Update Tuesday On Redevelopment Of Former GE Site In Pittsfield
Massachusetts and the city of Pittsfield are set to announce Tuesday a step forward in redeveloping a former industrial site through the MassDevelopment Site Readiness Program.
Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer alluded to developments at the former General Electric complex in her state of the city address in February.
“Over at the William Stanley Business Park you will begin to see planning and activity at Site Nine," said the mayor. "This is the parcel that Walmart considered for a new superstore. We have been working very closely with our local and state partners to move towards significant improvements to make the parcel ready for redevelopment. So stay tuned for more details.”
GE was the economic lifeblood of the region in its mid-20th century heyday, and left unemployment and polluted land and water behind when it began dramatically reducing its workforce at the end of the 1980s. The leftover sprawling campus on East Street reflects the void the company left in the community.
“Now it's an open concrete space, there are large deserted buildings. And so it is a bit of a memorial to an economic past. And overcoming that and getting it ready for new investments and new businesses has been difficult because of the pretty significant hurdles," said Democratic State Senator Adam Hinds of the Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin and Hampden district. “And so we're talking about a vast space. Site Nine is nearly 300,000 square feet of industrial space and open space. And so it's, it's very large, and that's only one portion.”
State and city leaders heralded the opening of the Berkshire Innovation Center in the William Stanley Business Park in early 2020.
“It's a nice follow up to the Innovation Center, to the BIC announcement and development and that that, of course, came online about one month before COVID hit and so all the more reason that it will feel like when we're on the other side of COVID, we’ll have these strong pillars in place so that we can continue our growth,” said Hinds.
The virtual state announcement includes representatives from Belchertown, Brockton, Burlington, Fairhaven, Gloucester, Lawrence, Leicester, Palmer, and Southwick as well as Pittsfield.
“We’re at a moment when we're continuing the process of a transition from previous economic anchors in our cities, in Pittsfield, in particular, to a new era of development," Hinds told WAMC. "And honestly, it requires serious investment to do the remediation and design and the like. And so that's often where it's critical to have state dollars kind of reach into these very central economic development projects here in the city. And so that's what the site readiness funds will be used for, designing for environmental permitting and really getting it ready for a bidding. And the city has exciting plans for the space. And finally, we can move from a bit of an eyesore from the GE era to a reimagining of our economic development here in Pittsfield.”
Governor Charlie Baker’s press conference about the MassDevelopment Site Readiness Program is at 10 a.m. Tuesday, with Pittsfield holding its own briefing at noon.