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A marijuana cultivator plans to locate in the Stanley Business Park.

Marijuana Cultivators Eye William Stanley Business Park

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Marijuana cultivators Berkshire Kind plan to build a cultivation facility at the William Stanley Business Park.  
 
After a brief executive session Tuesday, the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority voted to support Berkshire Kind's intent to purchase land in the business park and erect a 20,000 square foot grow facility.
 
"We are excited to come in and work with the community and we believe that it is an important time for the industry," Philip Silverman, who owns the company with his brother Jeremy. "Doing things the right way is what will create a good base for this industry."
 
Philip, who currently lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., and has a background in finance and investment, said they reached out to PEDA and have been in communication since May. He said the area, community, and the board drew them to the area.
 
"The community has been welcoming and has been a great place to do this," he said. 
 
The proposed Tier 2 facility would be erected on Site 4, which is across the street from the future Berkshire Innovation Center. Jeremy Silverman, who lives in Albany, N.Y.'s Capitol District but plans to relocate to the area, said the 1.5-acre site that borders the parking lot is shovel ready. 
 
Berkshire Kind plan to open in two phases. In phase 1, it will construct the complete facility but for that first year will only use half of it. Philip said this would accommodate 5,000 to 6,000 square feet of canopy that would double in Phase 2. 
 
"There is a significant lack of supply in the cannabis market and you still have dispensaries that are limiting the amount you can purchase," Philip said.
 
He said they plan to invest between $2.8 million and $2.9 million into the facility. He said earnings from phase 1 should support phase 2
 
Philip said plan is to hire 12 full-time employees in the initial phase then bring on another eight to 10 employees.
 
The brothers said the field is new to them. Jeremy, whose background is in project management and development, said he attended school in Colorado in the 1990s so was able to gain some perspective on growing. He said they do plan to bring in professionals to help in the growing process. 
 
There is still a ways to go and the PEDA board only voted to support the project and authorize the program director to sign the option to purchase agreement once everything is finalized. 
 
"They voted to support the concept and to accept Berkshire Kind as the future owner of that property," PEDA Chairman Maurice Callahan Jr said. "The rest is semantics and the paper trail in between today and actually signing  it." 
 
The vote came with a non-refundable $10,000 option fee that allows the brothers to secure the site. Callahan said a site needs to be secured if Berkshire Kind wants to continue with the permitting process and that there is a cost for taking the property off the market.  
 
Philip said they are professionals and hope to take away some of the stigma associated with marijuana cultivation. He added that the companies name reflects two meanings. 
 
"We are in the Berkshires so we want to have that be part of what our company represents and kind is a term that has been historically used for high quality cannabis," he said. "And we want to be a kind company. We want to think about our community, our environment, and our customers." 
 
The Silvermans plan to be fully operational by this time next year.

Tags: marijuana,   PEDA,   

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Greylock Federal Credit Union Reopens Kellogg Street Branch

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff

A crowd gathers for the grand reopening of the Kellogg Street branch.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Greylock Federal Credit Union returned "home" with the grand opening of its newly renovated Kellogg Street branch that also houses the new Community Empowerment Center.
 
"Why did we invest millions here?" John Bissell, president and chief executive officer, asked before Monday's ribbon-cutting. "Because this is our home. This was Greylock's first home. This nieghborhood has been our heartbeat since 1935."
 
The expanded and renovated building will not only offer typical banking services but also free counseling to help residents with their financial futures. 
 
Vice President of Administration Jamie Ellen Moncecchi said Greylock looks to give residents in need the tools and resources to help them navigate their financial lives. She went on to say the center will offer free community education, budgeting and credit building classes, and loan coaching.
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