Waterstone Retail Development to bring new proposal for Stanley Business Park

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PITTSFIELD — A Needham-based company will appear before the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority on Wednesday to pitch its third proposal in five years for a development at the William Stanley Business Park.

Waterstone Retail Development previously proposed retail centers at the 52-acre business park in 2011 and 2013 that, for a variety of reasons, have never panned out.

The meeting takes place at 8 a.m. in 1Berkshire's conference room at 66 Allen St.

It was unclear on Monday exactly what type of development that Waterstone is planning to propose. The company could not be reached for comment, and PEDA's Executive Director Cory Thurston declined to go into detail.

"We haven't seen the presentation," Thurston said.

However, Waterstone's new development is proposed for the same site that was considered in 2011 and 2013 — a 16.5 acre parcel known as "the teens" that is the Stanley Business Park's largest building lot.

The site is located between Woodlawn Avenue, Tyler Street and the CSX Railroad tracks and contains a jumble of concrete building foundations that General Electric left behind when ownership of that parcel was turned over to PEDA in February 2012.

A quasi-public agency, PEDA is charged with the development of the Stanley Business Park, which is located on the site of GE's former power transformer facility.

Due to its prior use, the Stanley Business Park is zoned for industry. Retail was not one of the original uses slated for the Stanley Business Park, and with industrially zoned land in the city now at a premium, both of Waterstone's prior proposals have been criticized by those who believe the park's building sites should be reserved solely for industrial concerns.

A public forum on the second project that took place at City Hall in September 2013 drew about 100 residents and others. Some of the speakers said they would welcome the project, but many others urged PEDA to keep trying to find manufacturing tenants at the park.

Waterstone's first proposal, announced in December 2011, called for the creation of a 170,000-square-foot, multi-tenant shopping center that the developer said could bring 150 jobs to the city. That proposal fell apart when the proposed anchor tenant halted its national expansion plans due to the faltering economy.

In 2013, Waterstone proposed a 200,000-square-foot building occupied by a single tenant that would bring 200 mostly full-time jobs to Pittsfield, create 350 construction jobs over a two-year period and bring $300,000 in tax revenue to the city.

That project was put on hold in November 2013 when Waterstone said it wasn't willing to proceed at that time.

Contact Tony Dobrowolski at 413-496-6224.


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