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Pittsfield Fire Station Sparks Little Interest
By Jack Guerino, iBerkshires Staff
04:07PM / Wednesday, September 16, 2020
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The forlorn Morningside fire station has had only one spark of interest in more than three years.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The future of the Morningside fire station is looking dim.
 
The City Council last week was informed that there has been little to no interest in the deterioating structure. 
 
"As we all know this has been going on for a while," Ward 2 City Councilor Kevin Morandi said at Tuesday's meeting. "That building is not getting better sitting there."
 
The city has released requests for proposals on multiple occasions, the first one being in 2013 as well as subsequent ones in January 2014, March 2017, and in May 2017.
 
In these instances, there were either no bidders or no qualified bidders.
 
Director of Community Development Deanna Ruffer wrote in a letter to the council that most recently the project was put out to bid in March 2020 but only received one response from KLS Corporate Investments, which did not result in a purchase-and-sale agreement.
 
Ruffer stated that because of COVID-19, the evaluation process took longer than normal and the contractor did agree to hold its proposal for an additional 90 days. This date was June 17.
 
On Aug. 9, Ruffer said she received a communication form the contractor requesting a withdrawal. 
 
She did not indicate what the next steps were.
 
The 1906 building, which has not been used as a fire station since 1970, had been utilized over the intervening years for storage. It has decayed significantly since it was permanently closed in 2008. While structurally sound, the building suffers from an ailing roof, water leaks and other issues.
 
City officials in the past have indicated that if they do not receive any interest this time around, they would consider demolishing the historic structure. Morandi has pushed for the city to find an entity to invest in and save the Tyler Street structure.
 
The building was listed with a value of $111,300.
 
The council also approved a group of tax increment exemption (TIE) agreements that will help developers create market-rate housing on East Street and Tyler Street.
 
The first TIE agreement was for 730-748 Tyler St. Developer AM Management plans to invest $2,584,125 in 235 East St. to develop 27 units, 24 of which will be market-rate.
 
The agreement will provide an exemption on property taxes based on the growth portion in assessed valuation of the property at 100 percent for the first year and decrease 10 percent each year for 10 years, reaching 10 percent in year 10.
 
The second is a tax incentive agreement for 730-748 Tyler St. and 765 Tyler St. for Mill Town Capital.
 
The private investment group will develop two projects: the redevelopment of five adjourning parcels on 730-748 Tyler St and the construction of two new multifamily structures with parking in the rear. A 16-unit building will front on Tyler Street with four units in a separate building fronting on Forest Place. 
 
The project will create 20 units of market-rate rental housing. This project represents $6.3 million of capital investment.
 
The second project on 765 Tyler St will include the rehabilitation of an existing multifamily building -- $3.6 million will be invested to create 16 units of housing and two retail spaces.
 
The exemption would be scheduled the same as the East Street agreement and city assessors have estimated the value of the proposed TIE for 730-748 Tyler St. to be approximately $151,259. Mill Town Capital would pay approximately $209,429 in taxes over the 10-year term of the agreement. 446 dates. 
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