City of Pittsfield and PEDA Awarded $9.7 Million for Innovation Center

Governor Deval Patrick, and the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC), announced today the Center’s approval of a $9.7 million capital grant for the construction of a new Berkshire Innovation Center in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

Through the MLSC, Massachusetts is investing $1 billion over 10 years in the growth of the state’s life sciences super cluster. These investments are being made under the Massachusetts Life Sciences Initiative, proposed by Governor Patrick in 2007, and passed by the state Legislature and signed into law by Governor Patrick in 2008. Since 2008, the MLSC has awarded or committed more than $520 million, including nearly $400 million to support capital projects, creating over 1.3 million square feet of new educational, research, and manufacturing space all across the commonwealth, and creating thousands of jobs.

“Our Life Sciences strategy is about choosing to shape our future - investing today to leave a better Commonwealth for the next generation,” said Governor Patrick. “This investment supports the kind of innovation that propels our economy forward, and demonstrates that we are making investments in Life Sciences growth across the entire Commonwealth.”

Mayor Bianchi stated, “In Pittsfield we have a rich legacy of manufacturing and innovation.  The Berkshire Innovation Center will allow us to write the next chapter in that legacy.  I appreciate the partnership that I have formed with Governor Patrick and believe that this initiative will be a significant game changer for Pittsfield and Berkshire County.”

“Governor Patrick recognized life science as being important for the Commonwealth.  He had a vision of making Massachusetts the life science capital of the world.  I have been speaking with him for the past two years about making Pittsfield the western most corridor of that life science capital.” said Bianchi.

He added, “The Center will allow for growth of existing Pittsfield small businesses in the applied material sector of life sciences.  These businesses will be able to better develop and provide innovative components for the life science industry. The strength of our proposal hinged on the great partnership we forged with many of the innovative plastic companies in Pittsfield, as well as some of our larger traditional employers. Additional partners in higher education and research from both Massachusetts and New York complimented this proposal. These partners will be joined with other outstanding small businesses in Berkshire County, and top regional and national businesses, in the applied material manufacturing field.”

“The Berkshire Innovation Center will serve not only as a perfect complement to the programming at Berkshire Community College and the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, but will also serve as a visionary complement to the career and vocational technical high school that we are currently envisioning at the Taconic Campus.” the Mayor commented.

Mayor Bianchi ended with, “The creation of the Berkshire Innovation Center will be an engine for growth that will redefine our region and enrich generations of young people to realize 21st Century careers right here in Pittsfield.”

In June 2013, the City of Pittsfield received a $55k planning grant from the MLSC to conduct a study and create a business plan for the Berkshire Innovation Center. Today’s capital grant approval of $9.7 million (inclusive of the prior planning grant) will allow the project to move forward. The City of Pittsfield will be working with New England Expansion Strategies and the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority to develop and build the Berkshire Innovation Center.

The Berkshire Innovation Center will catalyze, enable and accelerate innovation and growth of existing companies in Western Massachusetts – primarily small to medium sized manufacturing companies (SME’s) in life sciences and the life sciences supply chain – with the ultimate objective of spurring economic growth, jobs, and investment in the region. The facility will enable shared research, early-stage production and commercialization, and workforce training.

Senator Downing said, “This investment highlights Governor Patrick's commitment to growing jobs and opportunity in new industries statewide.”

“A key strategy of the Life Sciences Center is to use our capital dollars to accelerate life sciences- driven economic development across the Commonwealth by engaging and building on regional strengths,” said Susan Windham-Bannister, Ph.D., President and CEO of the MLSC. “Our investment in the construction of the Berkshire Innovation Center, which focuses on the advanced manufacturing strengths of the region, is a great example of our strategy.”

“This is an exciting time for Pittsfield and the Berkshires,” Corydon Thurston, Executive Director of PEDA, said. “The opportunity to build a new economic engine that will create jobs by enabling existing businesses and, mentoring new startup companies, is simply outstanding. The Center will offer state of the art equipment, technical assistance, laboratory and clean room space, high speed broadband connectivity, educational and job training programs that will make it a unique model in Massachusetts and will complement the Life Science ecosystem that the Governor and the MLSC have created throughout the Commonwealth.”

“New England Expansion Strategies is proud to have participated in the development of the Berkshire Innovation Center business plan and I am truly excited for the entire Berkshire Region about the MLSC Board’s decision to fund this project” said Rod Jané, President of New England Strategies. “The high level of enthusiasm and commitment demonstrated by the private sector companies and research and education partners has been encouraging and gives everyone optimism that the BIC will become a successful economic catalyst for the Berkshire Region.”

“This is good news for creating and keeping jobs in the Berkshires. This substantial state investment will also continue to strengthen our regional collaboration efforts in science and technology and with our partners in education,” said Gail Cariddi, State Representative, First Berkshire District.

“By partnering with our existing companies, this space will create the environment and room for their new innovative projects to flourish and grow. I am thrilled the MLSC has made this award.” Downing secured the capital spending authorization to support this project in the 2008 Life Sciences Bond Bill.

"This is another great example of how collaboration between local and state officials really pays off," said State Representative Tricia Farley-Bouvier. "The PEDA board brought in all the stakeholders, including those from academia and entrepreneurs to put together a plan that will jump start a long-dormant 52 acre site in the heart of Pittsfield." 

About The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center

The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) is an investment agency that supports life sciences innovation, research, development and commercialization. The MLSC is charged with implementing a 10-year, $1-billion, state-funded investment initiative. These investments create jobs and support advances that improve health and wellbeing.

The MLSC offers the nation’s most comprehensive set of incentives and collaborative programs targeted to the life sciences ecosystem. These programs propel the growth that has made Massachusetts the global leader in life sciences. The MLSC creates new models for collaboration and partners with organizations, both public and private, around the world to promote innovation in the life sciences.