Wayfair finalizes location of Pittsfield facility

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PITTSFIELD Wayfair's new sales and service facility in Pittsfield will be located in the Clock Tower Business Center on South Church Street, company officials said Friday.

The Boston-based seller of online furnishings has officially finalized a lease with the business center's owner, CT Management, and plans to utilize 40,000-square-feet inside the cavernous multi-building complex, which was originally built for use as a clock factory in 1883.

The call center will be situated in building three, which is located between The Berkshire Eagle's offices and the Clock Tower Condominium complex. No further details on the lease were released on Friday.

"We expect to move in this fall," said Wayfair spokeswoman Molly Delaney.

Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer called news of the finalized location "a great way to start the weekend."

Wayfair announced in December that it planned to establish a call center in Pittsfield that would employ 300 people.

After the announcement took place, it was discovered that Wayfair had been hit with a class-action lawsuit filed in federal court in Boston that alleged the company and three of its officers committed securities fraud.

In January, Tyer said she was not concerned by the allegations contained in the complaint because they had no bearing on whether Wayfair would be coming to Pittsfield. City officials were not involved in the lease negotiations, Tyer said. She didn't know why it took two months to finalize a lease for the site.

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"I don't, and I'm not sure that it matters at this point," Tyer said. "What we're excited about is that Wayfair will be located in a downtown building with a long history of being an anchor in our community. I'm looking forward to when we welcome them and celebrate their opening."

Discussions about Wayfair coming to Pittsfield began last March, and the Clock Tower Business Center was one of a"number of locations" that city officials had shown the company, Tyer said.

The establishment of the Pittsfield call center is part of a larger Wayfair initiative that is also expected to bring at least 3,000 new jobs to Boston. Wayfair, which hired some 2,000 employees in Boston alone last year, received a $31.4 million state tax break to finance the entire project. It is one of the largest tax breaks ever awarded by the Massachusetts Economic Coordinating Council, which is the state's corporate tax program.

Wayfair was co-founded in 2002 by Niraj Shah, who grew up in Pittsfield where his father worked as an engineer for General Electric. Shah and Wayfair's other founder, Steve Conine, met in the 1990s while they were students at Cornell University.

The finalization of Pittsfield's call center location came on the same day that Wayfair announced it had posted the company's best ever revenue growth during the fourth quarter of 2018, while absorbing a significant financial loss at the same time.

Wayfair's net revenue increased by 40 percent year-over-year during the fourth quarter, the biggest quarterly year-over-year dollar growth in company history, according to the Boston Business Journal.

At the same time, Wayfair's net loss for the fourth quarter was $144 million, exactly double its loss for the same time period in 2017, the Journal reported. The company lost $504 million in 2018 due to an increase in operating expenses, including a significant increase in advertising.

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


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