Pittsfield hotel owner scoops up adjoining Berkshire Common complex

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PITTSFIELD — The owner of the former Crowne Plaza Hotel has purchased the adjacent three-story Berkshire Common complex at 2 South St. for $900,000.

2 South Street LLC, managed by hotel owner Anil Sachdev of Brooklyn, N.Y., purchased the complex, a mix of office and retail spaces, from Bercom LLC of Latham, N.Y., Oct. 31, according to documents filed at the Middle Berkshire Registry of Deeds in Pittsfield. No mortgage was filed with the deed.

The transaction occurred despite a legal dispute that broke out last month when developer David Ward of Stone Path Development in Lenox, who had been negotiating to buy the Berkshire Common, sued Bercom in Central Berkshire District Court.

Ward claimed he had been misled by the building's owner.

At issue was a "right of first refusal" that Bercom granted to Sachdev in August and that Ward claimed went into effect after he had signed a purchase and sales agreement with Bercom and provided a $10,000 nonrefundable deposit to be placed in escrow to buy the property.

Berkshire Hospitality Group, the Sachdev-led entity that owns the hotel, exercised that right of first refusal, according to court documents.

Sachdev declined to be interviewed, but in a statement said 2 South Street LLC purchased the Berkshire Common in accordance with agreements between Berkshire Hospitality Group and Bercom LLC.

"We believe that the sale will be beneficial to the tenants and anticipate making substantial improvements to the parking garage, hotel and office building over the next several months," he said.

Attorney Andrew Hochberg of Pittsfield, who represents Ward and Stone Path Development, told The Eagle last month the lawsuit was filed in such a manner that anyone who purchases the property knows that it is subject to a potential claim.

Sachdev decided to close on the property anyway, then deal with the ramifications of the lawsuit later, according to people familiar with the situation.

Although the complaint asserts that Ward holds a right to buy the property, it doesn't include a restraining order or other legal mechanism that prevents Bercom from selling the office complex or Sachdev from buying it.

Hochberg could not be reached Friday for comment.

Bercom, which had owned the Berkshire Common since 1998, faced a number of issues in recent years, including delinquent property taxes to the city of Pittsfield and revocation of its corporation status in Massachusetts.

According to the deed, 2 South St. LLC has agreed to pay the city of Pittsfield $131,163 in outstanding property tax revenue that Bercom owes on the Berkshire Common dating back to 2016.

The city sold the debt to a private company at a tax lien auction last month. But when the company declined to close on the transaction, that debt reverted back to the city, according to the Pittsfield tax collector's office. The outstanding tax debt, which had risen to $131,000 as of Friday, will be paid out of the purchase price for the hotel.

The hotel and complex were originally owned by different entities of the same ownership group, which included Bercom.

But the bank that held the $16.5 million mortgage on the 14-floor hotel foreclosed on the property in 2017. Berkshire Hospitality Group purchased the structure for $1.1 million at a foreclosure auction last year. The Berkshire Common was not included in the foreclosure sale.

The complex, which has 24 tenants, has recently faced a variety of infrastructure issues including problems with the heat, air conditioning, elevator service and leaky pipes. One tenant, Cafe Namaste was forced to close temporarily in August due to problems with a leaky overhead drain pipe. Last week its owner decided to shut the business down.

The former Crowne Plaza, now known as the Berkshire Plaza Hotel, is undergoing a $2 million to $3 million conversion into a Holiday Inn & Suites. In January, representatives of Berkshire Hospitality Group said it expected the conversion to be completed by the end of this year.

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


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