Space: The final frontier

Sunday, Sept. 27
PITTSFIELD -- Although Sabic Innovative Plastics has decided to remain at its current headquarters on Plastics Avenue, the company does expect to reduce the amount of space that it uses in that cavernous complex, company spokeswoman Jodi Kennedy said.

"We expect to reduce the footprint to better match our workforce needs," Kennedy said via e-mail.

Sabic is currently working on redesigning the site, and soliciting ideas from employees, "to ensure that we design the most effective and collaborative work space for our people," Kennedy said.

Following several months of consideration and analysis, Sabic announced that it plans to remain at its current world headquarters, which also served a similar purpose for its predecessor, General Electric's plastics unit. Sabic Plastics took over that property in 2007 when its parent company, Sabic Basic Industries, purchased GE Plastics for $11.6 billion.

Sabic Plastics' world headquarters consists of two structures, one three-stories, the other two stories, that have a combined total of 160,867 square feet, according to the Pittsfield Board of Assessors. The two-story building, the newer of the two structures, was built by GE in 1984. That building's total value is assessed by the city at $141,136.

When Sabic laid off 40 of its 300 Pittsfield employees last December, company officials said they were considering either reducing the footprint of its headquarters facility, leasing another building from the city, or building a new structure in Pittsfield.

There were rumors earlier this year that Sabic was considering the KB Toys building on West Street, which the company vacated after it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last December and went out of business.

Kennedy said Sabic considered several buildings "in the Pittsfield area", but declined to say if the KB Toys building was one of them.

"As you can imagine, significant consideration must be given when contemplating a potential site relocation," Kennedy said. "We took the time necessary to thoroughly analyze all of our options."

"Like any company, we worked hard to select a location that most efficiently met our business requirements," she said.

The decision to remain on Plastics Avenue will not change Sabic's current employment levels.

"No," Kennedy said. "Our analysis/decision was strictly based on business requirements for our facility."

Sabic had also been considering moving its polymer processing development facility on East Street to either another location in the Berkshires, or near a similar facility that it owns in Selkirk, N.Y. But those plans may also have changed.

"At this stage, we do not have plans to move the PPDC outside of Pittsfield," Kennedy said.


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