Laurin Publishing Buys KB Toys Building In Pittsfield

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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via LoopNet
The KB Toys building has been purchased by Laurin Publishing.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Laurin Publishing bought the long empty KB Toys building at 100 West St. for about $1.1 million this week.

President Thomas F. Laurin said on Friday that the new space almost across the street from its offices in the Berkshire Commons will allow the company to expand its operations while staying in the downtown area.

"I think we love being downtown," he said of the family business. "We like to support the other retailers with our employees and it's a nice place to be ... We have had other opportunities to move but we like it here."

Laurin Publishing, founded by Teddi C. Laurin in 1964, publishes business-to-business magazines, directories and websites serving the global photonics industry, which focuses on optics, lasers, imaging, photonics component manufacturing and more, under the Photonics Media brand.

It's been a tenant of the Berkshire Commons on South Street for 32 years. The move to 74,000 square-foot, four-story West Street building will allow the company to continue to expand opportunities beyond its traditional print publications.

Laurin said the publishing company can use the space for videography and production work. Employees will get a tour of the building next week and the company is expected to move in by early summer.

"We'll use about a third of the building, the top floor and part of the second," Laurin said. "We already have some activity looking at the other space, some players to come in with us."

In a statement, Mayor Daniel Bianchi said Laurin, both family and business, have been a significant part of the community.

"They have always invested in Pittsfield and will continue to do so at an even higher level as the new owners of a key downtown building," he said. "We stand ready to assist in any way with the revival of this building and the transition of Laurin Publishing to West Street."

The 25-year structure was built as the headquarters for what was then the fast-growing KB Toys. But the toy retailer couldn't compete with national chains and cheaper competition; it went bankrupt and was bought out by Big Lots.

The building was acquired by an outside owner who was ready to sell as a long-term lease ended. Laurin said the building's location and its newer systems made it an attractive purchase. The future of building has been a frequent topic. Last week, an urban planning forum suggested it could be used for housing; in 2010, it was the centerpiece of a tour for developers through the region.

In a statement, Laurin described the city as in the midst of a "hard-won renaissance" and worth investing in.

"We are proud to be part of that rebirth by bringing new life to an important commercial building that has been underutilized for some time, and recommitting to our place in Pittsfield's proud past and dynamic future," he said.

Note: The transaction was recorded April 9, 2012, in the Middle Berkshire Registry of Deeds. RKE Realty LLC purchased the building for $1.1 million from New York partnership Pittsfield Mass. Associates, which acquired the property in 1986 from Kay-Bee Toy & Hobby Shops Inc. Kay-Bee had a lease and option to buy dated from 1987.

Tags: building,   Real Estate,   

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Dalton COVID Numbers Droppings, Schools Reopened

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

DALTON, Mass. — Over the past two weeks, the town of Dalton has only seen five new cases of COVID-19 and the Board of Health on Monday said case counts are going in a positive direction.

"I think because we are organized with the three large scale vaccination sites for the county, and the public health infrastructure and the health care community collaborated on it, we have been able to get a leg up on other parts of the commonwealth," Berkshire Health Systems Dr. Daniel Doyle reported.

Twenty percent of Berkshire County's population has received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccination as of Thursday and around 8 percent have received the second dose. There were more than 3,000 Berkshire County residents vaccinated on Saturday.

The board estimated that the majority of residents over 75 years of age who wish to be vaccinated have been. On Jan. 27, the Dalton Council on Aging began assisting elders without computer or internet access and Director Kelly Pizzi said about 300 people per business day had been helped to secure an appointment. 

Dalton currently utilizes the central Berkshire vaccination site at Berkshire Community College because it would reportedly not be efficient to hold smaller-scale vaccination clinics given the extremely cold storage temperature requirements of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.  

The Pfizer vaccine has to be kept at minus-70 degrees Celsius and the Moderna can be kept slightly warmer.

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