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MassDevelopment, Urban Land Institute Panel Assist Pittsfield in Planning Strong Connections to Downtown

April 4, 2012


Contacts:
Kelsey Abbruzzese, MassDevelopment, 617-330-2086 & 617-448-9077
Matt Ellis, Urban Land Institute, 617-278-6560

As part of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Boston District Council's Technical Assistance Panel (TAP) program, a group of ULI Boston members convened in Pittsfield on March 29 to explore how to create connections between various corridors in its downtown. After touring the West Street corridor, the Panel recommended providing incentives to redevelop land at the corner of West Street and Edwin Street, expanding the presence of art-related activities, and creating a greenway along West Street from Park Square to the west branch of the Housatonic River behind the Eagle building.

“Pittsfield stakeholders have a great deal of commitment to their City, and I applaud them for taking advantage of this unique service to discover ways to connect the downtown,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Marty Jones. “We look forward to seeing how this hub of the Berkshires develops its center.”

In addition to the professionals assembled for the panel, city officials, the Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Pittsfield, Inc, and others attended and spent part of the day touring the West Street corridor.

“This TAP presented an excellent opportunity for Pittsfield to take a fresh look at the connection to the water and the possibility of market-rate housing downtown,” said ULI-Boston Executive Director Stephanie Wasser. “Our members found the Pittsfield charette an extremely interesting and rewarding challenge.”

The day’s work focused on creating a short- and long-term vision to link downtown with the neighborhood just beyond the KB Toys building. The full report is posted at www.cityofpittsfield.org. The pro bono consulting by ULI Boston members, a partnership with MassDevelopment, provides objective, expert advice to municipal and community-based organizations on the feasibility, design, and/or implementation of development initiatives at no charge to the communities.

“The city greatly values the perspectives these professionals have provided and the commitment of their time and expertise to help Pittsfield continue its urban renaissance,” said Mayor Daniel L. Bianchi. “This work lays the foundation for extending the success of downtown to the west end of our urban center.”

The Urban Land Institute is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit research and education organization supported by its members. The Boston District Council, with nearly 1,100 members, holds a prominent spot in the Urban Land Institute’s top five District Councils globally. ULI Boston provides a unique membership opportunity crossing all sectors, disciplines, and product types within the real estate industry. Using this interdisciplinary approach, ULI examines land use issues, impartially reports findings, and convenes forums to find solutions.

MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, financial institutions, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2011, MassDevelopment financed or managed more than 300 projects generating investment of $3.8 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are projected to create more than 10,000 jobs (2,547 permanent and 8,129 construction), and build or rehabilitate more than 1,000 residential units.