NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Redevelopment Authority on Monday night swiftly approved the relocation of the Brien Center to the building now occupied by the North Adams Transcript at 124 American Legion Drive.
The three-man board has jurisdiction over a group of properties on the south side of Main Street including the former Kmart property.
The board had expected to meet on May 9 prior to the Planning Board but did not have a quorum.
The approval was a bit pro forma — the City Council has already approved a tax incentive agreement for Scarafoni Associates, which will purchase the property and invest $1 million into it and then lease it to the nonprofit Brien Center. The TIF requires the property to stay on the tax rolls for the next decade, netting about $21,000 a year for the city.
Mayor Richard Alcombright said he'd spoken with Brien Center's Executive Director Catherine A. Doherty months ago on how to keep the center's services in the city once its lease ran out on the Marshall Street building it currently occupies.
"We worked very hard together to make sure the Brien Center stayed in the city of North Adams because it provides a very important service for many clients in the community, and also that we were able to maintain them here because of the jobs that they provide," said the mayor.
The center employs 60 to 65 people full and part time; added to that will be the 10-member staff of the Adult Day Center, which will also move into the 16,000-square-foot Transcript building.
The deal maintains the building, the jobs in the downtown and ensures the city a quarter of a million dollars in tax revenue over the next decade, the mayor said.
Authority Chairman Paul Hopkins asked David Carver of Scarafoni Associates if the Transcript was expected to stay in the downtown area. Carver said yes and that he had approached the newspaper's management about what they would need for space when the building went up for sale two years ago.
Alcombright said having staff from the 170-year-old newspaper on Main Street was a good thing. "I think to have a daily in a community this size sends a strong message about who we are," said the mayor, comparing the paper to the hospital, college and airport.
"They understand the importance of that history so they are focusing on one of the spots on Main Street," said Carver.
Signage is the responsibility of the Brien Center and will be provided at a later date. Carver said he expected it would be similar to the logo used at its other locations.
The City Council actually approved the TIF agreement twice after MassDevelopment suggested minor changes to the language. The council also OK'd an application to designate the Transcript property as part of a economic opportunity area for the next 20 years to allow Scarafoni to apply for state incentives.
The TIF, MassDevelopment application and related documents can be found below.
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Poor Dick is such a fool. He has no clue that the Brien Center can't leave the City no matter what. He took care of Carver for his support with a nice sweet heart deal that jams it to the taxpayers. Well Dick you took care of the cops, firemen, teachers and city yard so why not finish it off with Carver. Keep up the good word Dick as you continue to run our city right into the ground and we are left holding the bag!
Editor: So, why can't the Brien Center leave North Adams to say, Adams? Is there a law stopping them? And why is it a bad thing to continue to get real estate taxes for 10 years rather than get nothing? I Agree (0) - I Disagree (0)
It's good to see jobs stay in North Adams. Considering The Transcript's parent company already ditched the printing operation, knowing that the rest of the staff will stay rather than just operating out of the Eagle is a good thing. Keeping the Brien Center and getting taxes on the building is far better than another vacant structure.
I'm not a huge Carver fan, but honestly, would you rather have the building either go empty when the Transcript moves or have the Brien Center buy it, which would take it off the tax rolls? I keep hearing people whine about Scarafoni Realty owning all of the downtown property, but no one else seems to be stepping forward to buy any, so what's the issue?
First of all the Brien Center has to remain in North Adams much the same way as it has to remain in Pittsfield. This is where their client base is and the State would frown on them not being where their clients are. All the improvements that Carver is making is being built into the lease payments so he will get that back plus a nice bonus of no tax increases. It is also my understanding that he also gets some type of tax credit from the state. Instead of continuing to try to protect the Mayor I would think that you(Editor) would do your homework and find out if there is also a state tax credit instead of being like the City Council and accept everything the Mayor says as being factual. He is very clever in that he never tells the full story when he presents issues to the Council, press or public. To NAer I would suggest that you also do your homework. What you see today may not be what happens tomorrow. Who would have ever thought that the buildings that now house Mass Moca would someday be home to a museum. Unfortunately this Mayor and his so called advisors have no vision and thus will accept anything to make it appear smoething is going on. I've been around long enough to know that Carver and Scarfoni do for themselves and not the community and this is a classic example. Don't forget where they live and it is not North Adams.
Editor: All the paperwork that Carver is filing with the state is posted with the article. He is asking for help from MassDevelopment, not unlike many other companies. I don't understand your point - the Brien Center could have bought the building and paid no taxes. Carver is a businessman, why wouldn't he calculate the improvements into the lease? No one's saying he's doing this from the goodness of heart. Now the building will be taxed for at least the next decade; or it could have sat empty for another 10 years. I Agree (0) - I Disagree (0)
Ah no... it's easy to tell people what to do with property when it's not your money, isn't it? If you're so concerned about this property, why didn't you buy it and turn it into a museum or some other grand idea? Because you don't have the money. Scarafoni Realty is in business to make money. It's not a public charity. They buy and lease properties. This parcel is now on the tax rolls for a guaranteed ten years, which it wouldn't have been if the Brien Center bought the site, which they were originally looking to do. I still fail to see how we the taxpayer got the short end of the stick on this.
I'm going to guess "Ah No" is our former Mayor. Sounds like him. Can't you just hear John with his bombastic tone saying the very words that are printed here? I can. I wonder what his problem is with a mental health facility?
John Barrett would often bite people in the back if he thought it was more effective than a face to face conversation. I know of two people who upset Barrett and rather than him dealing with them, he called their respective employers.
He surfs these comments and has very thin skin. It would not shock me if he did comment from time to time. Publicly acknowledging that he was engaging a "blogger" (Barrett called everybody on the internet a blogger for some reason) would be beneath John. So if he does, he does it anonymously, just like you and me and a couple of John's close friends.
if barrett were still mayor this gift TIF to carver/scarafoni would've never made it to the council floor. NEVER! heck, once barrett got wind of the brien center making a play for the transcript buiding it would have been dead on arrival because, as the chairman of the redevelopment authority, barrett would have told them no way! this red herring that the brien center would buy the building and take it off the tax rolls is hog wash! barrett would NEVER allow a non-profit to come in and but it. no way no how and good for the city! mayor dickie "i want to please everyone" alcombright has yet to figure out how to use the power of the office for the good of city. he ----- the citizens and the council with the lame reasoning that if carver didn't buy it the brien center would. what a crock! dickie-do got suckered unlike what would've happened to barrett!
btw, how many youth league jerseys in this town do you see with the name "scarafoni realty" gracing the front? david carver and his organization have a pathetic track record when it comes to doling out a few bucks to the youth of this community. cheap SOB!
:: Preliminary Election: Deadline to register is Wednesday, Sept. 7. (Office open from 8 to 8.)
:: General Election: Deadline to register is Tuesday, Oct. 18
Registration can be completed at the city clerk's office at City Hall.
Absentee ballots are now available at the city clerk's office for the Sept. 27 preliminary city election. Voters may come in between the hours of 8 and 4:30 weekdays. Written reguests for mailed ballots can be sent to City Clerk's Office, 10 Main St., North Adams, MA 01247. Deadline for absentee ballots is Monday, Sept. 26, at noon.
The preliminary election will be held Tuesday, Sept. 27, to narrow the field of three mayoral candidates to two. The general election to select nine city councilors and a mayor will be held Tuesday, Nov. 8.