David Moresi, left, at his new offices in the Norad Mill.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — David Moresi started flipping one house at a time nearly 20 years ago. That seems a bit far away now as Moresi & Associates moves into an expansive office space in his Norad Mill and now employees about 30 people.
The local developer hadn't planned on moving offices, or buying a 100,000-square-foot historic mill, or being engaged in a half-dozen (at least) different ventures ranging from restaurants to college housing. Rather than a straight line, Moresi and his company have taken a circuitous path, shifting and adapting as the economy has changed and opportunities arose.
"It was great flipping houses, you know, this little business, and the economy was doing pretty good there. And it was all the dot-com stuff. You had all the businesses on Main Street, people were moving here, and it all fell apart," Moresi said Friday from a the new conference room on the mill's second floor. "And the bottom dropped out. ... I had gotten into condos and high-end homes, and it was a mess. ...
"We diversified the business. And the business is still diversifying to this day. We just started going off on these other directions."
The latest is developing a real estate arm, Moresi Real Estate Partners, that will also be moving into the new offices. The real estate company joins the Moresi & Associates development divisions in commercial construction and project management, electrical services, property and condominium management, and commercial and residential leasing.
"We realized the value of people coming in, and the volume and caliber of the people we're dealing with as well as the people that are coming here to the North Berkshires who wanted to meet with us," Moresi said. "There's a lot of exciting stuff happening. Suddenly, we need a new location, we need a more professional location from which to operate out of and we got it and we're happy about that. It really makes a good impression on our clients. "
The company's new digs have plenty of space for expansion — a big jump from 600 square feet at 1000 Massachusetts Ave. to 5,000 square feet. In addition to the roomy offices and conference room, there's a copy room where blueprints can be printed, storage for files and a large break room. The company's colors of black and gold are carried throughout the mill's main entrance, signage and through the office area.
The central office provides financial and building management for the company's divisions and Moresi's many project all under one roof. It also puts its headquarters at the center of the growing "downtown" inside the Norad Mill.
Moresi had a five-year plan to fill the historic mill with offices and manufacturing. He's beat that plan in a matter of two years. Not only have manufacturers and professionals moved in but also retail, storage, wine and coffee production, publishing, dance and fitness centers.
"What truly do we have here? My God, we really have how a downtown starts. Because you start getting some businesses. And now you start getting businesses to support those businesses," he said. "For instance, you have a yarn store and a yarn manufacturer, the yarn manufacturer's making product that is being transported upstairs, and it's being sold in the store."
The increase in public use has also led Moresi to operate public spaces like a planned cafe and a candy store and a reception space that will be hosting its first wedding later this spring.
"We need a cafe and we need that cafe open six days a week, because weekends here are crazy," he said. "And and it's really for the benefit of all the people that come into this community. It's like your little Main Street cafe."
The proximity of the landlord also ensures the success of these entities, he said, noting that Crane & Co. had sold him the mill in 2017 because of his pledge to create jobs and maintain the 180-year-old structure.
Hannah Klammer, special projects and commercial leasing manager, has been in charge of filling the mill and repositioning tenants as needs change. Moresi expects to be at about 50 tenants by the end of summer.
"And we'll ride the wave as long as it happens," he said. "So downtown's are dead. Now malls are dead. So maybe this is the new model."
Besides commercial construction — for instance renovating MountainOne's new offices on Main Street as well as the mill — company's largest growth has been in property, and HOA and condominium management. Moresi said the move to 60 Roberts Drive included a significant investment in administration software to track residential and commercial properties it serves throughout the county.
"It's been our biggest growth side of the business. And one thing you need to know about our company, which we tout with it, is the fact that we have all the trades in house, whether it's electrical, HVAC, carpentry, tile work, as well as our custodians and our maintenance technique," he said. "We have everything in house which other firms don't have."
Moresi's been cautious about touting too much about his projects, preferring to wait until things are in place before going public. His frequent trips in front of the Planning Board in recent years speak to the alacrity with which the mill's filled up — along with a monument sign brimming with names despite its size.
But he's held off on doing an major advertising or even press releases. Now that much of the mill is renovated and occupied and the elevator and entrance are in, he's planning an open house for later in the spring.
The former Excelsior mill was something he was excited about, he said, and he could envision what it could. Speculation without a plan, he said, can lead to failure.
"Now as Norad starts to wind down and then what's next? I mean, I gotta get excited about something else, so there's some things that we're looking at," Moresi said.
"You never know what the future holds. But there's, you know me, my brain. There's all these thoughts and ideas. We'll see. We'll see what future expansions happen around here. We'll see what happens."
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