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Mill Town Capital is building new housing along Tyler Street and renovating two other properties.
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Making way for new construction on Tyler Street.
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The rearview of the planned housing.

Mill Town Begins Construction on 36 New Tyler Street Residences

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
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A former boarding house built in 1913 will house 16 units, ranging from studio to two-bedroom. 

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Local investment group Mill Town Capital is moving forward with plans to renovate a group of vacant buildings and open spaces along Tyler Street into 36 market-rate housing units and commercial space. The investment is estimated at $6.3 million.

In July, the Community Development Board approved an application from group to construct 20 residential units near Forest Place.

Mill Town's mission is to expand and improve the quality and quantity of opportunities to live and work in the Berkshires. The group manages residential and commercial properties through Blueprint Property Group, aiming to improve safety and living conditions, enhance aesthetic qualities, and keep rents in line with historical neighborhood averages.

Because of General Dynamics and Berkshire Health Systems growing in the region, Mill Town believes that quality housing is a major concern. General Dynamics recently highlighted the critical infrastructure need and the importance housing plays in the local economy in a recent co-signed letter to the mayor's office in support of new housing investments.

Combined with the nearly completed renovation of St. Mary the Morningstar into a housing development led by David Carver of Scarafoni Associates, this will create 65 new residences in a two-block radius by the end of 2021.

"Quality housing has been identified as a major need for employees and employers in Pittsfield. We are excited to be moving forward with plans for two residential housing construction projects -- one of the first major initiatives for new construction multi-family housing in over a decade in the city," Tim Burke, CEO and managing director of Mill Town, wrote in a press release.

"This is an opportunity to create a substantial residential area replacing formerly vacant lots, which will attract people to live in close proximity to key regional employers. We're also encouraged by the job creation component of these projects: both construction efforts will be led by local contractors."

Twenty new housing units will be built at 730-748 Tyler St. with 16 units facing Tyler and four additional units facing Forest Place. They will be a mixture of one and two-bedroom units with the first floor being accessible.

This plot formerly housed Pittsfield Radio and the former Shedd's Plumbing, which had both been vacant for several years. That structure was demolished to make way for the new housing.

Mill Town is focusing on environmentally friendly concepts for these apartments with rain gardens, plantings, and ample outdoor space. Parking is also of priority, as each apartment will have a designated parking space.

The project architect for these units is Utile Design and the lead contractor is Restorations Inc.

Sixteen studio, one-, and two-bedroom units will be created in the former boarding house at 765-771 Tyler St. with commercial space available on the first floor. Mill Town will be renovating the building's parking lot with improved lighting, safety, and traffic flow on Tyler Street.

This project will be executed by project architects Blueline Design and Hill Engineering with the lead contractor is David J. Tierney Jr. Inc.

Additionally, the former Cooke & Burnell building at 741 Tyler St. will be renovated into commercial space for the Tyler Street Lab, which is a community organization that supports a variety of neighborhood stakeholders. The lab had started out at 730 Tyer and then moved to 741. 

The city has been focusing on the renovation of Tyler Street for several years. First, the area was designated as a Transformative Development Initiative district by MassDevelopment, opening avenues to grants and technical help. Pittsfield has been working to concentrate economic development activities, resources, and investments on Tyler with the goal of creating a critical mass of activity that inspires investments by local residents, entrepreneurs, businesses, and additional private development.

In November, Pittsfield received a $3 million grant from MassWorks that will be focused on Tyler Street improvements. These improvements will include fixing the problematic intersection of Tyler Street and Woodlawn Avenue and doing street scape improvements on roads, sidewalks, and crosswalks.

Pittsfield aims to make Tyler Street a "complete street," meaning that it would incorporate and prioritize many forms of transportation in line with the state's Complete Streets program.

Mayor Linda Tyer said she is thrilled to have Mill Town joining their efforts to revitalize the City of Pittsfield, who have supported Mill Town through a City Council approved Tax Increment Exemption package.

"Through its strategic efforts, Mill Town is helping the city expand and enhance recreational and cultural offerings as well as create vibrant new residential housing and business opportunities," Tyer said in a statement. "The organization's thoughtful and inclusive approach to community impact investment has proven to be a real game changer for Pittsfield and I look forward to our collaborations ahead."

Tags: housing projects,   tyler street,   

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Pittsfield Hospitality Taxes Rebound From Fiscal Year 2021

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The city is back to pre-pandemic figures for local receipts in the hospitality industry.

On Wednesday, Finance Director Matthew Kerwood reviewed the city's monetary stance for fiscal 2022 to the finance subcommittee. The review was based on metrics from the beginning of the fiscal year in July to Dec. 31.

He reported that taxes collected for hotels, motels, and meals are where they were before the pandemic.

"What I can tell you on both motel/hotel and meals is that these numbers have to pre-pandemic levels in terms of the amount of revenue that has come in in FY22," Kerwood said.

"So we're back in terms of being able to see these revenues and honestly we were not that far off on meals, we were just about there, and we were substantially behind what we had estimated in hotel/motel tax but that is obviously understandable given the circumstances we find ourselves in."

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