|Waterstone Will Continue to Pursue Pittsfield Project|
|By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff|
11:34AM / Wednesday, November 15, 2017
|The 16.5 acre parcel known as the teens is still eyed for development by Waterstone.|
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Waterstone fully intends to move forward with a development at the William Stanley Business Park.
The company has spent five years and hundreds of thousands of dollars designing the project, which had been aimed at bringing a Walmart Supercenter to the 16.5-acre site known as the teens.
However, Walmart has since backed out of the project and Waterstone is now proceeding with confidence that another one of its retail clients will become the anchor.
"We are proceeding with the project. We are moving forward as planned without a business agreement with Walmart," said Waterstone Principal Anton Melchionda on Wednesday.
That does not necessarily mean Walmart is out, but it leaves a question of what tenant could be there. Waterstone has worked with hundreds of clients on developments like the Woodlawn Crossing project. Waterstone has a lease and sales agreement on the location and has put some $65,000 as a down payment.
"We have relationships with hundreds of retailers, many of whom have expressed interest in the site," Melchionda said.
Melchionda said Waterstone hasn't had a business agreement with Walmart for at least six months. The company had been waiting for Walmart's approval to move forward with permitting. Eventually, Waterstone opted to continue with the permitting process, with the Walmart plans essentially being a placeholder for whatever retailer it ultimately signs an agreement with to occupy the location.
Melchionda said changes will be made as the process unfolds.
The company submitted plans for the project on Monday.
The plans clearly identified and show Walmart as the tenant but shortly after reports appeared in the media about the filing, Walmart released a statement saying it no longer planned to relocate its Pittsfield store.
"Waterstone's decision to proceed with entitlement was their own. We no longer plan to relocate our store in Pittsfield. However, we are committed to continuing our investment and community involvement in Western Massachusetts," reads a statement from Phillip Keene, director of corporate communications for Walmart, released Tuesday evening.
"We operate more than 50 Walmart stores and Sam's Clubs in Massachusetts and we continue to execute our plan to invest across the state this year by remodeling locations, introducing and expanding Online Grocery Pick-Up to new stores in Western Massachusetts, and opening new associate training academies. We remain very grateful for the support and professionalism of Pittsfield's leadership while we worked through the development process and we look forward to continuing to serve our customers at our existing location in the city and online at Walmart.com."
Walmart has scaled back significantly the number of Supercenters it plans to build this year.