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Massachusetts storage center expected to spur redevelopment

Massachusetts business investors and others who view re-zoning as a means to spur economic growth will be interested to hear of the proposed plans for a new development in Pittsfield. The owners of what was once Pittsfield Plaza at 434 W. Housatonic St. (Route 20) have introduced plans for a new self-storage facility and remodeling of the shopping center at the location.

The group planned to appear before the Zoning Board on Aug. 14, at which time they planned to ask for a zoning variance on the property. A previously requested building permit was denied on the grounds that a self-storage facility is not allowed in a "business commercial" zoning district.

Plans for the center also call for extensive cosmetic and functional upgrading of the property, rental of the existing shopping plaza commercial spaces and construction of an office and apartment for the future property caretaker. The storage facility is expected to fill the anticipated need for storage space required by business tenants of the shopping plaza and general public. In addition, around-the-clock security would be provided for the businesses.

According to a spokesperson, community feedback is very much in favor of the proposal. She also stated that the plan has been discussed with two strong proposed anchor tenants. She stated her hope that the zoning approval could lead the way as a catalyst for future development.

Economic realities over the last several years have left certain areas a shadow of how they once appeared. Commercial real estate developments may prove to be a jump-start for revitalization of these areas. At times, such as in the case of the shopping center in this article, a zoning change may be all that stands in the path of future economic vitality. For a potential developer of land in Massachusetts, consulting with an attorney who understands the intricacies of zoning laws may prove to be an important step.

Source: The Berkshire Eagle, "Storage center seen as kick-start for Pittsfield plaza's redevelopment", Jim Therrien, August 07, 2013

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