Greystone Building sells for $2.3M

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PITTSFIELD Properties in downtown Pittsfield are continuing to attract out-of-state investment.

Whaling Properties of Pittsfield has sold the four-story Greystone Building at North Street and Maplewood Avenue to two New York City-area investors for $2.275 million, according to documents on file at the Berkshire Middle District Registry of Deeds. It is the fourth building in downtown Pittsfield to be purchased in the last 17 months by investors who are originally from outside Massachusetts.

New owners William Gioielli and Cole Ungar, the managers of Greystone Residences LLC, are both employees of Delshah Capital, a New York City-based commercial real estate firm, who run their own real estate business, Skytop Properties, Gioielli said. Skytop Properties will manage the Greystone Building, according to Gioielli. The new owners have obtained a $2.1 million mortgage on the property from NBT Bank.

The Greystone Building contains 18 apartments on its three upper floors and three small retail businesses on the ground floor, including the popular Dottie's Coffee Lounge and Mission Bar + Tapas. Those two businesses have been major contributors to the resurgence of the upper North Street area.

"We're not planning on doing anything to effect the residences or the retail tenants," Gioielli said in a telephone interview. "We are planning on doing upgrades to the building. It's a little premature to know exactly what we're going to do. We plan on assessing the building. There are some old systems in there."

Gioielli, who lives in New Jersey, and New York City-resident Ungar, who grew up in Great Barrington, also purchased a building on Wendell Avenue in Pittsfield a few months ago.

"We generally like the Pittsfield market," said Gioielli, who is the vice president of asset management at Delshah Capital. "I think there are a lot of good things happening. We like the downtown central business district."

Regarding the Greystone Building in particular, Gioielli said, "I think it's a great building, an iconic building for the town. It's been under great management for years."

George Whaling, the principal of Whaling Properties, owned six buildings in downtown Pittsfield seven years ago, but now owns only one, the building at 395 North St. that contains the bar Methuselah. The Greystone Building, which used to house the office of Whaling Properties, was one of the first commercial structures that the company bought in downtown Pittsfield. In April, Whaling Properties sold a three-story office/retail/commercial building on 34 Depot St. for $1.4 million to a group from Katonah, N.Y.

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"It's 'we buy, we manage, we make improvements, and then we sell,'" Whaling said. "It's the life of the real estate and the life of our business model."

However, Whaling described the sale of the Greystone Building as "very emotional for me," because it was one of his company's first "forays" into Pittsfield. "It had a lot of influence in transforming North Street," he said.

Although Whaling Properties has downsized its downtown portfolio, Whaling's company is still going strong. In April, Whaling told The Eagle his firm is focusing on investing in mobile-home parks, especially in New York state, where the assets can reach their appropriate value in a shorter amount of time.

"We're finding other opportunities within the mobile-homes space; essentially it's a shift of equity into a different market class," he said Monday.

Whaling Properties, which has moved its office from the Greystone Building to 34 Depot St., doubled its staff in the 30 months before April.

"Whaling is not leaving Pittsfield," Whaling said. "As a matter of fact, we've increased our head count by four people over the last two months."

Of the two other downtown Pittsfield buildings that recently changed hands, one new owner is originally from the state of Florida, while the other is an Otis resident originally from Brooklyn, N.Y.

"I think you're seeing people from the (New York City) area purchasing up there, because pricing in the city and the surrounding area is getting very, very expensive," Gioielli said. "People like me and Cole know the Berkshires well. It's a good opportunity to buy something out of the area."

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


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