'It made economic sense': MountainOne buying its own financial center

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PITTSFIELD — Seven years after opening a financial center in the William Stanley Business Park of the Berkshires, MountainOne is planning to take sole ownership of that structure.

The North Adams-based financial services firm is purchasing the $2 million structure from Pittsfield Stanley Works LLC, whose principal, developer Eric Taylor of Peru, originally constructed the building that opened seven years ago this month. Pittsfield Stanley Works had subleased the building to MountainOne.

To pave the way for the transaction, the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority on Monday approved the assignment of the ground lease on the financial center's parcel from Pittsfield Stanley Works to MountainOne. PEDA, the quasi-public agency charged with the 52-acre Stanley Business Park's development, owns the land.

"A paragraph in the ground lease requires our approval," PEDA's Executive Director Cory Thurston said during Monday's board meeting.

The sale is expected to close within two weeks, said MountainOne President and Chief Operating Officer Robert J. Fraser. He declined to provide the purchase price.

MountainOne was interested in buying the property because it would rather own the building than lease it, Fraser said.

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"Eric's been a longtime customer of ours," Fraser said. "We had a good dialogue with him and the opportunity to sell the building came up. It made economic sense for us."

He said MountainOne is not planning any changes to the building. MountainOne has a 99-year ground lease that includes two 24-year extensions with PEDA on the financial center's parcel, according to Fraser.

Taylor, who owns the Proprietor's Lodge in Pittsfield and the Lake House in Lanesborough, also operates his own general contracting firm, Restorations Inc. of Hinsdale. He did not return a phone call seeking comment.

The agreement to sell did not involve a lot of discussion.

"This came together in about a week and a half, total," said PEDA Board Chairman Maurice Callahan. The board scheduled a special meeting to approve the assignment of the ground lease, because the two parties didn't want to wait until PEDA's next regularly scheduled board meeting on June 19.

MountainOne's financial center is 26 feet high at its tallest point and contains 42.4 tons of structural steel. It was built under green building specifications — all of the concrete used in both the foundation and the building contain a high percentage of recycled materials. The structure's steel beams are made of recycled steel. The building also contains recycled aluminum and has a state-of-the-art heating and cooling system. Forty percent of the structure is made of glass. It was the first building to open at the Stanley Business Park.

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


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