PITTSFIELD — A pair of New York brothers plan to build a $2.8 million cannabis cultivation facility across the street from the Berkshire Innovation Center.
Board members of the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority voted unanimously Tuesday to advance an option agreement with Jeremy and Phil Silverman, the brothers behind a new cannabis company, Berkshire Kind Inc. The agreement initiates the sale of a 1.5-acre parcel near the corner of Woodlawn Avenue and East Street to the Silvermans.
The facility, expected to create about 20 jobs over the next two years, is the latest move in a citywide effort to draw in new business, build Pittsfield's tax base and generate new employment. The industrial park was once home to General Electric Co., which in its heyday employed thousands at the site.
PEDA Chairman Mick Callahan said the Tuesday vote empowers the authority's Executive Director Corydon Thurston to move forward with paperwork for the sale. Callahan declined to disclose the agreed-upon purchase price for the property until the paperwork is officially signed.
The brothers agreed to submit a nonrefundable $10,000 deposit on the property. The agreement also allows the company to move forward toward local and state permitting, the applications for which are site-specific. The 20,000-square-foot building would exist solely for the cultivation of "craft cannabis," the Silverman brothers said. Their business model is to sell cannabis flower directly to dispensaries.
"There's a significant lack of supply in the cannabis market," Phil said. "As more dispensaries open, there just needs to be more supply to provide them with."
The building will reside in "site four" of the park, a triangular parcel opposite the impending BIC, which is slated to open in January.
The cannabis facility should be up and running in about a year, the brothers said.
The first phase of the plan is to build the shell for the whole 20,000 square feet of space, but to only build out 10,000 square feet for the first year of cultivation. Then, they said, they aim to reinvest their first year of profits and embark on phase two, doubling down on their initial $2.8 million investment.
The facility is expected to create 12 full-time jobs initially, and then an additional 8 to 10 once they move into the project's second phase. Plus, they said, there are also likely to be part-time positions available.
Jeremy, 41, said he learned how to grow while attending college in Colorado and has a background in project management. He said he and his brother were drawn to Pittsfield because of the shovel-ready site offered at the park. Plus, he said it offered utilities, parking and the opportunity to work with a supportive community.
"All those things were very optimal for development of a site," he said.
Jeremy said the plan is to install odor mitigation technology, "so you won't know from outside the facility what we're doing."
They said the deal was helped along by Business Development Manager Michael Coakley, hired under Mayor Linda Tyer to usher in new businesses. Coakley said he learned through 1Berkshire in May that the brothers were interested in coming to Pittsfield and discussions evolved from there.
Jeremy lives in the capital region, he said, and Phil, who has a background in finance and investment management, lives in New York City.
Amanda Drane can be contacted at email@example.com, @amandadrane on Twitter, and 413-496-6296.