Top Massachusetts officials gathered in Pittsfield today to celebrate new funding for the nascent Berkshire Innovation Center.
“On behalf of the citizens of Pittsfield, I extend my heartfelt gratitude to the commonwealth of Massachusetts, for believing in Pittsfield and the Berkshires," said Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer, introducing Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker as he took to the Pittsfield City Hall podium Friday morning in a rare visit to the Berkshires. "For recognizing the talent that will thrive here under the roof of the Berkshire Innovation Center. And for your generosity in funding this bold new initiative.”
In a room packed with dignitaries from around the state, Baker confirmed that after years of waiting, the Berkshire Innovation Center had been fully funded.
“Berkshire County has a long and cherished and significant history as a big player in manufacturing, and the opportunity to leap forward into the next generation of what advanced manufacturing and life sciences is go ing to be all about, and to be able to build on frankly a history and a knowledge base that already exists here and to transform it into the next level and the next generation of jobs and products and companies and opportunities is a very real and significant one,” Baker said.
The new Berkshire Innovation Center will be located in the William Stanley Business Park in Pittsfield, formerly part of the sprawling General Electric campus. The contrast between old and new in the city was not lost on State Senator Adam Hinds.
“I love the fact that it’s blossoming on the soil of the GE site, because absent that next GE, we know — the studies show that it’s investments in those small and middle sized companies and making sure that they have exactly what they need in advance technology and training," said Hinds. "It’s the right strategy, it’s the right industry, it’s the right location.”
Secretary of Housing and Economic Development for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Jay Ash broke down the sources of investment that made the project viable after years of funding gaps that left the project unfinished.
“$13.775 million. $12,025,000. Why $12,025,000? That’s what it takes to get it over the top, so. $12,025,000 from the Mass Life Sciences Center, $1 million from the city of Pittsfield. $450k from Mass Development Finance agency, and $300k from PEDA. Together, $13.775 million, together, a commitment that this community, this region, the entire commonwealth will benefit from,” Ash said.
With a goal to break ground this summer, a ribbon cutting ceremony on the steel structure of the building could come as soon as the third quarter of 2019.