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PEDA Executive Director Corydon Thurston said the company has signed a letter of intent to lease the 16-acre parcel.

National Retail Company Moving to Pittsfield PEDA Site

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff
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Neal Shalom, a principal with Waterstone Retail Development, said he could not reveal who the anchor would be until permitting has been completed.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A "national" retail chain is expected to call the William Stanley Business Park home and bring 150 jobs to the city.

The Pittsfield Economic Development Authority announced on Wednesday that the group is negotiating with Needham-based Waterstone Retail Development to construct a 170,000 square-foot complex for the national store. Officials from Waterstone said they can not reveal who will be the anchor of the 16-acre development yet but that it will be the primary business with one or two smaller buildings on the Tyler Street Extension property — known as the "Teens Complex."

"We all envisioned this park as manufacturing but we all know things have changed," PEDA Chairman Gary Grunin said. "We feel this new project will tie in with what the businesses are doing in Morningside."

According to Neal Shalom, a principal with Waterstone Retail, permitting is expected to be completed in 2012 and construction will begin in 2013.

For the remaining parcels, Shalom said the group will work with the PEDA board to help future development and added that the company, which also builds office and industrial sites, could be interested in another development there.

Waterstone is the latest tenant of the former General Electric property. PEDA has negotiated leases with Action Ambulance and MountainOne Financial Partners to construct new headquarters, and also hosts one of the largest solar arrays in New England. While redevelopment of the site was first envisioned for manufacturing, with one parcel still be eyed for that, Grunin said the market dictated the move to retail.

Shalom said this project was made possible because PEDA was willing to work with the developers and the retail will fit in with the future developments on the rehabilitated land.

"There are a lot of towns that have rundown and underused downtowns but there aren't a lot of cities like Pittsfield that have a board like the PEDA group that are willing to listen to things that could work rather than just listening to the things they want. We worked together over a long period of time to come up with a plan," Shalom said. "I think it will be good for everyone."

Retiring Mayor James Ruberto heralded the announcement as an early Christmas present for the city and even wore a tie featuring Santa Claus to show the spirit. The move will help revitalize the whole city, he said.

"Not only will it create for us a legitimate tax base here on this property but what it will do is that it will be the spark plug to revitalize the Morningside neighborhood," Ruberto said. "We couldn't be more proud to have Waterstone join us. That is the theme. This city is now attractive to developers like Waterstone where eight years we felt like the Maytag repair man, no one would answer our telephone calls."

Waterstone has had supermarkets anchor many of its developments but has also worked with national companies such as Home Depot, Target and PetSmart. This will be the company's first development in the Berkshires but Waterstone completed two projects in Westfield recently.

PEDA does not yet but control of the 16-acre site from General Electric but PEDA Executive Director Corydon Thurston said that transfer will happen soon.

Tags: business park,   PEDA,   

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BCAC Taps Community For Needs Assessment

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff

Christina Maxwell of the Food Bank of Western Mass talks  about food security.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Poverty was the topic of conversation on Friday to help the Berkshire Community Action Council gauge the needs in the community.
Community leaders and experts lead a panel Friday morning at the Berkshire Athenaeum to help spark a conversation among participants focused on poverty and its different catalysts.   
"We are all interested in working on the destabilizing effects poverty is having on our community and so we hope that we will get some good information here," BCAC Executive Director Deborah Leonczyk said. "So please give us your ideas, your suggestions. Give us your experiences we need to hear it all."
She said as the federally designated anti-poverty agency in the county, every three years BCAC must "take the pulse" of the community and find out what the needs are. This will inform the action plan for the next three years.
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