PITTSFIELD — An investment company headed by local real estate developer David G. Carver on Thursday completed the purchase of the Clock Tower Business Park on South Church Street.
Clock Tower Partners LLC of North Adams paid MediaNews Group $1 million for the six-story building, according to documents on file at the Middle Berkshire Registry of Deeds in Pittsfield.
At 75 S. Church St., the 165,203-square-foot office building houses The Berkshire Eagle and numerous other businesses.
New England Newspapers Inc., which operates The Eagle, will remain at the complex under a "very" long-term lease, according to Publisher Edward L. Woods.
The Eagle publishing business was sold to a local group last month, and its previous owner MediaNews Group of Denver held the Clock Tower Business Park that New England Newspapers Inc. also had managed. The property went on the market in 2014 for $2.5 million.
"The building is now owned by a real estate development company, not a newspaper company," Woods said.
The sale lets New England Newspapers Inc. return to its core mission, "which is publishing newspapers without the distraction of managing a large office building," Woods said.
Carver said the business park fits into the investment criteria for Clock Tower Partner LLC's parent company, Scarafoni Associates of North Adams.
"It fits our criteria by being in the downtown [Pittsfield area] and for being an older historic building," Carver said. Originally built in 1883 for use as a clock factory, the structure was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1990.
Carver said his company views the Clock Tower complex as a "long-term investment."
"If you've followed our company [Scarafoni Associates] for a long period of time, [you'll see] we don't sell," he said.
The property will be managed by CT Management Group, led by Carver and Peter Ticconi, both of Williamstown, according to a news release by Berkshire Bank, which provided the financing for the new ownership group.
CT Management Group is a real estate and management and development company that manages condominium communities throughout Berkshire County, manages all the real estate holding for Scarafoni Associates and related entities, and develops new investments.
In 2007, Carver headed another entity called South Church Street Associates, which purchased a third of the Clock Tower complex that was either empty or under-utilized. Through a process of selective demolition and adaptive re-use this section of the complex was successfully converted into 23 living units that are known as Clock Tower Condominiums.
Clock Tower Partners LLC has prepared a multi-year modernization plan for the Clock Tower Business Park that includes energy efficiency projects, general property improvements, and customer improvements for new and existing tenants, according to Berkshire Bank.
"Dave loves to take older properties and make the best of them," said Andrew Swanton, NENI's vice president of operations. "I think this is great for the city of Pittsfield because he is going to take it and enhance it to take advantage of the property."
MediaNews Group bought The Eagle and the property in 1995 from the Lawrence K. Miller Family, which had run The Eagle since the 19th century.
The Miller family bought the Clock Tower complex for $3.66 million from the Sheaffer-Eaton Company in 1987 and refurbished the property two years later to the tune of $23.7 million. But renovation debt and an economic downturn forced the family to sell not only the building, but its newspaper business, to MediaNews Group in 1995.
Carver said the Clock Tower complex is "structurally sound" and has "good bones" but is in need of renovation.
"I want to complement the original Miller family for making the purchase. They did a first-class job of renovating it," Carver said. "But that was almost 30 years ago and we need to make a lot of upgrades to the building especially in the area of energy conservation."
The original seven building Clock Tower complex was built by the Terry Clock Co. In the 1890s, it was acquired by Arthur W. Eaton and his associates who formed the Eaton Paper Company. At the time Eaton purchased the mill, it was the world's largest plant for converting fine stationary paper.
The Scheaffer-Eaton Company was created in 1976 when Eaton paper merged with the Sheaffer Pen Company of Iowa.
Contact Tony Dobrowolski at 413-496-6224.