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Rehabbed Greenfield building, now home to DA’s office, first to take advantage of state clean energy grant

September 8, 2021 : Mass Live, by Jim Kinney

GREENFIELD — Bradley McCallum says buying what was in 2008 a dilapidated warehouse at 56 Bank Row was “the most expensive $120,000 I ever spent.”

“It’s become an epic journey to get to the finish line. We are now officially there,” the artist turned property developer said Tuesday.

He’s planned a ribbon-cutting Wednesday for the $4.8 million renovation, now a 12,696-square-foot office building leased long-term to the Northwestern district attorney.

On Tuesday, MassDevelopment announced that McCallum’s company, Abercrombie Greenfield LLC, received $450,000 in financing for energy improvements to the building through the new Property Assessed Clean Energy program.

McCallum also announced the completion of the most recent phase of construction: the rehab of the building’s fourth floor. In the short term it will be studio and storage space for McCallum’ career as a visual artist. In the long term, he said, the district attorney’s office will likely expand there.

McCallum thanked his lenders at Berkshire Bank, Tom Douglas Architects of Northampton and a general contractor Mowery & Schmidt of Greenfield.

Known as the Abercrombie Building, 56 Bank Row is a former liquor warehouse built in 1896. The building is just a few blocks from the Franklin County Criminal Justice Center.

This is the first project funded under PACE, MassDevelopment said. Through the program, developers like McCallum can finance energy-efficiency improvements without adding new debt to their balance sheet and through longer financing terms of up to 20 years, MassDevelopment said. Financing for the Bank Row project comes from Greenworks Lending, part of the financial firm Nuveen.

Started in 2020, PACE requires towns and cities to opt in. Of the 47 cities and towns across the state that have opted into the program, more than a third are in Western Massachusetts, a list that includes Springfield, Chicopee, Holyoke and West Springfield. Greenfield was one of the earliest commutes to sign on, doing so in April 2018.

McCallum said PACE is especially useful because he was able to refinance work that had already been completed over the past few years, including new insulation and LED lighting that is more efficient.

In 2019, local company PV Squared installed a 30.96-kilowatt roof-mounted solar array.

MassDevelopment said the energy improvements are projected to save 189,000 kilowatt-hours from the grid annually compared to a building built to the current Massachusetts energy efficiency code. This equates to a 28% overall reduction.

“PACE Massachusetts stands to be a key financing tool for making commercial properties more energy efficient,” said state economic development secretary Mike Kennealy, who serves as chair of MassDevelopment’s board of directors, in a written statement. “These efforts will benefit the Commonwealth and its communities by creating jobs, reducing energy consumption, and making progress towards Massachusetts’ clean energy goals.”

MassDevelopment administers PACE in consultation with the state Department of Energy Resources. More information about the program is available at massdevelopment.com/PACE.