BJ's Wholesale Club on Hubbard Avenue. It would be the first BJ's in Berkshire County.

Robert MacPherson, president of Cape Breton Corp., said Friday morning that his company would develop the BJ's. Cape Breton will begin the formal permitting process in the next couple of months with the goal of breaking ground in 2010.

Deana Ruffer, the city's community development director, said the city's known for some time that BJ's had been considering a location in Pittsfield. Cape Breton was focusing on the large parcel behind Stop & Shop Supermarket owned by J.W. Kelly Enterprises Inc.

"We were aware they were in negotiation with the Kellys," she said, but Cape Breton was also looking at site provisions and get approvals through BJ's internal processes. "I was thrilled that they were comfortable enough in their plans to make a public announcement this morning."

Cape Breton Corp. specializes in site acquisition and local permitting of retail buildings and shopping centers. This new development will bring 120 new jobs to the city, according to a press release from City Hall.

"We are thrilled that during these challenging times, BJ's has confidence in Pittsfield's future. The citizens of Pittsfield as well as all of Berkshire County will benefit from having another shopping choice," said Mayor James Ruberto in the press release. "I also want to thank the city's economic development team for the work they have done to bring this new investment to Pittsfield."

Headquartered in Natick, 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.

The closest BJ's clubs to Berkshire County are in Greenfield, Springfield and Albany, N.Y. Rumors have swirled for years that Walmart was seeking to build a Sam's Club in either Pittsfield or North Adams but the plans haven't materialized; there'd also been some talk about a BJ's in North Adams.

Ruffer said her office is working with the company to take advantage of the city's streamlined permitting process. The Office of Community Development has provided information for developers working with brand-name retailers, she said.

"It's very gratifying to me that the behind-the-scenes work with developers can result with a win for Pittsfield and new jobs."
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Owner of Abandoned Cats Pleads Guilty to Animal Cruelty

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A woman accused of abandoning more than a dozen cats during snowstorm a year ago has pleaded guilty. 
 
Kelly Hathaway of Pittsfield pleaded guilty on Friday to two counts of animal cruelty in Central Berkshire District Court as part of a plea agreement. Following the plea agreement, she was ordered to have a mental health evaluation and follow any after care as instructed by the court.
 
She was placed on two years probation and ordered to perform 50 hours of community service. She is not allowed to possess any animals and was ordered to surrender any she has in her care. She is also prohibited from volunteering with any animal groups.
 
Hathaway and another defendant were charged last March with abandoning 15 cats on back roads in Richmond and Lanesborough after an investigation by Lanesborough Police, Lanesborough Animal Control and the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
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