MassDevelopment and the City of Pittsfield have signed an agreement for the City to receive Transformative Development Initiative assistance for the Tyler Street neighborhood, which MassDevelopment chose as a TDI District in 2014. The Tyler Street neighborhood will be a thriving residential neighborhood linking a future innovation district and the Berkshire Medical Center, with stores within walking distance to meet daily needs. As part of the agreement, MassDevelopment will provide a district revitalization plan for Tyler Street; evaluate sites, properties, housing stock, and buildings for appropriate reuse; and hold workshops on historic building rehabilitation, business improvement districts, marketing, and small business development. This District follows the City’s significant and successful economic development efforts along North Street.
Mayor Bianchi stated, “Transforming the Tyler Street neighborhood and business district is a priority. In the past, resources have gone into updating North Street in Pittsfield and it is time we look into developing our other thriving neighborhoods. The Tyler Street neighborhood is the location of the future Berkshire Innovation Center as well as the William Stanley Business Park, General Dynamics and SABIC. The neighborhood is also home to a growing business group called the ‘Tyler Street Business Group’ which is made up of locally owned businesses. The MassDevelopment TDI District assistance will allow us to take the next steps in moving the Tyler Street neighborhood into its next phase. I look forward to the work that will be done with the Transformative Development Initiative and am excited to move Tyler Street forward.”
Diane Marcella, President of the Tyler Street Business Group, stated, “The Tyler Street Business Group is very excited about working with MassDevelopment and the City of Pittsfield to make Tyler Street the thriving business district we know it can be. We are thankful that MassDevelopment and the City of Pittsfield see our potential and recognize our enthusiasm to do what we need to do to make it happen. TDI is the beginning of our opportunity to get this started.”
Cory Thurston, Executive Director of the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority (PEDA) said, “I am very excited to partner with the City and the Tyler Street Business Group in this wonderful MassDevelopment initiative. The William Stanley Business Park is the largest area of developable land in the heart of Pittsfield and is a bookend of the Tyler Street District. It will help us define a planned approach to integrate, our commercial and light industrial development activities in a way that will help leverage private sector investment in the neighborhood”
All 10 TDI Districts will sign agreements with MassDevelopment regarding the initial assistance they will receive through TDI, and MassDevelopment is scheduling kickoff meetings with each district this summer. The two additional Gateway Cities selected for regional planning services, Everett and Malden, had an Urban Land Institute National Advisory Panel in June.
“The City of Pittsfield has taken a thoughtful, creative approach to transforming Tyler Street, which will drive the development potential of the former GE site,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Marty Jones. “We’re pleased to work with Mayor Bianchi and the Pittsfield partnership team on their vision for the neighborhood and how best to use the resources of this important Gateway City.”
The 10 Districts in Development for the program’s pilot year were chosen from the 26 Gateway Cities’ submissions to the 2014 Call for Districts, in which all identified local collaborative partnerships, strategic district visions, and community engagement plans. Gateway Cities that were not designated this pilot year are eligible and encouraged to submit for future rounds. MassDevelopment has begun to put together a pipeline of potential equity investments in all districts submitted to gauge development needs for future funding. All 26 Gateway Cities, in addition to all Massachusetts cities and towns, will continue to receive and be eligible for typical MassDevelopment services.
TDI provides resources for all Gateway Cities with Cowork grants for innovative collaborative workspaces, and small Placemaking grants of $1,000 to $10,000 for small-scale projects supportive of district visions to help build community identity while supporting improvement of public spaces—such as pocket parks, pop-up stores, community gardens, and farmers’ markets.
MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, financial institutions, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2014, MassDevelopment financed or managed 314 projects generating investment of more than $2.9 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are projected to create more than 6,300 jobs and build or rehabilitate more than 1,600 residential units.