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Pittsfield Historical Commission OKs GE Demos
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
05:35AM / Thursday, February 01, 2024
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Building 12 is at the bottom, the middle structure is Building 100, and the top is Building 14.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The former General Electric campus continues to be chipped away as two more building demolitions are planned next to Site 9.

The Historical Commission on Monday gave the OK for demolition requests for Buildings 12 and 14, located along Tyler Street Extension and the railway. Building 100 sits between the two and is not part of the project.

The environmental abatement and demolition of the buildings will be done by Brandenburg Industrial Service Co. of Bethlehem, Pa. It will remove multiple contaminants and the structures down to the slab and cap the waste consolidation areas.

"To be simple about it, they're ugly," Project Manager Glenn Milarczyk said of the two structures.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved GE's work plan to demolish the buildings and consolidate debris within the subsurface vaults located in the buildings. Work is expected to begin in the spring.

"The buildings no longer serve any commercial purpose and will be deconstructed," the demolition delay application reads.

The approximately 176,000-square-foot Building 12 was originally constructed in 1914 with additions in 1925 and 1949.

It housed several manufacturing operations throughout the years. GE's Power Transformer Department operated the final assembly, testing, and shipping of large transformers until 1968 and from then to 1986, the department operated a vacuum tank and bushing assembly operations. The building also has a second-floor office.

The building was mainly used for equipment storage in the last decades.

The approximately 278,000-square-foot Building 14 was completed in 1931.

From that time to 1986, it was mainly used for transformer tank assembly and operation of the machine shop that prepared components of transformers and small parts. By 1990 it was primarily used for equipment storage.

Materials including liquids, light bulbs, and asbestos-containing materials will be removed and shipped offsite for disposal.

Commissioner Carol Nichols recognized that this is an "incredible undertaking."

"I certainly appreciated the complexity of the description of what you guys are going to be doing with all the materials," she said.

While these properties are still owned by GE, the abutting parcels have been transformed into the William Stanley Business Park, and Site 9 is on the brink of a dramatic renovation.

After a $9.8 million bid was awarded, work began on the 16-acre parcel at the corner of Woodlawn Avenue and Tyler Street Extension. Once the concrete surface that has been described as "the face of the moon" and a "scar" is remediated, final plans include areas of green space and roadways for traveling within the parcel.

The project was fully funded earlier this year. The last of the funding includes $400,000 of Pittsfield Economic Development Authority foundation funds, $1.3 million in GE landscaping funds, and $4.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds.

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