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The South Street parcel in Pittsfield containing a controversial cell tower finds a new owner

Pittsfield cell tower

The property on South Street in Pittsfield that includes this cell tower that has irked city residents since it was constructed has been sold for $3 million.

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PITTSFIELD —  A South Street property housing a cell tower that has drawn the ire of Pittsfield residents has been sold for $3 million.

The 45-acre site at 877 South St. includes a pair of four-story multi-tenant office buildings connected by an atrium that includes over 31,000 square feet of leasable office space, according to a real estate listing.

John D. Jarrell of Coventry, R.I., who heads the new ownership group, 877 S St Pittsfield LLC, said the property will continued to be marketed as office space.

“Our intention was to continue to fill it and provide quality rental space for the area,” Jarrell said.

Jarrell is a biomedical engineer and doctor of medical science who holds a doctorate in biology from Brown University and runs Rhode Island-based Medical Sciences LLC.

According to its website, Jarrrell’s firm offers consultants in the biomedical, engineering and scientific fields.

The office buildings' current tenants include Berkshire County Arc, Elder Services of Berkshire County, Inc., Clinical & Support Options, Inc. and HospiceCare of the Berkshires.

The previous owner, Farley White Interests of Boston, purchased the South Street parcel for $1.05 million in 2011 from The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, according to documents at the Middle Berkshire Registry of Deeds in Pittsfield. Guardian had paid the Geary Corporation of Pittsfield $7.6 million for the property in 2001. The buildings were constructed in 1987, according to a real estate listing.

John Power, the principal of Farley White Interests, said selling the property now has been part of Farley White’s original investment plan. 

The cell tower at the rear of the property is the subject of a lawsuit filed by a group of city residents against the city of Pittsfield. It names the property’s former owner, a subsidiary of Farley White Interests, as one of the defendants. 

However, the ongoing litigation did not prevent the property from being sold, or have any effect on the lawsuit, said City Solicitor Stephen Pagnotta.

“In general, the litigation doesn’t involve the property,” Pagnotta said. "So there’s no claim seeking monetary compensation from Farley White. It’s not like the plaintiffs sued and there’s an attachment on the property, in which case the property could not be sold.”

Both Power and Jarrell declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Power did not respond to a question about whether Farley White had been considering ending the lease for the cell tower, as some residents have speculated.

In February, a Berkshire Superior Court judge will hear arguments on whether the lawsuit against city officials, the Pittsfield Board of Health, Verizon Wireless and Farley White South Street LLC should be dismissed.

In November, attorneys representing Pagnotta, Pittsfield Mayor Linda M. Tyer and the city’s Board of Health, argued that residents had failed to take their claims of ethical breaches by Pagnotta and Tyer to the appropriate officials — in this case the state Board of Bar Overseers and the Ethics Commission.

The lawyers from Donovan O’Connor and Dodig LLP went on to argue that the issues raised by the residents should first be heard and decided on by these two groups before the Superior Court decides whether or not to rule.

A central element of the residents’ suit is the claim that actions by Pagnotta and Tyer unlawfully forced the Board of Health to rescind an emergency order the board filed against Verizon Wireless in April.

The board unanimously voted to issue the emergency order against Verizon after more than a year of investigating reports from residents living near the tower that they’d been experiencing health problems since the tower began operating in August 2020.

Tony Dobrowolski can be reached at tdobrowolski@berkshireeagle.com or 413-496-6224.

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