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The PEDA board heard the pitch from Waterstone Retail Development on Thursday morning.

New Big Box Proposal for PEDA Business Park

By Joe DurwinPittsfield Correspondent
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A big-box retailer wants to build on the former 'teens' section of the GE property in the William Stanley Business Park.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — More than a year after initial planning fizzled for a big-box store at William Stanley Business Park, Waterstone Retail Development returned on Wednesday with a renewed proposal for bringing a shopping anchor to the former General Electric property off Tyler Street.  
The newly proposed complex is 200,000 square feet for a single company, 30,000 larger than the previous project idea announced in late 2011, which was anticipated to include one anchor store as well as smaller retail spaces. 
Representatives of the Needham-based developer told the board of the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority that confidentiality agreements with the anticipated tenant for the site prohibit them from saying what the retailer is, but estimated that it will employ around 200 people.
"We can't speak to that now, because we have signed confidentiality agreements," said Neal Shalom, a founding principal of Waterstone, who indicated that information won't be shared until after the permitting process for the building has been completed. "They won't even let us say whether they have other stores in the area."
Executives for the company said Waterstone is an ideal partner to develop the 16-acre parcel, citing experience with problematic and environmentally challenged properties, such as recent projects in Lowell and Wayland.
"We are looking to do some major modifications to the site," said Doug Richardson, vice president of development, who said in addition to contamination issues from the former manufacturer's use of polychlorinated biphenyls, the site had varied grades and leftover foundation slabs. Waterstone estimates the cost of rehabilitation of the parcel at around $10 million just to be shovel ready for construction, and a total estimated cost of $30 million for the proposed project.
The plan also calls for changes to the intersection of Tyler Street and Dalton Avenue, including new turn lanes, a new traffic signal and two new bus stops.  
"All of this work will be done in accordance with the Community Development Board and the city of Pittsfield," said Richardson. "We have a whole permit process ahead of us, once we move forward with this."
Shalom, whose company Equity Industrial Partners also develops industrial and warehouse property, said its research indicated retail to be the most viable use of this piece of the business park, a visibly dilapidated span known as "the teens" because it was the location of GE's teen-numbered buildings.  
"It's not a site that would lend itself to warehouse or manufacturing, because of the cost and the competing existing empty buildings at the present time," said Shalom, who added that other less expensive options for such industrial businesses were more plentifully available in Pittsfield than high-traffic locations for large retail.
"We on our own came up with this retail development. We'd be happy to do manufacturing, we'd be happy to do warehousing, we actually do more of that than we do of retail," Shalom told PEDA. "The highest and best of use in our opinion is a retail development on this site."
The proposed development, which would amount to roughly the combined retail square footage of the Wal-Mart and Home Depot in Pittsfield's Berkshire Crossing complex, would take up about one third of the business park's remaining 46 acres, after 6 acres occupied by MountainOne Financial Center and a Western Massachusetts Electric Co. solar field.
PEDA, while acting as landlord of the business park, has no permitting authority for approval of the use. Waterstone will work with the city's Office of Community Development to advance its proposal, which will be subject to review by the Community Development Board and City Council, which raised some objections to Waterstone's previous proposal.

Tags: economic development,   PEDA,   redevelopment,   retail,   shopping,   

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Cultural Pittsfield This Week: Aug. 23-29

This weekend is your last chance to see the 2019 Pittsfield Shakespeare in the Park production of Much Ado About Nothing. Performances are held on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 8 p.m. on the First Street Common. Featuring the witty on-again, off-again lovers Beatrice and Benedick, Much Ado is the story of the trials of love in a society dominated by patriarchal traditions. Beatrice's cousin Hero and the soldier Claudio meet and fall in love, but when a man spreads nasty rumors about her, Hero's voice is silenced and their relationship torn apart. Loyalties are tested as the community responds, including a ragtag group of officers who just might save the day. FREE, donations suggested.
The Shaker Barn Music Series presents singer-songwriter Nellie McKay. The deep, and deeply funny, McKay has paid tribute to the disparate likes of Doris Day, transgender jazz pianist Billy Tipton, environmentalist Rachel Carson and comedian Joan Rivers. Wallace Field opens. 7:30 p.m.
FRI Blue Light Trio at Rainbow | FRI Karaoke Night at Friends | FRI Dan Gingras at Proprietor's Lodge | FRI Todd McLeod at Rusty Anchor | FRI Mr. Doubtfire at Mission | FRI-SAT Wine, Cheese & Trees at Bousquet | SAT Latin Night at The A | SAT Pete Boyd at Proprietor's Lodge | SAT The Damaged & More at Crossroads | SAT Acoustic Gravel & Jessica Wilson at Rusty Anchor | SUN-MON Karen Mason at Barrington Stage | MON Jazz Night at Mission | TUE Entrepreneurial Meet-up at Thistle & Mirth | WED Melissa Massery at Methuselah | WED Gruppo Mondo at Rainbow | THU The Picky B's at Mission | THU Jessica Wilson at Proprietor's Lodge

Children ages 6 and older are invited to learn to paint a sparkly unicorn on a 16x20 canvas at Berkshire Paint & Sip. All painting materials, instruction, light snacks and non-alcoholic drinks are included in the $25 fee. 1-3 p.m. at 305 North Street.
FRI FREE Fun Friday at Berkshire Museum FRI WeeMuse: Adventures at Berkshire Museum FRI Designing with da Vinci at Berkshire Museum FRI-THU Parenting Classes & Play Groups at 18 Degrees (formerly Berkshire Children & Families) SAT Chow Time at Berkshire Museum SAT Kitchen Ka-Boom! at Berkshire Museum SAT Back to School Event at Berkshire Dream Center SAT Designing with da Vinci at Berkshire Museum SAT Robbins Zust Marionette Show at Dottie's SAT da Vinci After Hours at Berkshire Museum SUN Discovery Tank Program at Berkshire Museum | MON Exploring Our World at Berkshire Museum TUE WeeMuse: Littlest Learners at Berkshire Museum TUE Designing with da Vinci at Berkshire Museum WED Gallery Scavenger Hunts at Berkshire Museum THU Farm Friends at Hancock Shaker Village | THU Exploring Our World at Berkshire Museum THU Designing with da Vinci at Berkshire Museum 
SUN Restorative Yoga w/CBD Massage at Radiance
Indulge in the ultimate self-care experience, combining restorative yoga with CBD massage, at Radiance Yoga. Shannon will lead you through comfortable yoga postures and licensed massage therapists will guide you deeper into relaxation with massage using Vermont Farmacy's Herbal CBD Salve. 6 p.m.
FRI-THU Various Classes at Berkshire Running Center | FRI-THU Various Classes at Berkshire Family YMCA | FRI-THU Various Classes at Berkshire Yoga Dance & Fitness FRI-THU Various Classes at Radiance Yoga | FRI-THU Various Classes at Berkshire Salsa FRI-THU Various Classes at Pilates Fit | SAT Sunrise Yoga on the Deck at Rusty Anchor | SUN Goat Yoga at Hancock Shaker Village SUN Yoga Class at Tyler Street Lab MON Zumba Class at Tyler Street Lab THU Outdoor Yoga at Onota Lake
SAT+ George Gershwin Alone at The Colonial
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