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New Hotel Proposed in Pittsfield

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The City Council will vote on two tax increment financing agreements Tuesday night one of which for the construction of a 77-room Holiday Inn Express.
Councilors will have a lengthy agenda in front of them that will include consideration of the TIF agreements that will benefit the two new construction projects.
A five-year agreement would be with Somnath LLC, whose principles are Mauer and Dilip Desai, who plan to build the hotel at 1055 South St. The Desais had operated a Comfort Inn at the location until demolishing the 16-year-old hotel in 2014 to make way for a new structure.
According to council documents, Somnath plans to invest $10 million in the project and create 25 to 30 jobs,15 of which will be full time.
The Desais also own the Best Western Plus on West Housatonic Street and have been working with the City's Business Development Manager Michael Coakley over the past year exploring various options for this property
According to the agreement Somnath would be exempt from paying property taxes for the first year. This percentage would ramp down over the five years. In year two, it would be exempt from paying 80 percent, 60 percent for the third year, 40 percent for the fourth year and 20 percent for fifth year.
Per the agreement, Somnath would have to create the promised 15 full-time jobs within the five years and invest the promised $10 million in the hotel to be completed by Dec. 31, 2021.
The second proposed agreement is with Johns Building Supply, which wants to construct a new retail and office space at 850 Crane Ave.
Because of the proposed Ashuwillticook Rail Trail extension into Pittsfield, Johns Building Supply plan to move its office from the north to the south side of Crane Avenue at a cost of between $600,000 and $1 million.
The tax exemptions will be on the exact same scale as the new hotel and Johns Building Supply would be on the hook for making their promised investments and creating 10 new full-time jobs in the five years.
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Pittsfield Gets 475K for Second Installment of Block Grant Funds

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Pittsfield received its second allocation of Community Development Block Grants in the amount of $475,103.00.

The federally funded program is designed to help small cities and towns meet a broad range of community development needs.

In total, the city has received $1,264,444. The first allocation was accepted by the City Council on April 28, 2020. These two allocations are separate and in addition to the city's annual entitlement allocation.

At Tuesday's City Council meeting, Mayor Linda Tyer submitted an order to amend the CDBG annual Action Plan for the program year 2019-2020 to provide a special allocation of CDBG funds in the amount of $475,103.00.
This $475,103 allocation is proposed to be spent as follows:

  • $325,000 for small business assistance
  • $50,000 for human services
  • $129,000 for rental assistance
  • $50,103 for administration

Ward 2 Councilor Kevin Morandi and Ward 4 Councilor Christopher Connell questioned the $50,103 that is purposed to be spent in administration. The conversation got slightly heated as Connell questioned Community Development Director Deanna Ruffer on where the administrative costs go.

Connell asked Director of Finance & Administration/Treasurer Matthew Kerwood why salary line items remain the same come budget time when they received CDBG funding, wanting to know where that extra money goes.

He said this has troubled him for some time and that it seems like a black hole that some of these funds are going into. There has to be some decrease in line items for these positions if they receive these administrative costs from the grant, Connell added, because he knows that half of Ruffer and Program Manager Justine Dodds' salaries come from it.

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