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Class of 2018 Difference Makers Event Galleries

A Look at the March 22 Event

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More than 375 people turned out at the Log Cabin Banquet & Meeting House on March 22 to honor BusinessWest’s 2018 Difference Makers. Launched in 2009, the program recognizes groups and individuals across the region that are making a difference in their community. The honorees this year were: Bob Bolduc, CEO of Pride Stores; Bob ‘the Bike Man’ Charland, founder of Pedal Thru Youth; Girls Inc. of Holyoke; Evan Plotkin, president of NAI Plotkin; Crystal Senter-Brown, author and adjunct faculty member at Bay Path University; and the WillPower Foundation.

Our 2018 Difference Makers:
Bob Bolduc, CEO of Pride Stores
Bob “The Bike Man” Charland, Founder of Pedal Thru Youth
Girls Inc. of Holyoke
Evan Plotkin, President of NAI Plotkin
Crystal Senter-Brown, Author & Adjunct Faculty at Bay Path University
WillPower Foundation

     

Photography by Leah Martin Photography

From event sponsor Burkhart Pizzanelli, P.C., from

From event sponsor Burkhart Pizzanelli, P.C., from left: Adam Kuzdzal, Deborah Penzias, Josh Messer, Julie Quink, Tom Pratt, Carol LaCour, Rebecca Connolly, Stephanie Tobin, and Sarah Lapolice.

From event sponsor Health New England

From event sponsor Health New England, from left: Peggy Garand, Vivian Williams, Brendaliz Torres, Sandra Ruiz, Ashley Allen, Matt Sturgis (guest of HNE), and Jessica Dupont.

Gina Kos (left) and Michelle Depelteau from event sponsor Sunshine Village.

Gina Kos (left) and Michelle Depelteau from event sponsor Sunshine Village.

Sr. Kathleen Popko (left) and Sr. Mary Caritas from the Sisters of Providence, a 2013 Difference Maker.

Sr. Kathleen Popko (left) and Sr. Mary Caritas from the Sisters of Providence, a 2013 Difference Maker.

Bob Bolduc, founder of Pride Stores and a 2018 Difference Maker.

Bob Bolduc, founder of Pride Stores and a 2018 Difference Maker.

From 2018 Difference Maker the WillPower Foundation, from left: Sabrina Aasheim, Jeff Palm, and Maria Burke.

From 2018 Difference Maker the WillPower Foundation, from left: Sabrina Aasheim, Jeff Palm, and Maria Burke.

From left: Kate Kane of Northwestern Mutual, a 2009 Difference Maker, with Nick LaPier, CPA and BusinessWest Associate Publisher Kate Campiti.

From left: Kate Kane of Northwestern Mutual, a 2009 Difference Maker, with Nick LaPier, CPA and BusinessWest Associate Publisher Kate Campiti.

Bill Ward, a 2009 Difference Maker, with Joanne Lyons

Bill Ward, a 2009 Difference Maker, with Joanne Lyons of the Regional Employment Board of Hampden County.

Carol Leary, a 2016 Difference Maker, with 2018 Difference Maker Evan Plotkin

Bay Path University President Carol Leary, a 2016 Difference Maker, with 2018 Difference Maker Evan Plotkin, president of NAI Plotkin.

Tricia Canavan of United Personnel with Scott Foster of Bulkley, Richardson and Gelinas and also Valley Venture Mentors, a 2016 Difference Maker.

Tricia Canavan of United Personnel with Scott Foster of Bulkley, Richardson and Gelinas and also Valley Venture Mentors, a 2016 Difference Maker.

Sandra Ruiz, left, and Brendaliz Torres, from event sponsor Health New England.

Sandra Ruiz, left, and Brendaliz Torres, from event sponsor Health New England.

Bob Bolduc, left, with Bob ‘the Bike Man’ Charland, two of 2018’s Difference Makers.

Bob Bolduc, left, with Bob ‘the Bike Man’ Charland, two of 2018’s Difference Makers.

Representing event sponsor Sunshine Village

Representing event sponsor Sunshine Village, front row: Gina Kos (left) and Michelle Depelteau; back row: Peter Benton, Chicopee Mayor Richard Kos, Kelly Chmura, Maria Laflamme, Amie Miarecki, Colleen Brosnan, and Michael Siddal.

Tanzania Cannon-Ecklerle from event sponsor Royal, P.C. with Joe Ecklerle of Pelican Products and Brew Practitioners.

Tanzania Cannon-Ecklerle from event sponsor Royal, P.C. with Joe Ecklerle of Pelican Products and Brew Practitioners.

From 2018 Difference Maker Girls Inc. of Holyoke

From 2018 Difference Maker Girls Inc. of Holyoke, from left: Johana (Stella’s mother), Stella, Haley, Kylie (Haley’s mother), Emhanie, Brandy Wilson, Becky Bouchard, and Suzanne Parker.

Staff from NAI Plotkin turn out to celebrate 2018 Difference Maker Evan Plotkin.

Staff from NAI Plotkin turn out to celebrate 2018 Difference Maker Evan Plotkin.

Patrick O’Neil and Katie O’Neil from 2018 Difference Maker the WillPower Foundation.

Patrick O’Neil and Katie O’Neil from 2018 Difference Maker the WillPower Foundation.

Chicopee Mayor Richard Kos.

Chicopee Mayor Richard Kos.

Crystal Senter-Brown, left, and Suzanne Parker

Crystal Senter-Brown, left, and Suzanne Parker of Girls Inc. in Holyoke, both 2018 Difference Makers.

Bob Perry, retired CPA, a 2011 Difference Maker.

Bob Perry, retired CPA, a 2011 Difference Maker.

Kim Lee of the Center for Human Development.

Kim Lee of the Center for Human Development.

Evan Plotkin, president of NAI Plotkin, accepts his award as a 2018 Difference Maker.

Evan Plotkin, president of NAI Plotkin, accepts his award as a 2018 Difference Maker.

Will Burke, the namesake and inspiration for the WillPower Foundation, a 2018 Difference Maker.

Will Burke, the namesake and inspiration for the WillPower Foundation, a 2018 Difference Maker.

Stella and Emhanie, two of the girls from Girls Inc. of Holyoke, a 2018 Difference Maker.

Stella and Emhanie, two of the girls from Girls Inc. of Holyoke, a 2018 Difference Maker.

Bob Charland celebrates his 2018 Difference Maker award with fiancée Joanne Hansmann.

Bob Charland celebrates his 2018 Difference Maker award with fiancée Joanne Hansmann.

George O’Brien hands the 2018 Difference Maker award to Crystal Senter-Brown

BusinessWest Editor George O’Brien hands the 2018 Difference Maker award to Crystal Senter-Brown.

The WillPower Foundation

The WillPower Foundation’s Jeff Palm, Maria Burke, Sarah Aasheim, Will Burke, and Craig Burke accept their 2018 Difference Maker award from BusinessWest Editor George O’Brien (right).

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Chamber Corners Departments

1BERKSHIRE
www.1berkshire.com
(413) 499-1600

• March 21: Chamber Nite, 5-7 p.m., hosted by Lee Bank, 75 North St., Pittsfield. Bring your business card to enter to win our door prize. Register online at www.1berkshire.com.
• March 28: Career Fair, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., hosted by Berkshire Community College, Paterson Field House, 1350 West St., Pittsfield. Get in front of Berkshire-based businesses at this annual event. Connect with employers looking to hire. You may also choose to exhibit, and recruit new employees, grow your business, and get in front of hundreds of job seekers. The event is free and open to the public. If you are interested in exhibiting or attending, visit www.1berkshire.com.

AMHERST AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
www.amherstarea.com
(413) 253-0700

• March 15: Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce and Young Professionals of Amherst After 5 Networking, 5-7 p.m., hosted by Country Nissan, 40 Russell St., Hadley.

GREATER CHICOPEE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
www.chicopeechamber.org
(413) 594-2101

• March 8: Business After Hours, 5-7 p.m., hosted by Mill 180 Park, 180 Pleasant St., Easthampton. Multi-chamber event sponsored exclusively by CHH Engraving Inc. Cost: $10 for members, $15 for non-members. Sign up at chicopeechamber.org/events.
 n March 21: St. Patrick’s Day Salute Breakfast, 7:15-9 a.m., hosted by the Delaney House, 1 Country Club Road, Holyoke. Chief greeter: John Beaulieu, city of Chicopee and St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee. Keynote speaker: Sean Cahillane, Irish Cultural Center. Sarah the Fiddler will perform. Sponsored by United Personnel, Westfield Bank, Holyoke Medical Center, Polish National Credit Union, Gaudreau Group, Sunshine Village, Spherion Staffing Services, and PeoplesBank. Cost: $23 for members, $28 for non-members. Sign up at chicopeechamber.org/events.

GREATER EASTHAMPTON CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
www.easthamptonchamber.org
(413) 527-9414

• March 8: Multi-Chamber Networking Event, 5-7 p.m., hosted by Mill 180 Park, 180 Pleasant St., Easthampton. Sponsored by Interland Real Estate, LLC. In addition to the Easthampton Chamber, the chambers of Northampton, Springfield, Holyoke, Westfield, Chicopee, and West of the River are all involved. For more information, visit www.easthamptonchamber.org or call the chamber office at (413) 527-9414.
• March 16: St. Patrick’s Day Luncheon, noon, hosted by Northampton Country Club, 135 Main St., Leeds. The main speaker will be Easthampton City Councilor Dan Carey. For more information, visit www.easthamptonchamber.org or call the chamber office at (413) 527-9414.
• March 27: “Strength-based Leadership” featuring Colleen DelVecchio, certified Clifton Strengths Coach. The second of a two-part series (see Feb. 27 listing above). For more information, visit www.easthamptonchamber.org or call the chamber office at (413) 527-9414.

GREATER HOLYOKE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
www.holyokechamber.com
(413) 534-3376

• March 7: The Chamber Coffee Buzz Morning Networking, 7:30-9 a.m., sponsored and hosted by Loomis House, 298 Jarvis Ave., Holyoke. Jump-start your day with the opportunity to meet business and community leaders while enjoying coffee and a light breakfast. Coffee sponsored by Manage Your Health and Wealth. Free to the business community. Sign up online at holyokechamber.com or call (413) 534-3376.

• March 7: “Women in Leadership: Leadership in Your Future,” 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., hosted by HCC Culinary Arts Institute, 164 Race St., Holyoke. Join us from March through June to learn from area CEOs while networking with peers from the region. An elegant lunch prepared by the Holyoke Community College Culinary Arts program will provide the setting, which will create the opportunity for a meaningful dialogue on some key leadership issues for those building their careers. Each month, your table will join one of the region’s leading CEOs. Future leadership luncheons will take place on April 4, May 2, and June 5. Cost: $125 for all four sessions.

• March 8: Networking by Night Multi Chamber Event, 5-7 p.m., hosted by Mill 180 Park, 180 Pleasant St., Easthampton. An evening of networking with several regional chambers, plus food and a cash bar. Chamber partners include Holyoke, Easthampton, Springfield, Westfield, West of the River, Chicopee, and Northampton. Cost: $10 for members, $15 for non-members. Pre-registration required.

• March 14: St. Patrick’s Day Business Breakfast 2018, 7:30-9 a.m., hosted by the Log Cabin, 500 Easthampton Road, Holyoke. Sponsored by PeoplesBank; Holyoke Mall at Ingleside; Resnic, Beauregard, Waite and Driscoll; and the Republican. Coffee bar sponsored by Marcotte Ford and Holyoke Medical Center. Connect with friends over a hearty Irish breakfast. The 2018 St. Patrick’s Parade Committee award winners, the Grand Colleen and her court, local business milestones, and new chamber members will be recognized. Register by March 8 for a discounted price of $35; cost is $40 after that. Marketing tables are available. Door prizes are welcome. The deadline to register is March 12. Visit holyokechamber.com to sign up, or call (413) 534-3376.

• March 21: Chamber After Hours, 5-7 p.m., hosted by Slainte Restaurant, 80 Jarvis Ave., Holyoke. Sponsored by Expert Staffing. Meet up with your business associates for networking and food. Cost: $10 for members, $15 for non-members. Sign up online at holyokechamber.com. Call the chamber at (413) 534-3376 if you would like to bring a door prize or if you’re interested in a marketing table for $25.

GREATER NORTHAMPTON CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
www.explorenorthampton.com
(413) 584-1900

• March 8: March Arrive @ 5, 5-7 p.m., hosted by Mill 180, 180 Pleasant St., Easthampton. Sponsored by Applied Mortgage. The Northampton, Easthampton, Holyoke, Springfield, Westfield, West of the River, and Chicopee chambers will participate in this networking event. Cost: $10 for members.

• March 15: Introduction to Pivot Tables, 9-11 a.m., hosted by Northampton Chamber of Commerce, 99 Pleasant St., Northampton. Presented by Pioneer Training. Also called a Cross-Tab, a Pivot Table lets users easily apply various functions to data and separate the data by various criteria in rows and columns. Designed for users of Excel who have used Excel for six months or more and who need to analyze data. Participants are encouraged to bring laptops and follow along with the instructor, but this is not required. Pre-registration is required, and space is limited. Cost: $25 for members, $35 for non-members. To register, visit goo.gl/forms/pX8YUuC25YdMsLjD2.

• April 11: Protecting Your Data from Security Risks, 9-11 a.m., hosted by Northampton Chamber of Commerce, 99 Pleasant St., Northampton. Presented by Pioneer Training. CyberSafe is a two-hour workshop for non-technical users that focuses on using technology without compromising personal or organizational security. Students will learn the skills they need to protect digital data on computers, networks, mobile devices, and the Internet. They will learn how to identify many of the common risks involved in using technology, such as phishing, spoofing, malware, and social engineering, and then learn how to protect themselves and their organizations from those risks. Pre-registration is required, and space is limited. Cost: $25 for members, $35 for non-members. To register, visit goo.gl/forms/pX8YUuC25YdMsLjD2.

• June 21: Microsoft Word: Advanced Tips, Tricks & Shortcuts, 9-11 a.m., hosted by Northampton Chamber of Commerce, 99 Pleasant St., Northampton. Presented by Pioneer Training. This workshop will go beyond the basics and explore some of Word’s more advanced features. Pre-registration is required, and space is limited. Cost: $25 for members, $35 for non-members. To register, visit goo.gl/forms/pX8YUuC25YdMsLjD2.

GREATER WESTFIELD CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
www.westfieldbiz.org
(413) 568-1618

• March 5: March Mayor’s Coffee Hour, 8-9 a.m., hosted by Mercy Continuing Care Network at Westfield Adult Day Health, 24 Clifton St., Westfield. Cost: free. Call the chamber office at (413) 568-1618 to register for this event so we may give our host a head count.

• March 14: March After 5 Connection, 5-7 p.m., hosted by Spotlight Graphics, 9B Whalley Way, Southwick. Refreshments will be served, and a 50/50 raffle will benefit the chamber scholarship fund. Bring your business cards and make connections. Cost: $10 for the general public (cash or credit paid at the door). Register online at www.westfieldbiz.org. For more information, call Pam Bussell at (413) 568-1618.

• March 16: St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast, 7-9 a.m., hosted by Westfield State University, 577 Western Ave., Westfield. Event sponsor: Westfield State University; bronze sponsor: Republic Services; in-kind flower sponsor: Flowers by Webster. Keynote speaker: Bo Sullivan, executive director of the Irish Cultural Center of Western New England. A 50/50 raffle will support the chamber scholarship fund. Cost: $25 for chamber members, $30 for the general public. Register online at www.westfieldbiz.org. For tickets, sponsorship opportunities, or additional information, contact Pam Bussell at (413) 568-1618 or [email protected]

SPRINGFIELD REGIONAL CHAMBER
www.springfieldregionalchamber.com
(413) 787-1555

• March 7: [email protected], 7:15-9 a.m., hosted by Chez Josef, 176 Shoemaker Lane, Agawam. Cost: $25 for members ($30 at the door), $35 general admission ($40 at the door).

• March 8: After Hours with Springfield Regional, Greater Easthampton, Westfield and West of the River Chambers, 5-7 p.m., hosted by Mill 180, 180 Pleasant St., Easthampton. Cost: $10 for members, $15 general admission.

• March 9: Outlook 2018, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., hosted by the MassMutual Center, Springfield. Featuring keynote speaker Gov. Charlie Baker and Eric Rosengren, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. Cost: $60 for members in advance; $80 general admission in advance.

• March 13: Lunch ‘n’ Learn, details to be announced.

• March 20: C-Suite Conversations & Cocktails, 5-7 p.m., hosted by CityStage, One Columbus Center, Springfield. Members-only event featuring MGM President Mike Mathis. Cost: $25.

• March 29: Speed Networking, 3:30-5 p.m., location to be determined. Cost: $20 for members in advance ($25 at the door), $30 general admission in advance ($35 at the door).

Reservations for all chamber events may be made by visiting www.springfieldregionalchamber.com, e-mailing [email protected], or calling (413) 755-1310.

WEST OF THE RIVER CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
www.ourwrc.com
(413) 426-3880

• March 6: Business Breakfast with MGM, 7-9 a.m., hosted by Storrowton Tavern, West Springfield. Join fellow members and non-members for a business breakfast with MGM. We will provide an update as well as one-on-one sessions with MGM representatives for the bidding process. Sponsorships are available for this event. Register at www.westoftheriverchamber.com.

• March 15: Networking Lunch, noon to 1:30 p.m., hosted by Crestview Country Club, Agawam. You must be a member or guest of a member to attend. Enjoy a sit-down lunch while networking with fellow chamber members. Each attendee will get a chance to offer a brief introduction and company overview. The only cost to attend is the cost of lunch. Attendees will order off the menu and pay separately that day. We cannot invoice you for these events. Register at www.westoftheriverchamber.com.

• April 4: Wicked Wednesday, 5-7 p.m., hosted by CHD Cancer House of Hope, West Springfield. Wicked Wednesdays are monthly social events, hosted by various businesses and restaurants, that bring members and non-members together to network in a laid-back atmosphere. For more information about this event, contact the chamber office at (413) 426-3880, or register at www.westoftheriverchamber.com.

YOUNG PROFESSIONAL SOCIETY OF GREATER SPRINGFIELD
springfieldyps.com

• March 10: Eighth annual YP Cup Dodgeball Tournament, 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., hosted by Springfield College, Dana Gymnasium, 263 Alden St., Springfield. Cost: $35 for individuals, $275 to $1,000 for teams and sponsorships. More information and registration available at springfieldyps.com.

Autos Sections

On the Move — Always

The new car wash in West Springfield is the latest addition to an ever-growing portfolio of facilities for the Balise Auto Group.

The new car wash in West Springfield is the latest addition to an ever-growing portfolio of facilities for the Balise Auto Group.

As he talked about the very latest addition to the already-expansive portfolio for the Balise Auto Group, a car wash just off Riverdale Street in West Springfield, Jeb Balise said it was a capital-intensive, very necessary supplement to the collection.

Capital-intensive because car washes, as some might know but others might not, are now very sophisticated, computer-operated facilities offering an ever-greater array of wash options. And necessary because … well, consumers are becoming ever-more demanding, and, likewise, the auto business is ever-more competitive.

So auto groups like Balise need to respond with the proverbial ‘more’ and ‘better.’ ‘More,’ as in more products and services to offer those customers, and ‘better,’ as in better than the competition.

And this mindset reflects itself in everything from the company’s growing stable of car washes (there are now three, including two in Western Mass.) to the ongoing work to replace or renovate the group’s large roster of dealerships, including the Balise Nissan store a half-mile east of the car wash on Riverdale Street, to an insurance agency in Rhode Island as part of the mix.

“We’re making sure we’re giving the customer everything they want for support instead of just selling them a car,” said Balise as he talked about additions to the number of collision centers, used-car facilities, and more. “So if someone buys a car from us, they don’t have to worry about collision repair or getting their car cleaned or insurance; we can pretty much provide holistically everything they need for the life of that car.”

He offered those thoughts in an interview in one of the sales offices at Balise Nissan, the latest of the company’s dealerships to be replaced, or, in this case, given a huge makeover. Long operated under the name Jerry Rome Nissan, the facility now bears the Balise name.

Open for just over two months, the ‘new’ dealership was essentially gutted and rebuilt from the ground up, said Balise, adding that it is the first store selling this brand to incorporate new imagery and design elements developed by the carmaker.

The Nissan dealership on Riverdale Street now carries the Balise name. It’s the latest of the company’s dealerships to undergo extensive renovations or new construction.

The Nissan dealership on Riverdale Street now carries the Balise name. It’s the latest of the company’s dealerships to undergo extensive renovations or new construction.

“There was nothing left of the showroom — we stripped it right down to columns and roof, basically,” he explained. “We really rebuilt it, and you can feel it; you would never know it was a retro.”

That’s the word he chose for a dealership built in the ’80s and ’90s — before they became far more spacious (50,000 square feet in the case of the Toyota dealership, also on Riverdale Street), comfortably equipped, and customer-friendly.

As he talked about the Nissan store and offered a quick tour, pointing out its larger, revamped showroom and well-appointed service waiting area, Balise said there are a few minor touches to be completed before a grand opening can be staged — probably later this month.

And as those final touches are made, thoughts are already turning to what’s next, said Balise, adding that the company embarked on a massive campaign to make over facilities for all the brands it sells more than a decade ago, and there are still a few projects left to undertake.

One is the Balise Mazda facility on the other (north) side of Riverdale Street. Built in 1984, it is certainly showing its age, said Balise, adding that plans will be on the drawing board soon for either new construction or another extensive renovation.

Meanwhile, another nameplate in line to have a new home is Kia, which became part of the Balise stable in 2015 and has been housed in a small facility that was once a Mercedes dealership a decade ago.

Kia is a rising star in the auto galaxy, said Balise, adding that it has an attractive mix of cars, vans, and SUVs, and it will soon have a home befitting that status. Various options are currently being reviewed, and no formal plans have been announced, he went on, noting that both the Kia and Mazda facilities will be upgraded within the next 24 months.

“Our plans will be really impressive,” said Balise in reference to both projects, still in the developmental stage. “These will be either brand-new buildings or significant renovations — total change.”

As for the car washes, Balise said they are part of broader efforts to serve the full gamut of customer needs and provide additional layers of value.

The company started with a facility in Hyannis, where it also has several dealerships, then added one on East Columbus Avenue in 2016; the West Springfield location opened in January.

There are two more car washes on the drawing board for the next 24 months, said Balise, adding that the specific markets have not been identified.

The car washes offer ample evidence of consumers taking better care of their vehicles, but also of the value that auto groups are trying to provide.

Indeed, the car washes are strategically located to serve customers at the Balise dealerships (there are three on Columbus Avenue and a half-dozen on Riverdale Street), he noted.

Those who buy a car at any of the Balise dealerships get 60 days of free washes, he went on, and they also get special pricing on both everyday washes and the hugely popular ‘unlimited plans,’ whereby consumers can wash their car as often as they want for one monthly fee.

As for new dealerships, the company is always looking for new opportunities — in this market and others, he went on, adding that, despite an ongoing wave of consolidation within the industry, there are still a number of single dealerships and small groups that could be added to the portfolio if the conditions were right.

“Even with all the consolidation, it’s still a fragmented business,” he told BusinessWest. “The majority of facilities are owned by someone who might have two or three stores, or one store.

“We’re just focusing on the best-location, best-franchise philosophy,” he went on, and then making sure our facilities exceed the customers’ expectations.”

— George O’Brien

Building Permits Departments

The following building permits were issued during the months of January and February 2018.

CHICOPEE

J. and N. Salema Family
480 Burnett Road
$6,000 — Replace water-damaged sheetrock and ceiling tiles

U-Haul Real Estate Co.
878 Memorial Dr.
$4,000 — Demolish partition walls

EASTHAMPTON

Autumn Properties, LLC
161-165 Northampton St.
$8,850 — Add interior partitions to create extra offices

Cumberland Farms
2211 Northampton St.
$1,022,350 — Construct convenience store with fuel stations, canopy, and parking

Keystone Enterprises
122 Pleasant St.
$18,500 — Install HVAC system for Float Therapy Spa

U.S. Bank
13 Sterling Dr.
$24,500 — Remove and replace existing roof covering; interior renovations

EAST LONGMEADOW

The Arbor’s Kids
126 Industrial Dr.
$177,755 — Renovations

East Longmeadow Wellness Center
250 North Main St.
$18,000 — Sheet metal

Fairview Extended Care
305 Maple St.
$5,000 — Construction trailer

Irina’s Décor
100 Shaker Road
$3,000 — Sheet metal

HADLEY

220 Russell Street, LLC
220 Russell St.
$615,000 — New steel building for Wagging Tail, a new canine daycare center

Gibbs Oil Co., LP
110 Russell St.
$2,175 — Reface two signs

Town of Hadley
15 East St.
$15,000 — Verizon Wireless to replace antennas with new models and install remote radio heads to existing cell tower

LONGMEADOW

Longmeadow Country Club
400 Shaker Road
$15,900 — Demo and removal of walk-in coolers

Mario Davis Magnani
791 Maple Road
$2,550 — Add two illuminated signs to roof

LUDLOW

Country Bank
64 Cherry St.
$6,500 — Demolition

Country Bank
64 Cherry St.
$12,000 — Illuminated sign

Country Bank
64 Cherry St.
$2,100 — Illuminated sign

NORTHAMPTON

City of Northampton
6 Water St.
$5,688 — Reroof building for Water Department

City of Northampton
125 Locust St.
$11,368 — Reroof storage building at Department of Public Works

City of Northampton
23 Center St.
$664,350 — Concrete and masonry repair and waterproofing at Police Department; new plaza deck drain installations

Cumberland Farms Inc.
53 Main St.
$800 — Reface ground-mounted illuminated sign

Five College Realtors
92 Main St.
$2,800 — Illuminated wall sign

Five College Realtors
92 Main St.
$2,800 — Illuminated wall sign

O’Connell Oil Associates Inc.
506 Pleasant St.
$6,000 — Two illuminated canopy signs at Shell gas station

P + Q, LLC
110 Main St.
$1,000 — Non-illuminated wall sign

Saga Communications of NE Inc.
15 Hampton Ave.
$12,500 — Install new drop ceiling in conference room and install refrigerator in break room

SOUTHWICK

Westfield River Brewing Co.
707 College Highway
$20,000 — Lighting and windows on second floor

SPRINGFIELD

3640 Main St., LLP
3640 Main St., Suite 101
$289,934 — Interior renovations for use as an MRI center

Baystate Health
3350 Main St.
$988,766 — Renovate existing suite into infusion space

Mike Bergdoll
1271 Page Blvd.
$53,000 — Renovate Swift Trip gas station and convenience store

F.L. Roberts
275 Albany Ave.
$25,000 — Concrete pad for new building

GF Enterprises
633 Liberty St.
$202,000 — Upgrade building exterior of Taco Bell restaurant with new paint and signage, upgrade dining room, and ensure bathrooms are ADA-compliant

Liberty Medical Associates, LLP
125 Liberty St.
$14,820 — Construct wall to enclose future break room, add door, and remove sink in Suite 408; construct closet and add door in Suite 402

MassDevelopment Finance Agency
1550 Main St.
$55,580 — Renovate area into two conference rooms for Alekman DiTusa

Mercy Medical Center
271 Carew St.
$35,732 — Demolish casework, wall, and doors; install new finishes, new wall configuration, millwork, and doors

Mercy Medical Center
271 Carew St.
$17,107 — Build wall and hard ceiling to set back a door which is currently an egress/safety issue

Monarch Enterprise
1414 Main St.
$173,700 — Remodel existing space into a new Starbucks coffee shop

VIP Nail Salon
1704 Boston Road
$7,400 — Electrical and plumbing

WESTFIELD

City of Westfield
25 Dartmouth St.
Renovation to existing building

Governor’s Center RE, LLC
66 South Broad St.
Construct new bathroom and kitchenette

Rosow Westfield, LLC
66 South Broad St.
$36,900 — Install new garage door, construct new load-bearing walls, and construct new offices

Rosow Westfield, LLC
66 South Broad St.
$13,700 — Steel beam and support columns

WEST SPRINGFIELD

Century Investment Co.
219 Memorial Ave.
$54,400 — Interior tenant remodeling for purpose of retail sales

Crosslight Gospel Church
2611 Westfield St.
$10,000 — Construct storage area on side of building

General Equities
884 Westfield St.
$82,155 — Renovations, including new ceiling tiles, bathroom remodel, interior painting, new storefront glass, and siding

Drew Moyes
958 Riverdale Road
$2,000 — Alterations to interior space for Agri-Mark Inc.

Northern Rail Services Inc.
175 Circuit Ave.
$28,000 — Add dimising walls and two bathrooms

WILBRAHAM

75 Post Office Park, LLC
75 Post Office Park
$25,000 — Create interior office space for Proshred

Meetings & Conventions Sections

Brick by Brick

Erin Witmer says her goal was to preserve the history of the Keystone building while creating flexible spaces that can be crafted to the mood of each event.

Erin Witmer says her goal was to preserve the history of the Keystone building while creating flexible spaces that can be crafted to the mood of each event.

It’s a different wedding photo, to be sure.

Their names are Kyle and Liz, and they’re standing, decked out in formal clothes, in front of a 110-year-old mill, with boarded-up windows on the top floor and chipped bricks at their feet. It’s a striking scene, and it’s not for everyone, Erin Witmer said.

“It is part of the charm here,” she said of the environs of the Boylston Rooms, her new event space located in the Keystone building on Pleasant Street in Easthampton, next to another notable restored mill, Eastworks. “If you’re looking for a ‘perfect,’ new kind of space, you’re probably not going to look here. We definitely have some of the charm and character of the original space.”

The engaged couples and others who book the venue for a broad variety of events, however, immediately ‘get’ it, she added.

“Last year was pretty tremendous. The first couples that booked their weddings here, they looked at it when it was just an empty warehouse space, and were able to see what it could be. And it’s been incredibly positive since then.”

Witmer and her husband bought the historic Keystone building in 2015 with the goal of opening an event space that offered something memorable and different from more traditional venues, she told BusinessWest.

“I first started in events at the Inn at Northampton, before it was the Clarion, doing banquet and event work there,” she recalled. “It was a very traditional banquet hall, and it got me thinking about what I valued in an event space and what I’d like for my own event space. I really wanted a space where people could personalize it, a blank canvas where people can bring in their own ideas and dreams and design thoughts, and could create whatever space they’d like to create. It’s a very flexible place, and you can make it whatever you want it to be.”

The venue includes two main areas — the 3,800-square-foot West Room, which can accommodate 300 seated guests or 600 standing, and can be divided into two smaller spaces; and the 2,700-square-foot East Room, with space for 200 seated or 500 standing — as well as an outdoor patio. Weddings often use all of it, with perhaps a ceremony in one of the two large rooms and a reception in the other.

Event bookers, like Kyle and Liz

Event bookers, like Kyle and Liz, appreciate the quirky photos and unique memories the Boylston Rooms provide.
West On Jade Photography

Since opening in September, Witmer said, the Boylston Rooms have hosted many weddings, with plenty of positive response from the couples and guests alike, and bookings for 2018 are pouring in even faster. “We’re super blessed interms of response from the community.”

But the space accommodates many other events as well, from the inaugural ball for Easthampton’s new mayor to a fund-raiser for the town’s Fire Department; from a TEDx talk in November to upcoming events like an awards banquet and a play reading — all of them surrounded by the original wood columns, exposed brick, and visible ductwork that gives the building, as Witmer said, its considerable charm.

History Lesson

The Keystone building traces its history to the turn of the 20th century, when the West Boylston Co., a textile manufacturer incorporated in 1814, was forced to leave its namesake town when the Wachusett reservoir, which would have completely submerged the mill site, was in its planning stages.

In 1899, the company decided to dismantle the mill brick by brick and send it by train to Easthampton, where those same bricks were used to build Eastworks in 1908, and Keystone between 1907 and 1912.

“People enjoy the sense of history here, and we tried to keep as many historical elements of the space intact,” Witmer said. “When we purchased it, this was a gigantic, empty warehouse.”

But there was plenty of potential in the hardwood floors, the floor-to-ceiling windows, and the views of the Holyoke Range outdoors. She purposely kept her restoration plan simple, from incorporation of original fixtures as much as possible to the white-centric color design, which complements whatever palette each event booker wants to incorporate.

Parties have used string lights, LED uplighting, and other touches. “And you can hang things from the beams,” Witmer said. “We had a bride who made wreaths, which are amazing. Another bride made hundreds of paper cranes, which we hung from the beams; they were really spectacular, and something I never would have thought of. People can bring in their own ideas and their own dreams for the space, and we can make it happen.”

Meanwhile, Keystone is bustling with other activity, with its east wing fully tenanted by a range of businesses, its west wing quickly approaching full capacity, and plans to develop residential units on the third floor starting this spring. “So there’s a lot happening,” she added.

So it’s a busy time in the old mill, but not so much that service suffers; Witmer likes being a hands-on partner to groups that rent the Boylston Rooms, and has a special place in her heart for weddings.

“It’s a really special day, and on a very simple level, I love being able to make people happy — even in the smallest things, from having complementary champagne to making sure the DJ is playing the music they want to hear, or that every hanging thing is perfect, or that they’ve got all their gifts in the car at the end of the night,” she explained.

“A lot of times, the bride will turn to me before coming in — ‘do I look OK?’ And I can say, ‘yes, you look beautiful, and straighten their necklace, and they go in. Those little moments are incredibly important and special.”

The Big Day

‘Special’ is what Witmer was looking for when she and her husband invested in a run-down building that has become an economic engine on Pleasant Street — and a place where people can celebrate events large and small in a space that’s anything but the same old venue. People like Kyle and Liz.

“I love being a part of somebody’s wedding day,” Witmer said. “Every time the doors open and I see a bride and her father walking in, I tear up — every single time. It’s such an important day in someone’s life, and to be a part of it is such an honor.”

Joseph Bednar can be reached at [email protected]

Building Permits Departments

The following building permits were issued during the month of December 2017.

AGAWAM

EG Partners, LLC
646 Springfield St.
$84,375 — Interior renovation of existing administrative office space

Town of Agawam
128 Southwick St.
$69,250 — Roofing at Agawam Golf Course

CHICOPEE

American Tower Corp.
645 Shawnigan Dr.
$20,000 — Install six replacement antennas

Elms College
291 Springfield St.
$33,000 — Update and renovate two bathrooms

Matthew 11:28 Church of God
16 Bolduc Lane
$4,556 — Air-seal attic and basement

EASTHAMPTON

On the Hill, LLC
100 Mountain Road
$6,500 — Interior wall framing, drywall

EAST LONGMEADOW

Cartamundi
443 Shaker Road
$168,000 — Roofing

Jet Auto Service
40 Shaker Road
$11,900 — Roofing

Lenox
301 Chestnut St.
$115,052 — Curtain wall

GREENFIELD

First Congregational Church
43 Silver St.
$25,995 — Roofing

Jimbob Realty, LLC
36 Hope St.
$11,780 — Roofing

John Lowe
192-200 Main St.
$1,500 — Repair fallen metal panel

Town of Greenfield
14 Court Square
$69,062 — Roofing at Town Hall

HADLEY

Chamisa Corp.
31 Campus Plaza Road
$2,980 — Disconnect miles of flex and install hard pipe from supply and return ducts to grills

Justin Killeen
231 Russell St.
$5,000 — Remove seven non-bearing walls, rebuild bathroom walls, new finish work and flooring

MDGR Holding Corp.
322 Russell St.
$32,000 — Build two-car garage

Pyramid Mall of Hadley Newco, LLC
367 Russell St.
$11,000 — New sign for Planet Fitness

Pyramid Mall of Hadley Newco, LLC
367 Russell St.
$17,000 — Install hood, fans, and stainless-steel exhaust ductwork; fabricate and install make-up air ductwork at Pinz

Pyramid Mall of Hadley Newco, LLC
367 Russell St.
$50,000 — Relocate freezer, add new refrigerated cases and new display shelving, demo existing semo room, expand and relocate utility sink, and construct new pre-fab bridge with door at Trader Joe’s

Pyramid Mall of Hadley Newco, LLC
367 Russell St.
$22,000 — Two new wall signs

Shipman Realty Trust
142 Russell St.
$10,000 — Fabricate and install ductwork fir new HVAC system and install hoods at Dunkin’ Donuts

Vertical Assets, LLC
165 Russell St.
$6,500 — Install ductwork for heating and AC units to feed new space

LONGMEADOW

Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph
92 Oakwood Dr.
$31,500 — Kitchen renovation, remove interior wall

Genesis Lifecare Corp.
832 Converse St.
$141,210 — Roof replacement

Rinaldi’s Realty, LLC
398 Longmeadow St.
$171,400 — Renovate existing space into bagel shop

LUDLOW

Ludlow Dentistry & Braces
433 Center St.
$7,200 — Illuminated sign

Julian Popko
438 Center St.
$7,100 — Reshingling

NORTHAMPTON

City of Northampton
300 North Main St.
$165,000 — Renovate existing toilet rooms at Look Park with new partitions, accessories, sinks, paint, and lighting

Hampshire Regional YMCA
286 Prospect St.
$45,750 — Roofing

Northampton Historical Society
46 Bridge St.
$2,500 — Cover cinderblock with paneling

ServiceNet
91 Grove St.
$37,386 — Install 39 solar panels

Smith College
4 Tyler Dr.
$42,150 — Classroom renovation, including new flooring, paint, and lighting

SPRINGFIELD

Avid Ironworks
17 Rose Place
$64,000 — Pre-engineered building addition

Brian Hamill
915 Plumtree Road
$12,600 — Remove and reinstall gutters and downspouts, repair columns, install 28 windows

Devine Holdings, LLC
111 Carando Dr.
$291,000 — Alter tenant office space

Mercy Medical Center
271 Carew St.
$63,142 — Replace kitchen hoods

Mercy Medical Center
271 Carew St.
$375,785 — Renovate and relocate operating rooms

WESTFIELD

Chapel Street Realty, LLC
9 Chapel St.
$40,936 — Demo walls and construct new walls for office space, new bathroom on second floor

Westfield Court Associates, LLC
224 Elm St.
$75,688 — Add new toilet fixtures to renovated bathrooms, provide new office space

WEST SPRINGFIELD

Nicholas Katsoulis
865 Memorial Dr.
$45,135 — Install rooftop solar array

The Morgan Group, LLC
1126 Elm St.
$500,000 — Construct new commercial office building

Building Permits Departments

The following building permits were issued during the month of November 2017.

AGAWAM

Grand Run Holdings 1, LLC
4-28 Southwick St.
$25,000 — Roofing at shopping center

CHICOPEE

280 Springfield Street
280 Springfield St.
$10,100 — Extend existing bath, handicap accessibility

Raymond Duquette
99 Ducharme Ave.
$4,850 — Roof replacement

Lorraine’s Soup Kitchen
170 Pendexter Ave.
$1,450 — Addition to landing deck

Max Cap Properties, LLC
116 School St.
$5,000 — Electrical repair, minor roof repair, décor, change upstairs ceiling tiles

Moose Creek Realty, LLC
40 High St.
$28,850 — Remove existing siding material, install new vinyl siding system

Moose Creek Realty, LLC
42 High St.
$28,850 — Remove existing siding material, install new vinyl siding system

Rivoli Inc.
43 Springfield St.
$2,200 — New accessible entrance to existing tenant space

Karen Romano
685 Grattan St.
Demolish existing building

DEERFIELD

Berkshire Brewing
12 Railroad St.
$6,000 — Renovate handicap-accessible bathrooms

Ideal Movers
247 Greenfield Road
$50,000 — Foundation

EASTHAMPTON

Easthampton Mahadev, LLC
37-43 Union St.
$150,000 — Repair fire-damaged roof, ceiling, and flooring; reconfigure floor space

Easthampton Mahadev, LLC
37-43 Union St.
$16,500 — Replace fire-damaged duct system

Massachusetts Audubon Society
127 Coombs Road
$11,000 — Install replacement windows

EAST LONGMEADOW

Century Fitness
491 North Main St.
$7,600 — Remove wall, commercial renovation

Pioneer Gymnastics
45 Maple St.
$3,500 — Awning

GREENFIELD

Abercrombie Greenfield, LLC
56 Bank Row
$60,000 — Install new NFPA 13 compliant system

Baystate Franklin Medical Center
164 High St.
$18,249 — Install new cross-corridor door with smoke wall to deck, remove existing door frame, and repair wall and ceiling

Baystate Franklin Medical Center
164 High St.
$16,717 — Core drill for installation of new hot-water and sprinkler piping on third floor and attic of north building, miscellaneous drywall repairs and painting

Franklin Medical Center
48 Sanderson St.
$128,750 — Roofing

David Johnson
102 Federal St.
$3,900 — Install pellet stove

Jones Properties, LP
21 Mohawk Trail
$21,000 — Construct partitions to configure two offices and a small kitchen for law office

David Kalinowski
5 Conway Dr.
$2,999 — Construct roadside farm stand

Lisa Underwood
571 Bernardston Road
$9,700 — Roofing

LUDLOW

Columbia Gas of Massachusetts
5 Ravenwood Dr.
$159,000 — Roofing

NORTHAMPTON

1924, LLC
50 Round Hill Road
$30,000 — Select demolition, roof removal, interior mechanical removal

Alloy, LLC
209 Earle St.
$249,350 — Install 300 solar panels on roof

The Brush Works, LLC
221 Pine St.
$35,000 — Install six new remote radio heads to replace six antenna panels wuth new models, run new hybriflex line to existing smokestack

Coca-Cola Co.
45 Industrial Dr.
$500,000 — Interior renovation

Cumberland Farm, LLC
55 Main St.
$14,000 — Demolish house

New England Deaconess Assoc.
25 Coles Meadow Road
$28,000 — Remove kitchen cabinets and countertops, install new flooring, paint room

P & Q, LLC
112 Main St.
$24,550 — Remodel interior for real-estate office

Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield
10 Hawley St.
$24,900 — Strip and shingle roof

PALMER

S & S Properties
1240 Park St.
$6,000 — Replace lettering on sign

SOUTHWICK

Tribe Life Athletics
809 College Highway
Sheet metal

Worldwide Turbines
512 College Highway
$4,000 — Install windows

SPRINGFIELD

Baystate Health
3400 Main St.
$254,700 — Relocate non-bearing partitions, relocate plumbing and electrical, renew finishes for existing medical practice

Blue Tarp reDevelopment
94 Union St.
$1,177,000 — Renovation and reconstruction of building interior to change from church to retail use, including new HVAC, electrical, plumbing, fire sprinkler, restroom, food service, and exits

Mason Wright Foundation
74 Walnut St.
$703,475.37 — 1,291-square-foot addition to existing building, addition of four-seasons room above existing maintenance garage

Primera Iglesia Christina
25 Torrance St.
$5,000 — Remove non-bearing wall between structural columns

Related Springfield Associates, LP
75 Dwight St.
$167,500 — Interior fit-up for Springfield Police substation

WARE

Baystate Mary Lane Hospital
85 South St.
$11,000 — Remove and replace grease ducts

National Grid
52 Gilbertville Road
$44,300 — Strip and re-roof

North Brookfield Savings Bank
40 Main St.
$16,000 — Remove existing timber retaining wall and replace with interlocking concrete blocks

Quabbin Wire and Cable
10 Maple St.
$15,000 — Replace 13 windows

Weir River Social Club Inc.
6 East St.
$2,400 — Remove back stairs, install new stairs

WEST SPRINGFIELD

St. Thomas the Apostle School
47 Pine St.
$99,400 — Replace HVAC rooftop unit and add one HVAC rooftop unit

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — DevelopSpringfield was presented with a 2017 Massachusetts Historical Commission Historic Preservation Award by Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin at a ceremony on Nov. 2.

“The Massachusetts Historical Commission is proud to recognize the extraordinary accomplishments of this year’s awardees,” Galvin said. “The projects the commission is recognizing this year are particularly diverse and represent the many creative ways that significant historic resources are being preserved across the Commonwealth. With this project, the Merrick-Phelps House will now be an important contributor to Springfield’s economic future.”

Constructed in 1841, the Merrick-Phelps House, located at 83 Maple St., is one of Springfield’s most significant historic buildings. The house was built by Solymon Merrick, inventor of the monkey wrench and a key player in Springfield’s history of industry and innovation. The house was then sold in 1847 to Ansel Phelps, who later became the city’s mayor. Many residents still refer to this as the ‘Mayor’s House.’ After Phelps’s death in 1860, the building continued to house families of the Springfield elite well into the 20th century.

The Merrick-Phelps House, situated on the corner of Maple and Union streets, is a Greek Revival-style, two-story, single-family house featuring a low hipped roof and an elaborate, two-story portico with fluted Corinthian columns. A one-story porch on the Union Street elevation was added in 1890. The primary entrance on Maple Street is accentuated by a Greek Revival-style door surround and a pair of glass-and-wood-panel doors. The windows are all original wood windows. Notable interior features include a grand center hall with a curved staircase along the wall, a large parlor and dining room with decorative trim, and five original fireplace mantels.

Toward the end of the 20th century, the house began to show signs of neglect, and it was abandoned in 2007. When DevelopSpringfield purchased the house in 2013, it had been vacant for several years and was in an advanced state of deterioration.

DevelopSpringfield worked with a team of experts to assist in the successful rehabilitation of this historic property, including architect Marco Crescentini of Dietz & Co. Architects, general contractor Peter Hamm of Historic Preservation Associates, preservation specialist Gregory Farmer of Agricola Corp., preservation consultant William Young of Epsilon Associates, and Dennis Keefe of Westfield Bank (financing).

Building Permits Departments

The following building permits were issued during the months of August and September 2017.

AGAWAM

Ashakris HNA, LLC
336-344 North Westfield St.
$15,000 — Remove and replace wall, install new acoustic ceiling

Jaffe Family Foundation
45 Tennis Road
$468,500 — Roofing

AMHERST

Amherst Pelham Regional School District
170 Chestnut St.
$13,000 — Demo and remove concrete chimney cap and brick veneer and replace with new chimney at Amherst Regional Middle School

Hampshire College
893 West St.
$8,500 — Interior renovation in bookstore to subdivide space

CHICOPEE

City of Chicopee
110 Church St.
$150,000 — New fire-alarm system at Chicopee Police Department

City of Chicopee
110 Church St.
$438,000 — Masonry, carpentry, and roofing at Chicopee Police Department

Charles Sourmaidis
467 Memorial Dr.
$66,234 — Refinish Denny’s dining room, bring bathroom to code, replace cabinets

Valley Opportunity Council Inc.
35 Mt. Carmel Ave.
$25,300 — Install new demonstration cabinets and countertops

Valley Opportunity Council Inc.
516 Chicopee St.
$28,000 — Renovate existing office space and create additional offices, add new doors

EASTHAMPTON

Autumn Properties, LLC
184 Northampton St.
$103,450 — Install fire-suppression system in three buildings

City of Easthampton
50 Payson Ave.
$6,000 — Remove and replace gazebo roof, replace decking, repair trim and lattice

Keystone Enterprises
122 Pleasant St.
$4,500 — Create roof penetrations, chaseway for duct system

EAST LONGMEADOW

Excel Dryer
355 Chestnut St.
$25,600 — Fire protection

Louis & Clark
436 North Main St.
$11,000 — Commercial alterations

HADLEY

325 Rocky Hill Rd., LLC
325 Rocky Hill Road
$4,200 — Frame, insulate, sheetrock, and new bathroom floor

Lacomb Holdings, LLC
189 Russell St.
$24,050 — Add bathroom with shower, add two sets of double doors, move existing door, add screen wall in reception area

Med Express
424 Russell St.
$10,000 — Illuminated channel letters backlit with LEDs and mounted to building

Pizza Hut of America
424 Russell St.
$58,900 — HVAC; install ductwork, register grills, and diffusers

Pyramid Mall of Hadley Newco, LLC
367 Russell St.
$200,000 — Minor interior remodel on sales floor of JCPenney, add Sephora cosmetic department

Pyramid Mall of Hadley Newco, LLC
367 Russell St.
$693,000 — Fit-out in existing construction for Planet Fitness

The Taproom
1 Mill Valley Road, Suite C
$6,800 — Add divider wall, plumb sink, dishwasher, power outlets, and track lighting

LONGMEADOW

GPT Longmeadow, LLC
714 Bliss Road
$3,000 — New sign for Great Harvest Bread Co.

LUDLOW

Apex Dental
653 Center St.
$2,500 — Illuminated sign

Apex Dental
653 Center St.
$3,100 — Non-illuminated sign

Eversource
Chapin Street
$2,634,740 — Solar panels

NORTHAMPTON

39 Main Street, LLC
33 Main St.
$14,843 — Install walls, door, flooring, and lighting in new second-floor offices

1924, LLC
46 Round Hill Road
$50,000 — Kitchen addition

Chamisa Corp.
25 Main St.
$9,500 — Disassemble and remove existing elevator hoistaway cage and install temporary construction-control barriers in preparation for new elevator

Coolidge Center, LLC
47 Pleasant St.
$18,500 — Install new interior staircase

Cumberland Farms Inc.
43 Main St.
$790,000 — New commercial building for Cumberland Farms store

O’Connell Oil Associates Inc.
506 Pleasant St.
$4,000 — Illuminated ground sign with Shell logo and LED price sign

Rockwell Management Corp.
30 Village Hill Road
$8,600 — Illuminated ground sign for the Columns at Rockwell Place

Smith College
102 College Lane
$175,000 — Reconfigure existing conference room and exercise studio, roofing, decking

Smith College
College Lane
$193,000 — Roofing

Thornes Marketplace
150 Main St.
$34,000 — Remove nine antennas and replace with nine upgraded antenna pabels, add three remote radio heads

Wohl Family Dentistry, LLC
61 Locust St.
$15,000 — Flooring, lighting, section off five offices

SPRINGFIELD

Albany Road
1287 Liberty St.
$25,000 — Replace floors, remove non-beating walls, new bar, electrical, and plumbing at Springfield Plaza

City of Springfield
415 State St.
$5,000 — Add door to provide classroom access to existing closet at Commerce High School

MassMutual Life Insurance Corp.
1500 Main St.
$395,074 — Demolish interior partitions, new partitions and doors, new finishes, hand sinks, headwall units for UMass College of Nursing expansion

Bobby Patel
942 Belmont Ave.
$78,300 — Remove existing roof system at Old Grampy’s building to get ready for new truss design

Shriners Hospitals for Children
516 Carew St.
$249,942 — Renovate space to accommodate new equipment in radiology suite

SIS Center Inc.
1441 Main St.
$230,000 — Interior fit-out for new tenant on 12th floor

Juliette Son
170 Mayflower St.
$5,000 — Rebuild and expand garage

Yukon Group, LLC
119 Fisk Ave.
$4,850 — Add office and restroom

WARE

Aldrich Management Co.
124 West St.
$35,000 — Interior renovations for a takeout pizza kitchen

U.S. Bank Trust/Marty’s Real Estate
21 Robbins Road
$32,000 — Roofing, carpentry, build steps to basement, install new bulkhead

WEST SPRINGFIELD

Agri-Mark
964 Riverdale St.
$10,000 — Changes to concrete block wall

Company Notebook Departments

Old Chapel at UMass Earns LEED Gold Certification

AMHERST — The renovation of the historic Old Chapel at UMass Amherst earned LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The LEED rating system is the foremost program for buildings, homes, and communities that are designed, constructed, maintained, and operated for improved environmental and human health performance. Built in 1885, the Old Chapel is the most iconic and significant historic building on the UMass Amherst campus. Designed by Steven Earle in the Richardsonian Romanesque style, the building originally housed a library, auditorium, natural-history collections, and classrooms. It was later used as a drill hall, departmental offices, and finally as home to the Minuteman Marching Band in the 1960s, before officially closing its doors in 1999 due to structural deterioration. The Old Chapel was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2015, and work began on a $21 million renovation, addition, and preservation effort to restore the building to its original glory. The revitalized Old Chapel now serves students, faculty, and alumni as a campus resource. The first floor provides a flexible layout for student study, gallery exhibitions, and community events, while the Great Hall on the top floor provides a large, open space for performances, lectures, receptions, and weddings. UMass Amherst and the UMass Building Authority hired Finegold Alexander Architects of Boston to design the restoration and demonstrate how aspects of historic preservation and sustainability can work together. The firm deployed an array of sustainability strategies to maintain the integrity of the original design and materials, while adapting the building’s structure and interior to modern use, access, and building-code requirements. The Old Chapel’s original structure consists of local timber and stone such as Pelham granite and Longmeadow sandstone. The design reused 83% of structural masonry, wood columns, beams, trusses, and wainscoting trim, and 82% of new wood products were either locally sourced or certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. The addition of a contemporary glass entry pavilion at the south façade is integrated into a landscaped terrace that provides full accessibility while also incorporating water-efficient landscaping and rainwater management that improves site ecology. Meeting modern indoor environment and energy-efficiency requirements within the original exterior wall assembly was a challenge; the design team used energy modeling to find the correct balance of masonry-wall insulation, energy-efficient glazing, and stained-glass restoration so that sustainability goals were in concert with historic restoration efforts. The building is designed to exceed code energy performance by 21% and to reduce potable water use by 34%, and it will follow a rigorous measurement and verification process that ensures those savings are realized post-occupancy.

The Hub Studio Announces Grand-opening Celebration

FLORENCE — Tracy Roth, who launched the Hub Studio, a fitness studio located at the Nonotuck Mill in Florence, will host a grand opening at the studio on Saturday, Sept. 30 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The studio will offer spinning, TRX resistance training, mat Pilates, scientifically backed nutrition-coaching programs, outdoor cycling instruction, workshops, special events, and more. The grand opening will include refreshments and snacks from local cafés and restaurants, live music from kid-friendly DJ Quintessential, free chair massage, a raffle, and more. The raffle prizes include classes and a three-month membership at the Hub Studio, as well as other exclusive items from area businesses. The event is free, and the public is welcome. Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz will attend to assist with the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Located in Suite 202 at the Nonotuck Mill, 296-C Nonotuck St., Florence, the studio will be open full-time starting Monday, Oct. 2 and will include group fitness classes for all levels during the morning, afternoon, and evening hours. The studio will also have classes, workshops, and special events on Saturdays and Sundays. For class descriptions, schedule, a blog, and more, visit www.yourhubstudio.com.

BCC Launches New Job-search Website

PITTSFIELD — Berkshire Community College (BCC) announced that its Career Development Center has launched new career-management software with College Central Network (CCN) at www.collegecentral.com/berkshirecc. BCC students past, present, and future now have access to the latest resources and job opportunities at the regional and national level. Additionally, this tool will enhance communication among various departments within the college that routinely collaborate with employers in the community. The new website offers exclusive job postings targeting the BCC student and alumni population as well as access to hundreds of career articles, podcasts, and career-advice resources. Students and any community members can upload or build a résumé on the site as well as register for career-related events around the area and receive alerts for their ideal job. BCC recently sent out registration notifications to local employers, inviting them to create an account. Once confirmed, they may begin uploading job opportunities that they would like to post. BCC’s job-search site is meant to assist local employers and the community in making it easier to post and find jobs. It also helps ensure a smooth transition for BCC students to find local employment with support from the software and the college’s Career Development Center team.

JA of Western Massachusetts Announces Grant Awards

SPRINGFIELD — Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts announced that it received a $10,000 grant from the United Bank Foundation to bring financial-literacy programs to students in East Longmeadow, Westfield, West Springfield, and Springfield. The programs will teach students concepts related to budgeting, saving, and money management with the intent of promoting the development of good financial habits. The partnership includes the involvement of volunteers from United Bank to help deliver the programs to students. Meanwhile, JA of Western Massachusetts also received a $7,200 grant from the UPS Foundation to implement JA “Be Entrepreneurial” classes. The curriculum introduces high-school students to the essential elements of a practical business plan and challenges them to start an entrepreneurial venture while still in high school. Students learn about advertising, competitive advantages, financing, marketing, and product development, all of which are key to being an informed entrepreneur. The program includes seven 45-minute sessions taught by a community or corporate volunteer. Volunteers bring in their own experiences and life lessons to the classroom to enhance the JA program. Schools and organizations participating in “Be Entrepreneurial” include Putnam Vocational Technical Academy, the JA BEE Summer Program, the Center for Human Development, St. Mary’s High School, and East Longmeadow High School.

Tighe & Bond Among Top New England Design Firms

WESTFIELD — Tighe & Bond, a Northeast leader in engineering and environmental consulting, has been ranked ninth in the Engineering News Record’s (ENR) New England Top Design Firms edition. In addition, the firm was named among the Top 200 Environmental Firms by ENR, and appeared for the first time as a Top 60 Engineering Firm nationwide by Building Design + Construction. Other recent rankings for Tighe & Bond include number 154 on ENR’s list of Top 200 Environmental Firms, based on environmental-specific revenue from 2016; number 260 on ENR’s Top 500 Design Firms, based on design-specific revenue from 2016; and sixth on Hartford Business Journal’s list of Largest Engineering Firms in Greater Hartford.

Hogan Technology Receives Cybersecurity Certification

EASTHAMPTON — Hogan Technology, a provider of unified communications, announced that the company is certified to provide cybersecurity solutions to SMBs (small to mid-sized businesses) to protect them from the barrage of cyberattacks that occur every day. Cybercrimes are a serious threat, and most businesses cannot afford to become the victim of malware, ransomware, phishing, password attacks, denial-of-service attacks, or malvertising of any sort for a prolonged period of time, said Sean Hogan, president of Hogan Technology. Recent advancements in preventive technology have helped SMBs safeguard themselves from unnecessary attacks, network vulnerabilities, and company downtime that can often result from such disruptions. Hogan Technology invests heavily in its staff of IT professionals to ensure that everyone is well-trained, certified, and fully equipped to protect customers from cyberattacks.

Bay Path Master’s Degree in Applied Data Science Ranked 12th Nationally

LONGMEADOW — Bay Path University’s master’s of science degree in applied data science was ranked 12th in a list of the top 50 data-science programs nationwide by www.onlinecoursereport.com. Rankings were based on a combination of affordability, flexibility, and student support services. The article highlights the low student-to-faculty ratio of 12 to 1 at Bay Path. It also makes reference to the university’s WiSH (Women in STEM Honors) program, which offers a four-year curriculum consisting of integrated and advanced study and research for women at the undergraduate level dedicated to becoming scientists. The university is also home to the Center of Excellence for Women in STEM, providing professional development, networking, and mentorship opportunities for students and professional women in STEM fields. The program is fully online and open to both women and men. The 36-credit program teaches the fundamental principles, platforms, and toolsets of the data-science profession in an accelerated format that can be completed in as little as one year. This rapidly growing career field is well suited to professionals with backgrounds in mathematics, statistics, and business analysis, with graduates achieving such career outcomes as data scientist, data engineer, and more.

Departments Real Estate

The following real estate transactions (latest available) were compiled by Banker & Tradesman and are published as they were received. Only transactions exceeding $115,000 are listed. Buyer and seller fields contain only the first name listed on the deed.

FRANKLIN COUNTY

ASHFIELD

Baptist Corner Road
Ashfield, MA 01330
Amount: $115,000
Buyer: Keith Zorn
Seller: Kyla Allon
Date: 08/04/17

688 Bear Swamp Road
Ashfield, MA 01330
Amount: $325,000
Buyer: Daniel K. Lederer
Seller: First Congregational Church
Date: 08/04/17

396 Buckland Road
Ashfield, MA 01330
Amount: $195,000
Buyer: Robert P. Williamson
Seller: Nelson Howes
Date: 07/25/17

143-A Buckland Road
Ashfield, MA 01330
Amount: $180,000
Buyer: Burning Sensation LLC
Seller: Douglas R. Pease
Date: 08/01/17

143-B Buckland Road
Ashfield, MA 01330
Amount: $180,000
Buyer: Burning Sensation LLC
Seller: Douglas R. Pease
Date: 08/01/17

143-C Buckland Road
Ashfield, MA 01330
Amount: $180,000
Buyer: Burning Sensation LLC
Seller: Douglas R. Pease
Date: 08/01/17

BUCKLAND

146 Bray Road
Buckland, MA 01338
Amount: $358,700
Buyer: Alicia S. Levey
Seller: Linda A. Merritt
Date: 07/26/17

CHARLEMONT

77 Rowe Road
Charlemont, MA 01339
Amount: $139,000
Buyer: Charles J. Crosier
Seller: Collins, Mary B., (Estate)
Date: 07/25/17

CONWAY

16 Bond St.
Conway, MA 01341
Amount: $223,700
Buyer: Dylan Vight
Seller: Bernadine Mellis
Date: 08/04/17

539 Graves Road
Conway, MA 01341
Amount: $350,000
Buyer: James E. Marsh
Seller: Susan Hawes
Date: 07/31/17

332 Williamsburg Road
Conway, MA 01341
Amount: $162,500
Buyer: Sherry D. Ouimet
Seller: US Bank
Date: 07/31/17

DEERFIELD

32 Captain Lathrop Dr.
Deerfield, MA 01373
Amount: $261,000
Buyer: Cheryl A. Patterson
Seller: David Persons
Date: 07/31/17

3 Jones Road
Deerfield, MA 01342
Amount: $166,419
Buyer: USA VA
Seller: Sarah A. Leclerc
Date: 08/04/17

64 Whately Road
Deerfield, MA 01373
Amount: $306,000
Buyer: Jesse L. Sheldon
Seller: Francis G. Sobieski
Date: 08/03/17

GREENFIELD

720 Bernardston Road
Greenfield, MA 01301
Amount: $400,000
Buyer: Isaac L. Galeas
Seller: Cheryl D. Goodwin
Date: 07/27/17

339 Federal St.
Greenfield, MA 01301
Amount: $125,000
Buyer: Svetlana K. Stewart
Seller: Jeffrey A. Traft
Date: 08/01/17

62 Green River Road
Greenfield, MA 01301
Amount: $385,000
Buyer: Jeremy M. Suhl
Seller: Treusch FT
Date: 07/31/17

28 Harrison Ave.
Greenfield, MA 01301
Amount: $185,000
Buyer: Kristi L. Cessarossi
Seller: Charles R. Smith
Date: 08/04/17

8 Madison Circle
Greenfield, MA 01301
Amount: $255,000
Buyer: Eric Fry
Seller: Jennifer H. Suhl
Date: 07/31/17

57 Norwood St.
Greenfield, MA 01301
Amount: $265,000
Buyer: Jeffrey E. Lapointe
Seller: Mary P. Quinlan
Date: 07/28/17

65 Norwood St.
Greenfield, MA 01301
Amount: $155,000
Buyer: Benjamin R. Halkett
Seller: Ahlskog, Howard E. Jr, (Estate)
Date: 08/03/17

98 Old Albany Road
Greenfield, MA 01301
Amount: $415,000
Buyer: Daniel J. Poggi
Seller: Robert J. Ericson
Date: 08/04/17

40 Prospect St.
Greenfield, MA 01301
Amount: $205,000
Buyer: James Schmidt
Seller: Kenneth W. Russell
Date: 07/28/17

175 Silver St.
Greenfield, MA 01301
Amount: $280,000
Buyer: Robert Foley
Seller: Stuart C. Pratt
Date: 08/01/17

82 Thayer Road
Greenfield, MA 01301
Amount: $154,000
Buyer: Jody P. James
Seller: Linda M. Mackenzie
Date: 07/28/17

23 Warner St.
Greenfield, MA 01301
Amount: $131,900
Buyer: Christine Thorington
Seller: Petrin, John D., (Estate)
Date: 07/28/17

MONTAGUE

55 11th St.
Montague, MA 01376
Amount: $127,000
Buyer: Sheila Webster
Seller: Pioneer Valley Redeveloper
Date: 07/27/17

1 Emond Ave.
Montague, MA 01376
Amount: $155,000
Buyer: Sean P. Sibley
Seller: Jeffrey E. Emond
Date: 07/28/17

39 Grove St.
Montague, MA 01376
Amount: $249,000
Buyer: David M. Shea
Seller: Barbara A. Rivet
Date: 07/27/17

14 High St.
Montague, MA 01376
Amount: $270,000
Buyer: Ralph R. Messick
Seller: Stanleigh I. Johnson
Date: 08/01/17

NORTHFIELD

33 Hamilton Dr.
Northfield, MA 01360
Amount: $174,900
Buyer: Cynthia F. Channing
Seller: Timothy P. Umscheid
Date: 07/26/17

196 Millers Falls Road
Northfield, MA 01360
Amount: $118,750
Buyer: William R. Chaney
Seller: USA HUD
Date: 07/28/17

817 Millers Falls Road
Northfield, MA 01360
Amount: $229,500
Buyer: Lindsay Lesenski
Seller: Joseph G. Saviski
Date: 08/04/17

829 Millers Falls Road
Northfield, MA 01360
Amount: $285,500
Buyer: Kristopher E. Bradbury
Seller: Wood IRT
Date: 07/28/17

ORANGE

77 High St.
Orange, MA 01364
Amount: $155,000
Buyer: Kathryn M. Ahearn
Seller: Brian J. Gannon
Date: 07/25/17

79 Marjorie St.
Orange, MA 01364
Amount: $158,000
Buyer: Neil P. Branco
Seller: Daniel P. Sheehan
Date: 07/28/17

46 Mill St.
Orange, MA 01364
Amount: $1,600,000
Buyer: Jash USA Inc.
Seller: Vag USA LLC
Date: 07/25/17

174 Pleasant St.
Orange, MA 01364
Amount: $132,000
Buyer: Jacob M. Earl
Seller: Michael P. Earl
Date: 07/28/17

ROWE

145 Leshure Road
Rowe, MA 01367
Amount: $219,000
Buyer: Susan D. Tomlinson
Seller: David J. Keppler
Date: 08/02/17

SHELBURNE

3 Common Road
Shelburne, MA 01370
Amount: $375,000
Buyer: Lynn E. Samaan
Seller: Philip W. Shulda
Date: 07/28/17

98 Old Albany Road
Shelburne, MA 01370
Amount: $415,000
Buyer: Daniel J. Poggi
Seller: Robert J. Ericson
Date: 08/04/17

SUNDERLAND

Amherst Road
Sunderland, MA 01375
Amount: $165,000
Buyer: NSTAR Electric Co.
Seller: WD Cowls Inc.
Date: 07/31/17

126 North Main St.
Sunderland, MA 01375
Amount: $265,000
Buyer: Margaret A. Byrne
Seller: Beverly J. Clarity
Date: 07/31/17

49 South Silver Lane
Sunderland, MA 01375
Amount: $235,000
Buyer: Vincent J. Tran
Seller: Carolyn P. Zimnowski
Date: 07/31/17

WARWICK

315 Athol Road
Warwick, MA 01378
Amount: $230,000
Buyer: James D. Vanvalkenburgh
Seller: Carr, Bruce, (Estate)
Date: 07/27/17

WHATELY

135 Conway Road
Whately, MA 01093
Amount: $272,900
Buyer: Robert J. Ericson
Seller: Caroline A. Christie
Date: 08/04/17

12 Long Plain Road
Whately, MA 01373
Amount: $305,000
Buyer: Denise M. Govoni
Seller: Denise E. Delaney
Date: 07/28/17

HAMPDEN COUNTY

AGAWAM

16 Carol Ave.
Agawam, MA 01030
Amount: $230,000
Buyer: Sarah L. Daglio
Seller: Kenneth J. Thompson
Date: 08/02/17

31 Edward St.
Agawam, MA 01001
Amount: $253,000
Buyer: John J. Digiovanni
Seller: Ellen K. Juzba
Date: 07/31/17

92 Farmington Circle
Agawam, MA 01030
Amount: $450,000
Buyer: Peter Polito
Seller: Hillside Development Corp.
Date: 07/27/17

45 Federal St.
Agawam, MA 01001
Amount: $185,000
Buyer: Kevin A. Masek
Seller: Paul Drewnowski
Date: 07/26/17

200 Leonard St.
Agawam, MA 01001
Amount: $190,000
Buyer: US Bank
Seller: Kelle R. Morello
Date: 08/01/17

7 Moreau Place
Agawam, MA 01001
Amount: $279,000
Buyer: David M. Nolan
Seller: Jacqueline G. Loney
Date: 07/31/17

243 North Westfield St.
Agawam, MA 01030
Amount: $144,000
Buyer: Steven Grushetskiy
Seller: Yvonne D. Baez
Date: 07/28/17

664 North Westfield St.
Agawam, MA 01030
Amount: $198,000
Buyer: Ryan M. Roberts
Seller: Michael W. Price
Date: 07/28/17

86 Roberta Circle
Agawam, MA 01001
Amount: $193,000
Buyer: Justin V. Buiso
Seller: Diane M. Goodman
Date: 07/31/17

1143 Shoemaker Lane
Agawam, MA 01030
Amount: $299,900
Buyer: Rudolf Korobkov
Seller: Michael J. Augusti
Date: 07/31/17

BRIMFIELD

101 Cubles Dr.
Brimfield, MA 01010
Amount: $249,000
Buyer: Terence L. Hegarty
Seller: John H. Chianese
Date: 07/28/17

81 Little Alum Road
Brimfield, MA 01010
Amount: $175,000
Buyer: Donna A. Jaworski
Seller: Nancy J. Chapdelaine
Date: 07/24/17

CHESTER

2 Ed Lebleau Road
Chester, MA 01011
Amount: $230,000
Buyer: Thomas C. Robitaille
Seller: Edward Burt
Date: 07/28/17

282 Skyline Trail
Chester, MA 01011
Amount: $292,000
Buyer: Kaila R. Spencer
Seller: Richard Gemme
Date: 07/31/17

CHICOPEE

69 Ames Ave.
Chicopee, MA 01013
Amount: $164,500
Buyer: Sara Bonakdar
Seller: Lloyd Investments LLC
Date: 07/25/17

74 Ann St.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Amount: $175,000
Buyer: Christopher George
Seller: Donald R. Blanton
Date: 08/01/17

24 Beesley Ave.
Chicopee, MA 01013
Amount: $168,500
Buyer: Adam J. Eckert
Seller: Gregory M. Powers
Date: 07/31/17

548 Broadway St.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Amount: $169,500
Buyer: Arelys Otero
Seller: Ioannis Mirisis
Date: 07/25/17

132 Carew St.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Amount: $120,000
Buyer: AEM Property Investment
Seller: Ruby Realty LLC
Date: 07/28/17

Carriage Road #36
Chicopee, MA 01020
Amount: $275,000
Buyer: Joseph McDaneld
Seller: Gabriel P. Bergeron
Date: 07/28/17

102 Cochran St.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Amount: $175,700
Buyer: Anne M. Devine
Seller: Rybak, Lucille J., (Estate)
Date: 07/25/17

16 Connell St.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Amount: $165,960
Buyer: Joshua T. Kelliher
Seller: Ronald R. Heroux
Date: 07/27/17

401 East St.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Amount: $142,500
Buyer: Jonathan P. Miller
Seller: Jeffrey M. Deren
Date: 08/04/17

94 Forest St.
Chicopee, MA 01013
Amount: $239,000
Buyer: Ismael Bernabel
Seller: Bruce G. Boisselle
Date: 08/03/17

402 Granby Road
Chicopee, MA 01013
Amount: $250,000
Buyer: Marlane T. Velthouse
Seller: John D. Mcgrane
Date: 07/25/17

36 Grandview St.
Chicopee, MA 01013
Amount: $164,900
Buyer: Bethany Valeris
Seller: Joseph Simonich
Date: 07/28/17

73 Hilton St.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Amount: $145,000
Buyer: Stephen J. Badura
Seller: Laura A. Schmieding
Date: 08/02/17

231 Langevin St.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Amount: $180,000
Buyer: Daniel C. Sadlowski
Seller: Evan M. Breeding
Date: 07/28/17

52 Lincoln St.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Amount: $199,500
Buyer: South Middlesex Non-Profit
Seller: Florent D. Marcoux
Date: 07/31/17

36 Loomis Dr.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Amount: $250,000
Buyer: Daryl D. Berrelli
Seller: Bogdan Matysik
Date: 07/28/17

37 Luther St.
Chicopee, MA 01013
Amount: $240,000
Buyer: Jonathan P. Damours
Seller: Mark A. Russell
Date: 07/27/17

48 Marion St.
Chicopee, MA 01013
Amount: $190,000
Buyer: Jason R. Dorman
Seller: Mary R. Gancarz
Date: 07/28/17

64 Marion St.
Chicopee, MA 01013
Amount: $200,000
Buyer: Patrick A. Chamberlain
Seller: Karen Langome
Date: 07/31/17

132 Maryland Ave.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Amount: $182,000
Buyer: German Garcia
Seller: Leonid A. Ignatyuk
Date: 08/03/17

20 Mount Carmel Ave.
Chicopee, MA 01013
Amount: $169,900
Buyer: Luis R. Nunez
Seller: Alexander Hripak
Date: 07/31/17

270 Murphy Lane
Chicopee, MA 01020
Amount: $205,000
Buyer: Jarred R. Belisle
Seller: St.Pierre, Diane L., (Estate)
Date: 07/28/17

71 Oakridge St.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Amount: $205,000
Buyer: Michael A. Schmitt
Seller: Jessica M. Harper
Date: 07/31/17

177 Rimmon Ave.
Chicopee, MA 01013
Amount: $150,000
Buyer: Hannah L. Chapman
Seller: Thomas J. Bresnahan
Date: 07/31/17

49 Royalton St.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Amount: $123,600
Buyer: Kristine D. Labelle
Seller: Theodore A. Monette
Date: 07/24/17

74 Saint Jacques Ave.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Amount: $146,000
Buyer: Robert W. Smith
Seller: Ronald J. Pete
Date: 08/01/17

67 Streiber Dr.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Amount: $221,964
Buyer: Wells Fargo Bank
Seller: Doreen A. Pepin
Date: 07/27/17

81 Summit Ave.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Amount: $155,000
Buyer: Martin O. Franco-Bermudez
Seller: Brenda L. Russo
Date: 07/25/17

101 Sunflower Ave.
Chicopee, MA 01013
Amount: $164,000
Buyer: Thomas M. Luce
Seller: Dianne Roe-Gallo
Date: 08/01/17

110 Sunflower Ave.
Chicopee, MA 01013
Amount: $192,000
Buyer: Damaris Aponte
Seller: Anthony M. Rigali
Date: 07/28/17

96 Sunflower Ave.
Chicopee, MA 01013
Amount: $155,000
Buyer: William Hernandez
Seller: William R. Hernandez
Date: 07/26/17

19 Surrey Lane
Chicopee, MA 01013
Amount: $275,000
Buyer: Joseph McDaneld
Seller: Gabriel P. Bergeron
Date: 07/28/17

38 Szetela Dr.
Chicopee, MA 01013
Amount: $230,000
Buyer: Gregory M. Powers
Seller: Theodora J. Galica
Date: 07/31/17

19 Theodore St.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Amount: $192,000
Buyer: Amanda L. Monette
Seller: Brenda I. Maloney
Date: 08/02/17

35 Theodore St.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Amount: $133,500
Buyer: Mark A. Moller
Seller: Jared S. Debettencourt
Date: 07/31/17

31 Victoria Park
Chicopee, MA 01020
Amount: $200,000
Buyer: Jeffrey F. Thompson
Seller: Kyle Lewis
Date: 07/31/17

15 Wawel St.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Amount: $134,000
Buyer: Deniz M. Kan
Seller: Sean E. Daly
Date: 07/24/17

23 White Birch Ave.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Amount: $175,000
Buyer: Patrick K. Asselin
Seller: Min Realty LLC
Date: 07/27/17

43 Woodcrest Dr.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Amount: $230,000
Buyer: John Bergeron
Seller: James A. Smith
Date: 07/28/17

EAST LONGMEADOW

Amalfi Dr.
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Amount: $169,900
Buyer: Paul Heath
Seller: Bella Vista Land Holdings
Date: 07/26/17

5 Balmoral Dr.
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Amount: $529,600
Buyer: Krishna P. Kafle
Seller: Gwilym Jones
Date: 07/28/17

123 Dearborn St.
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Amount: $385,000
Buyer: Nicholas Dangelo
Seller: Michael Carabetta
Date: 07/31/17

9 Euclid Ave.
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Amount: $308,700
Buyer: Melissa A. Barrington
Seller: Michael F. Torcia
Date: 07/27/17

29 Forest Hills Road
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Amount: $195,000
Buyer: Floyd P. VanLone
Seller: Robert J. Guilmette
Date: 08/04/17

50 Franconia Circle
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Amount: $240,000
Buyer: William Christie
Seller: Teresa D. Cavanaugh
Date: 07/28/17

59 Franconia Circle
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Amount: $250,000
Buyer: Theresa Poremba
Seller: Yakov Gartsbeyn
Date: 07/28/17

24 Gates Ave.
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Amount: $230,000
Buyer: Rebecca M. Webster
Seller: Matthew P. Kranz
Date: 07/27/17

63 Greenwich Road
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Amount: $379,500
Buyer: Benjamin F. Turnberg
Seller: Paul M. Albano
Date: 07/28/17

64 Lee St.
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Amount: $196,000
Buyer: Justin A. Lamontagne
Seller: Robert Sopet
Date: 08/02/17

16 Longview Dr.
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Amount: $237,000
Buyer: Jean M. Faria
Seller: Jeanne Raudensky
Date: 07/28/17

43 Meadowbrook Road
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Amount: $230,000
Buyer: Bank New York Mellon
Seller: Mark A. Bilton
Date: 07/28/17

295 Millbrook Dr.
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Amount: $520,000
Buyer: Jian Y. Wang
Seller: Mario Ferrentino
Date: 07/28/17

125 Patterson Ave.
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Amount: $304,900
Buyer: Shalina B. Wray
Seller: David A. Deangelis
Date: 07/31/17

Pondview Dr.
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Amount: $134,900
Buyer: Douglas G. Mcadoo
Seller: Joseph Chapdelaine & Sons
Date: 07/24/17

600 Prospect St.
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Amount: $408,000
Buyer: Roland F. Berthiaume
Seller: Antonio J. Pietroniro
Date: 08/04/17

108 Rogers Road
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Amount: $200,000
Buyer: Jeffrey M. Becker
Seller: Matthew R. Pollock
Date: 07/31/17

14 Rural Lane
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Amount: $357,000
Buyer: Michael Sheehan
Seller: Paula S. Wayne
Date: 07/28/17

45 Schuyler Dr.
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Amount: $235,000
Buyer: Erica L. Fisher
Seller: Timothy B. Hickey
Date: 08/02/17

484 Somers Road
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Amount: $305,000
Buyer: Brian S. Connaughton
Seller: William T. Raleigh
Date: 07/26/17

57 Tufts St.
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Amount: $155,000
Buyer: Eric Johnson
Seller: Marc A. Hiser
Date: 08/04/17

334 Westwood Ave.
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Amount: $324,000
Buyer: Patrick J. Byrne
Seller: Julie A. Michaelson
Date: 08/04/17

GRANVILLE

54 Granby Road
Granville, MA 01034
Amount: $355,000
Buyer: Robert M. O’Connor
Seller: Donald B. Johnson
Date: 07/31/17

666 Main Road
Granville, MA 01034
Amount: $124,900
Buyer: Elmer J. Robinette
Seller: Elizabeth D. Merring
Date: 07/28/17

87 Silver St.
Granville, MA 01034
Amount: $318,500
Buyer: Karen Dahmke
Seller: Daniel Hoadley
Date: 07/31/17

HAMPDEN

16 Kibbe Lane
Hampden, MA 01036
Amount: $423,844
Buyer: Joseph Celetti
Seller: Custom Homes Development Group
Date: 07/27/17

Kibbe Lane
Hampden, MA 01036
Amount: $500,000
Buyer: Custom Homes Dev Group
Seller: Ed Speight & Co. Inc.
Date: 07/27/17

Kibbe Lane #15
Hampden, MA 01036
Amount: $500,000
Buyer: Custom Homes Dev Group
Seller: Ed Speight & Co. Inc.
Date: 07/27/17

Kibbe Lane #16
Hampden, MA 01036
Amount: $500,000
Buyer: Custom Homes Dev Group
Seller: Ed Speight & Co. Inc.
Date: 07/27/17

Kibbe Lane #17-19
Hampden, MA 01036
Amount: $500,000
Buyer: Custom Homes Dev Group
Seller: Ed Speight & Co. Inc.
Date: 07/27/17

Kibbe Lane #4
Hampden, MA 01036
Amount: $500,000
Buyer: Custom Homes Dev Group
Seller: Ed Speight & Co. Inc.
Date: 07/27/17

437 Main St.
Hampden, MA 01036
Amount: $158,500
Buyer: Keith R. Wiley
Seller: Karen W. Quiet
Date: 08/03/17

HOLLAND

8 Brandon St.
Holland, MA 01521
Amount: $265,000
Buyer: Michael Harpin
Seller: Gayle Neff
Date: 07/28/17

15 Chaffee Road
Holland, MA 01521
Amount: $125,000
Buyer: Benjamin C. Marinelli
Seller: Storey, Allan E., (Estate)
Date: 07/27/17

10 Collette Dr.
Holland, MA 01521
Amount: $285,000
Buyer: Stacy Stout
Seller: Dennis M. Quinlan
Date: 07/28/17

15 Lakeridge Dr.
Holland, MA 01521
Amount: $140,000
Buyer: Jeffrey Neilson
Seller: Annette G. Kelehan
Date: 08/04/17

224 Stafford Road
Holland, MA 01521
Amount: $255,000
Buyer: Robert J. Beauregard
Seller: Richard E. Blease
Date: 07/28/17

HOLYOKE

21 Bassett Road
Holyoke, MA 01040
Amount: $213,000
Buyer: James Egge
Seller: Robert E. Olmstead
Date: 08/03/17

45 Berkshire St.
Holyoke, MA 01040
Amount: $136,000
Buyer: Edgar J. Diaz
Seller: John G. Martin
Date: 07/27/17

172 Central Park Dr.
Holyoke, MA 01040
Amount: $240,000
Buyer: Mackenzie Pause
Seller: Angel L. Rodriguez
Date: 07/24/17

15 Concord Ave.
Holyoke, MA 01040
Amount: $173,000
Buyer: Betsy A. Everett
Seller: Karen A. Gaulin
Date: 07/31/17

6 Curran Lane
Holyoke, MA 01040
Amount: $191,000
Buyer: Kyle G. Anderson
Seller: Anne M. Curran-Laplante
Date: 08/01/17

210 Elm St.
Holyoke, MA 01040
Amount: $175,000
Buyer: Chicopee Kendall LLC
Seller: Girls Inc. Of Holyoke
Date: 08/04/17

21 Florence Ave.
Holyoke, MA 01040
Amount: $203,000
Buyer: Kevin M. Benson
Seller: Guillermo Santiago
Date: 08/02/17

676 Hampden St.
Holyoke, MA 01040
Amount: $175,000
Buyer: Jessica Delgado-Morales
Seller: Margarita Matias
Date: 07/24/17

205 Hillside Ave.
Holyoke, MA 01040
Amount: $175,500
Buyer: Nadia Muusse
Seller: Jeremy P. Brown
Date: 07/27/17

40 Lower Westfield Road
Holyoke, MA 01040
Amount: $149,900
Buyer: Erica F. Schomer
Seller: Emilia Cruz
Date: 07/31/17

1226-1228 Main St.
Holyoke, MA 01040
Amount: $190,000
Buyer: Blue Summit Realty LLC
Seller: Mark Bonavita
Date: 07/28/17

960 Main St.
Holyoke, MA 01040
Amount: $164,000
Buyer: Carmen J. Hernandez
Seller: Jahjan LLC
Date: 07/28/17

428 Maple St.
Holyoke, MA 01040
Amount: $565,000
Buyer: Muni Management Inc.
Seller: Mark A. Caplette
Date: 08/04/17

98 Nonotuck St.
Holyoke, MA 01040
Amount: $197,000
Buyer: Frank M. Ruemmele
Seller: John F. Tenczar
Date: 07/28/17

21-23 Parker St.
Holyoke, MA 01040
Amount: $180,000
Buyer: Amanda F. Leitl
Seller: Linda M. Menard
Date: 08/03/17

24 Parker St.
Holyoke, MA 01040
Amount: $169,900
Buyer: Chad M. Cain
Seller: Eric A. Frary
Date: 07/28/17

325 Pleasant St.
Holyoke, MA 01040
Amount: $144,000
Buyer: Caitlin R. Shea
Seller: Dorothy A. Wojciak
Date: 07/24/17

18 Quirk Ave.
Holyoke, MA 01040
Amount: $450,000
Buyer: Hat Trick Properties LLC
Seller: Holyoke Property Management
Date: 07/27/17

20 Rhode Island St.
Holyoke, MA 01040
Amount: $220,000
Buyer: Clemente Saravia
Seller: Healy, Patrick J., (Estate)
Date: 08/04/17

173 South St.
Holyoke, MA 01040
Amount: $120,000
Buyer: Donald G. Abrahamson
Seller: Kevin Cruz
Date: 07/31/17

298 West Franklin St.
Holyoke, MA 01040
Amount: $165,000
Buyer: Richard A. Santiago
Seller: Michael J. Lattinville
Date: 08/01/17

LONGMEADOW

45 Belleclaire Ave.
Longmeadow, MA 01106
Amount: $324,000
Buyer: Jeffrey Lamoureux
Seller: Alexander C. McGill
Date: 07/28/17

21 Brookwood Dr.
Longmeadow, MA 01106
Amount: $255,000
Buyer: Joseph A. Gallo
Seller: Robitaille, Janice C., (Estate)
Date: 08/04/17

24 Chatham Road
Longmeadow, MA 01106
Amount: $360,000
Buyer: William P. Harrington
Seller: Patrica E. Sullivan
Date: 07/28/17

68 Churchill Dr.
Longmeadow, MA 01106
Amount: $535,000
Buyer: Alexander C. McGill
Seller: Kathleen A. Nietupski
Date: 07/28/17

432 Frank Smith Road
Longmeadow, MA 01106
Amount: $413,000
Buyer: Lisa L. Scarnici
Seller: Dawn M. Quercia
Date: 08/04/17

217 Laurel St.
Longmeadow, MA 01106
Amount: $320,000
Buyer: Lauren L. Rollins
Seller: Linda Michalik
Date: 07/28/17

542 Laurel St.
Longmeadow, MA 01106
Amount: $340,000
Buyer: Scott G. Bombardier
Seller: Jonathan Pieciul
Date: 07/31/17

63 Lawnwood Ave.
Longmeadow, MA 01106
Amount: $174,000
Buyer: John E. Taylor
Seller: Ryan Connelly
Date: 08/01/17

56 Lincoln Road
Longmeadow, MA 01106
Amount: $310,558
Buyer: US Bank
Seller: Joseph M. Consolini
Date: 08/04/17

129 Longview Dr.
Longmeadow, MA 01106
Amount: $396,000
Buyer: Brian A. Hafey
Seller: Dennis M. Luciano
Date: 07/25/17

111 Maple Road
Longmeadow, MA 01106
Amount: $219,900
Buyer: Margaret Bernier
Seller: Jennifer A. Hafey
Date: 07/28/17

129 Normandy Road
Longmeadow, MA 01106
Amount: $289,900
Buyer: Nuwan Desilva
Seller: Sue E. Lovejoy
Date: 08/01/17

15 Pinewood Dr.
Longmeadow, MA 01106
Amount: $520,000
Buyer: Jesse R. Rivest
Seller: Robert S. King
Date: 08/01/17

63 Tanglewood Dr.
Longmeadow, MA 01106
Amount: $480,000
Buyer: Andrew T. Scott
Seller: Jami Wholesale LLC
Date: 07/24/17

85 Western Dr.
Longmeadow, MA 01106
Amount: $550,000
Buyer: John D. McGrane
Seller: Roy R. Johansen
Date: 07/25/17

188 Westmoreland Ave.
Longmeadow, MA 01106
Amount: $299,000
Buyer: Chantal M. Ryall
Seller: Ann M. Togneri
Date: 07/28/17

LUDLOW

39 Arnold St.
Ludlow, MA 01056
Amount: $209,900
Buyer: Daniel J. Parker
Seller: Jaime R. Hoppock
Date: 07/28/17

216 East St.
Ludlow, MA 01056
Amount: $149,500
Buyer: Katie E. Cole
Seller: Riverbend 2 Properties
Date: 07/28/17

100 Howard St.
Ludlow, MA 01056
Amount: $154,900
Buyer: Taylor K. Wiggin
Seller: Pedro P. Pereira
Date: 07/28/17

64 Mero St.
Ludlow, MA 01056
Amount: $162,000
Buyer: Jamee R. Stearns
Seller: Boucher FT
Date: 07/31/17

133 Ridgeview Circle
Ludlow, MA 01056
Amount: $185,000
Buyer: Jose S. Ovelheiro
Seller: Federico R. Molinari
Date: 07/24/17

MONSON

2 Carpenter Road
Monson, MA 01057
Amount: $269,000
Buyer: Mark E. Major
Seller: Jeffrey Kuselias
Date: 07/27/17

30 Childs Road
Monson, MA 01057
Amount: $215,000
Buyer: Kathryn Esser
Seller: Michele Salerno
Date: 08/04/17

63 Margaret St.
Monson, MA 01057
Amount: $160,000
Buyer: Jessica M. Coldwell
Seller: Frederick A. Waldron
Date: 08/02/17

160 May Hill Road
Monson, MA 01057
Amount: $168,000
Buyer: Jesse Beaudoin
Seller: Daniel A. Duval
Date: 07/28/17

125 Peck Brothers Road
Monson, MA 01057
Amount: $300,000
Buyer: Jeffrey A. Jordan
Seller: Brian I. Witkop
Date: 07/31/17

15 Woodhill Road
Monson, MA 01057
Amount: $278,000
Buyer: William J. Carabetta
Seller: Nathan J. Krach
Date: 07/24/17

PALMER

152 3 Rivers Road
Palmer, MA 01069
Amount: $155,000
Buyer: Kevin Harris
Seller: Linda A. Haskell
Date: 07/28/17

10 Elizabeth St.
Palmer, MA 01069
Amount: $275,000
Buyer: Kristin B. Novia
Seller: Barbara Holt
Date: 07/26/17

113 Longview St.
Palmer, MA 01069
Amount: $200,000
Buyer: William J. Beynor
Seller: Richard Corsi
Date: 07/25/17

1376-1378 Main St.
Palmer, MA 01069
Amount: $120,000
Buyer: PEL RT LLC
Seller: PFE Inc.
Date: 07/28/17

2119 Main St.
Palmer, MA 01080
Amount: $195,000
Buyer: Marlene Ottomaniello
Seller: Jean M. Faria
Date: 07/28/17

13 Orchard St.
Palmer, MA 01069
Amount: $128,000
Buyer: Louis E. Tortora
Seller: US Bank
Date: 08/02/17

1060 Overlook Dr.
Palmer, MA 01069
Amount: $194,500
Buyer: Daniel W. Gagner
Seller: Kimberly Bailey
Date: 08/03/17

33 Pearl St.
Palmer, MA 01069
Amount: $148,900
Buyer: Andrew M. Moontri
Seller: Brian Zandy
Date: 07/25/17

3027 Pleasant St.
Palmer, MA 01069
Amount: $158,000
Buyer: David A. Farnum
Seller: Lillian M. Griffin
Date: 08/03/17

22 Saint John St.
Palmer, MA 01069
Amount: $180,750
Buyer: Bank Of America
Seller: Julies F. Wellington
Date: 08/04/17

39 Shaw St.
Palmer, MA 01069
Amount: $160,000
Buyer: Anthony M. Wilkins
Seller: Stephen T. Masley
Date: 08/04/17

RUSSELL

725 General Knox Road
Russell, MA 01071
Amount: $239,900
Buyer: Brian M. Harvey
Seller: Lloyd O. Long
Date: 07/24/17

53 Highland Ave.
Russell, MA 01071
Amount: $199,900
Buyer: Jason J. Scribner
Seller: Allen D. Papillon
Date: 07/25/17

21 Main St.
Russell, MA 01008
Amount: $212,000
Buyer: Edward M. Donnachie
Seller: Bonnie L. Netto
Date: 07/25/17

SOUTHWICK

126 Berkshire Ave.
Southwick, MA 01077
Amount: $237,500
Buyer: Olga Liogky
Seller: Jayne Smith
Date: 07/26/17

28 Birchwood Road
Southwick, MA 01077
Amount: $202,900
Buyer: Anthony W. Frye
Seller: Kimberly A. Moses
Date: 07/28/17

66-R Feeding Hills Road
Southwick, MA 01077
Amount: $2,100,000
Buyer: Western Mass Electric Co.
Seller: Griffin Land Dev. MA LLC
Date: 08/04/17

18 Meadow Lane
Southwick, MA 01077
Amount: $143,000
Buyer: Craig S. Miller
Seller: Nicholas M. Katsounakis
Date: 08/01/17

14 Oak St.
Southwick, MA 01077
Amount: $140,000
Buyer: Walter E. Drenen
Seller: John Gulbrandsen
Date: 07/26/17

15 Shaggbark Dr.
Southwick, MA 01077
Amount: $225,000
Buyer: Robin A. Desruisseaux
Seller: William R. Currier
Date: 07/28/17

243 Sheep Pasture Road
Southwick, MA 01077
Amount: $264,999
Buyer: Dennis P. McGonagle
Seller: Andrew T. Scott
Date: 07/28/17

48 Sheep Pasture Road
Southwick, MA 01077
Amount: $130,000
Buyer: Christopher P. Whalley
Seller: Mary J. Duffy
Date: 07/31/17

SPRINGFIELD

274 Abbott St.
Springfield, MA 01118
Amount: $157,000
Buyer: Andrew Collins
Seller: Kenneth R. Bisi
Date: 07/27/17

16 Amity Court
Springfield, MA 01108
Amount: $140,000
Buyer: David Bedrosian
Seller: Samuel Bedrosian
Date: 07/27/17

540 Armory St.
Springfield, MA 01104
Amount: $3,389,212
Buyer: Amat Victoria Curam LLC
Seller: Della Ripa Real Estate
Date: 08/03/17

46 Bancroft St.
Springfield, MA 01107
Amount: $3,389,212
Buyer: Amat Victoria Curam LLC
Seller: Della Ripa Real Estate
Date: 08/03/17

111 Barre St.
Springfield, MA 01119
Amount: $143,000
Buyer: Joshualee D. Nembhard
Seller: Joseph J. Lynskey
Date: 07/28/17

47 Barrison St.
Springfield, MA 01109
Amount: $166,000
Buyer: Joel Maldonado
Seller: James Egge
Date: 07/28/17

323 Bay St.
Springfield, MA 01109
Amount: $3,389,212
Buyer: Amat Victoria Curam LLC
Seller: Della Ripa Real Estate
Date: 08/03/17

5 Bellwood Road
Springfield, MA 01119
Amount: $192,000
Buyer: Somalia Santiago
Seller: Ting Chang
Date: 07/31/17

28 Birch Glen Road
Springfield, MA 01119
Amount: $145,000
Buyer: Sean M. Geaghan
Seller: David J. Geaghan
Date: 08/01/17

135-137 Bloomfield St.
Springfield, MA 01108
Amount: $125,000
Buyer: Eric Newkirk
Seller: Viviana Council
Date: 07/28/17

194 Bolton St.
Springfield, MA 01119
Amount: $209,900
Buyer: Emily Kerswell
Seller: Hedge Hog Industries Corp.
Date: 07/31/17

30 Brandon Ave.
Springfield, MA 01119
Amount: $157,317
Buyer: US Bank
Seller: Jeffrey J. Jerome
Date: 08/04/17

55 Bridle Path Road
Springfield, MA 01118
Amount: $222,000
Buyer: Jemmala Encarnacion
Seller: Timothy M. Fedora
Date: 07/24/17

76 Bronson Ter.
Springfield, MA 01108
Amount: $312,000
Buyer: Ketaki Rella-Brooks
Seller: Patrick Roach
Date: 07/28/17

131 Bronson Ter.
Springfield, MA 01108
Amount: $194,900
Buyer: Dwayne Whitney
Seller: Daniel E. Bachelor
Date: 07/31/17

14 Brookside Circle
Springfield, MA 01129
Amount: $185,000
Buyer: Charlotte M. Zanolli
Seller: Elizabeth S. Barber-Jones
Date: 07/31/17

19 Bulat Dr.
Springfield, MA 01129
Amount: $137,000
Buyer: Estelle Castaneda
Seller: Michael Belanger
Date: 07/31/17

247 Cabinet St.
Springfield, MA 01129
Amount: $229,000
Buyer: Richard A. Glashow
Seller: Elvis A. Martinez
Date: 07/25/17

68-70 Calhoun St.
Springfield, MA 01107
Amount: $3,389,212
Buyer: Amat Victoria Curam LLC
Seller: Della Ripa Real Estate
Date: 08/03/17

81 Calley St.
Springfield, MA 01129
Amount: $220,000
Buyer: John J. Denoto
Seller: Christopher J. Conway
Date: 08/04/17

28 Canton St.
Springfield, MA 01104
Amount: $128,000
Buyer: Basile Realty LLC
Seller: Dsmith RE Holdings
Date: 07/31/17

13-15 Cass St.
Springfield, MA 01104
Amount: $3,389,212
Buyer: Amat Victoria Curam LLC
Seller: Della Ripa Real Estate
Date: 08/03/17

273-275 Centre St.
Springfield, MA 01151
Amount: $3,389,212
Buyer: Amat Victoria Curam LLC
Seller: Della Ripa Real Estate
Date: 08/03/17

108 Cherokee Dr.
Springfield, MA 01109
Amount: $150,000
Buyer: Christopher Santiago
Seller: Olmsted Realty LLC
Date: 07/28/17

67-69 Chester St.
Springfield, MA 01105
Amount: $3,389,212
Buyer: Amat Victoria Curam LLC
Seller: Della Ripa Real Estate
Date: 08/03/17

73 Clayton St.
Springfield, MA 01107
Amount: $130,000
Buyer: Carmen V. Mercado
Seller: LE & Associates LLC
Date: 08/04/17

107 College St.
Springfield, MA 01109
Amount: $262,500
Buyer: Boardwalk Apartments LLC
Seller: Blythewood Property Management
Date: 08/03/17

80 Cornell St.
Springfield, MA 01109
Amount: $136,000
Buyer: Siervo R. Jimenez
Seller: Say Cun
Date: 07/31/17

82 Crystal Ave.
Springfield, MA 01108
Amount: $127,900
Buyer: Peter C. Horta-Bergquist
Seller: Long, Christopher L., (Estate)
Date: 07/28/17

18-24 Decker Place
Springfield, MA 01104
Amount: $400,000
Buyer: Hat Trick Properties LLC
Seller: Abel J. Silveira
Date: 08/03/17

31 Duggan Circle
Springfield, MA 01119
Amount: $162,000
Buyer: Juan L. Gonzalez
Seller: Della Ripa Real Estate
Date: 07/27/17

1446-1450 Dwight St.
Springfield, MA 01107
Amount: $3,389,212
Buyer: Amat Victoria Curam LLC
Seller: Della Ripa Real Estate
Date: 08/03/17

1529 Dwight St.
Springfield, MA 01107
Amount: $3,389,212
Buyer: Amat Victoria Curam LLC
Seller: Della Ripa Real Estate
Date: 08/03/17

299 Eastern Ave.
Springfield, MA 01109
Amount: $213,000
Buyer: Amat Victoria Curam LLC
Seller: Della Ripa Real Estate
Date: 08/03/17

87-89 Edgewood St.
Springfield, MA 01109
Amount: $3,389,212
Buyer: Amat Victoria Curam LLC
Seller: Della Ripa Real Estate
Date: 08/03/17

93-95 Edgewood St.
Springfield, MA 01109
Amount: $3,389,212
Buyer: Amat Victoria Curam LLC
Seller: Della Ripa Real Estate
Date: 08/03/17

122 Ellendale Circle
Springfield, MA 01128
Amount: $172,000
Buyer: Lazzaro Desantis
Seller: Jonathan R. Carignan
Date: 07/31/17

97 Ellsworth Ave.
Springfield, MA 01118
Amount: $129,200
Buyer: Calla M. Vassilopoulos
Seller: Svetlana Ovechkina
Date: 07/28/17

31 Emily St.
Springfield, MA 01109
Amount: $135,000
Buyer: Ana M. Rodriguez-Santiago
Seller: James W. Fiore
Date: 07/31/17

48 Euclid Ave.
Springfield, MA 01108
Amount: $3,389,212
Buyer: Amat Victoria Curam LLC
Seller: Della Ripa Real Estate
Date: 08/03/17

208-210 Euclid Ave.
Springfield, MA 01108
Amount: $143,800
Buyer: Veronica Gonzalez
Seller: Svetlana Malyshevski
Date: 07/31/17

66 Flint St.
Springfield, MA 01129
Amount: $180,000
Buyer: Orlando Rosario
Seller: Property Keys LLC
Date: 07/26/17

61-63 Fountain St.
Springfield, MA 01108
Amount: $187,500
Buyer: Jose D. Pietter
Seller: Federico Flores
Date: 08/01/17

54 Gardens Dr.
Springfield, MA 01119
Amount: $144,900
Buyer: Warren C. Scott
Seller: Nancy E. Hunter
Date: 08/03/17

114 Garnet St.
Springfield, MA 01129
Amount: $167,000
Buyer: William A. Accorsi
Seller: Margo L. Lee
Date: 08/04/17

41 Gates Ave.
Springfield, MA 01118
Amount: $246,000
Buyer: Christina L. Harbour
Seller: Jeremy R. Paine
Date: 08/04/17

25 Indian Leap St.
Springfield, MA 01151
Amount: $220,000
Buyer: Petrena A. Wallace-King
Seller: Michael Reynolds
Date: 07/27/17

25-27 Jefferson Ave.
Springfield, MA 01107
Amount: $213,000
Buyer: Amat Victoria Curam LLC
Seller: Della Ripa Real Estate
Date: 08/03/17

395 Kent Road
Springfield, MA 01129
Amount: $220,000
Buyer: Petre Capatina
Seller: Michael P. Sheehan
Date: 07/28/17

26 Kimberly Ave.
Springfield, MA 01108
Amount: $198,000
Buyer: FNMA
Seller: RR & Co. Realty LLC
Date: 08/01/17

39-41 Knox St.
Springfield, MA 01105
Amount: $3,389,212
Buyer: Amat Victoria Curam LLC
Seller: Della Ripa Real Estate
Date: 08/03/17

170 Laurelton St.
Springfield, MA 01109
Amount: $170,000
Buyer: Greguy Montas
Seller: Kristy J. Raymond
Date: 07/31/17

30 Leete St.
Springfield, MA 01108
Amount: $3,389,212
Buyer: Amat Victoria Curam LLC
Seller: Della Ripa Real Estate
Date: 08/03/17

39 Leyfred Ter.
Springfield, MA 01108
Amount: $197,000
Buyer: Shaunee St.Amand
Seller: Leon Blake
Date: 07/26/17

935 Liberty St.
Springfield, MA 01104
Amount: $3,389,212
Buyer: Amat Victoria Curam LLC
Seller: Della Ripa Real Estate
Date: 08/03/17

29 Lillian St.
Springfield, MA 01109
Amount: $3,389,212
Buyer: Amat Victoria Curam LLC
Seller: Della Ripa Real Estate
Date: 08/03/17

15-19 Litchfield St.
Springfield, MA 01108
Amount: $358,000
Buyer: 15-17 Litchfield LLC
Seller: Grace James Realty LLC
Date: 08/02/17

187 Lucerne Road
Springfield, MA 01119
Amount: $219,900
Buyer: Christian Delacruz
Seller: Wayne A. Doyon
Date: 07/24/17

31 Macomber Ave.
Springfield, MA 01119
Amount: $155,000
Buyer: Anne J. Brea
Seller: Noella S. Jones
Date: 07/31/17

274-276 Main St.
Springfield, MA 01151
Amount: $3,389,212
Buyer: Amat Victoria Curam LLC
Seller: Della Ripa Real Estate
Date: 08/03/17

2594 Main St.
Springfield, MA 01107
Amount: $700,000
Buyer: HRES Main Street LLC
Seller: North End Housing Initiative
Date: 07/28/17

116-118 Malden St.
Springfield, MA 01108
Amount: $3,389,212
Buyer: Amat Victoria Curam LLC
Seller: Della Ripa Real Estate
Date: 08/03/17

234 Mallowhill Road
Springfield, MA 01129
Amount: $146,500
Buyer: Sapphire Property Dev LLC
Seller: Nationstar Mortgage LLC
Date: 08/02/17

11 Marble St.
Springfield, MA 01105
Amount: $294,000
Buyer: Boardwalk Apartments LLC
Seller: Blythewood Property Mgmt.
Date: 08/03/17

28 Marengo Park
Springfield, MA 01108
Amount: $196,000
Buyer: Luis M. Rosado
Seller: Home Equity Assets Realty
Date: 08/03/17

143 Marion St.
Springfield, MA 01109
Amount: $3,389,212
Buyer: Amat Victoria Curam LLC
Seller: Della Ripa Real Estate
Date: 08/03/17

203 Marion St.
Springfield, MA 01109
Amount: $3,389,212
Buyer: Amat Victoria Curam LLC
Seller: Della Ripa Real Estate
Date: 08/03/17

24 Marshall St.
Springfield, MA 01109
Amount: $3,389,212
Buyer: Amat Victoria Curam LLC
Seller: Della Ripa Real Estate
Date: 08/03/17

105-107 Massachusetts Ave.
Springfield, MA 01109
Amount: $3,389,212
Buyer: Amat Victoria Curam LLC
Seller: Della Ripa Real Estate
Date: 08/03/17

14-16 Massasoit Placce
Springfield, MA 01107
Amount: $3,389,212
Buyer: Amat Victoria Curam LLC
Seller: Della Ripa Real Estate
Date: 08/03/17

18-20 Massasoit Place
Springfield, MA 01107
Amount: $3,389,212
Buyer: Amat Victoria Curam LLC
Seller: Della Ripa Real Estate
Date: 08/03/17

75-77 McKnight St.
Springfield, MA 01109
Amount: $3,389,212
Buyer: Amat Victoria Curam LLC
Seller: Della Ripa Real Estate
Date: 08/03/17

26 Meadowbrook Road
Springfield, MA 01128
Amount: $233,000
Buyer: Jeanne M. Alix
Seller: J. C. Noyes-Noyes
Date: 08/03/17

100 Milford St.
Springfield, MA 01107
Amount: $121,000
Buyer: Shannon Tahir
Seller: Malloch, Mary E., (Estate)
Date: 08/01/17

49 Montmorenci St.
Springfield, MA 01107
Amount: $140,000
Buyer: Arelis Siri
Seller: JD Powers Property Management
Date: 08/02/17

70 Nathaniel St.
Springfield, MA 01109
Amount: $120,000
Buyer: Shemay K. Morris
Seller: Richard A. Flebotte
Date: 07/31/17

43-49 Oak St.
Springfield, MA 01109
Amount: $135,000
Buyer: Valley Castle Holdings
Seller: Maddox Realty LLC
Date: 07/28/17

214-216 Oak Grove Ave.
Springfield, MA 01109
Amount: $3,389,212
Buyer: Amat Victoria Curam LLC
Seller: Della Ripa Real Estate
Date: 08/03/17

77 Ontario St.
Springfield, MA 01104
Amount: $143,300
Buyer: Damian Falcon
Seller: Raju Patel
Date: 08/01/17

268-270 Parker St.
Springfield, MA 01151
Amount: $140,000
Buyer: Felix Sanchez
Seller: Chmura, Stephen A., (Estate)
Date: 07/31/17

77 Parkside St.
Springfield, MA 01104
Amount: $3,389,212
Buyer: Amat Victoria Curam LLC
Seller: Della Ripa Real Estate
Date: 08/03/17

59 Pennsylvania Ave.
Springfield, MA 01118
Amount: $166,000
Buyer: Justin M. Mestre
Seller: George N. Mekeel
Date: 07/28/17

76 Pheasant Dr.
Springfield, MA 01119
Amount: $206,000
Buyer: Tam T. Nguyen
Seller: Michael Aloisi
Date: 07/31/17

349 Plumtree Road
Springfield, MA 01118
Amount: $137,000
Buyer: Lisa M. Ashline
Seller: Scott T. Phillips
Date: 08/01/17

65 Pocantico Ave.
Springfield, MA 01109
Amount: $165,000
Buyer: Hector Dejesus
Seller: Edward J. Haluch
Date: 07/28/17

480 Porter Road
Springfield, MA 01128
Amount: $171,000
Buyer: Philip E. Bratty
Seller: Brianne M. Byrne
Date: 08/04/17

174 Powell Ave.
Springfield, MA 01118
Amount: $183,000
Buyer: Federico Flores
Seller: Dennis Matt
Date: 08/03/17

40-42 Ranney St.
Springfield, MA 01108
Amount: $138,000
Buyer: Fernando Rodriguez
Seller: Trang Nguyen
Date: 07/31/17

29-31 Richelieu St.
Springfield, MA 01105
Amount: $3,389,212
Buyer: Amat Victoria Curam LLC
Seller: Della Ripa Real Estate
Date: 08/03/17

8 Riverview Ter.
Springfield, MA 01108
Amount: $208,000
Buyer: Thelma L. Cruz
Seller: Randall J. Fortunato
Date: 07/25/17

305 Roosevelt Ave.
Springfield, MA 01118
Amount: $128,000
Buyer: Bank Of America
Seller: Angela E. Greco
Date: 08/01/17

30 Sachem St.
Springfield, MA 01108
Amount: $116,400
Buyer: Junior Properties LLC
Seller: Ally Bank
Date: 08/02/17

55 Saint George Road
Springfield, MA 01104
Amount: $3,000,000
Buyer: Pioneer MOB LP
Seller: Spine Realty LLC
Date: 08/02/17

76 Saint Lawrence Ave.
Springfield, MA 01104
Amount: $137,000
Buyer: James J. Fitzgerald
Seller: Ricardo K. Quintero
Date: 07/31/17

53 Scott St.
Springfield, MA 01108
Amount: $190,000
Buyer: Talanda S. Boyd
Seller: Jacqueline A. Lacombe
Date: 07/28/17

221 Senator St.
Springfield, MA 01129
Amount: $190,000
Buyer: Naquia J. Byrd
Seller: Thomas P. Wozniak
Date: 07/25/17

109 Sierra Vista Road
Springfield, MA 01128
Amount: $170,000
Buyer: Benjamin D. Brown
Seller: Melissa A. Barrington
Date: 07/26/17

42 Stocker St.
Springfield, MA 01129
Amount: $212,000
Buyer: David Reyes
Seller: Elba L. Casiano
Date: 07/28/17

1337 Sumner Ave.
Springfield, MA 01118
Amount: $170,000
Buyer: Zenaida Lisboa
Seller: Melissa M. Doe-Largay
Date: 08/03/17

16 Sunrise Ter.
Springfield, MA 01119
Amount: $142,000
Buyer: Joshua Z. Betancourt
Seller: Denny, James W., (Estate)
Date: 07/28/17

130 Talbot Road
Springfield, MA 01119
Amount: $186,000
Buyer: Jonnathan Gonzalez
Seller: Kenneth J. Kimker
Date: 08/04/17

296 Talmadge Dr.
Springfield, MA 01118
Amount: $153,000
Buyer: Jorge E. Rodriguez
Seller: Ann M. Towne
Date: 07/31/17

16 Varney St.
Springfield, MA 01108
Amount: $168,000
Buyer: Rafael Rodriguez
Seller: Pecenak, Russell C., (Estate)
Date: 07/28/17

192 Westbrook Dr.
Springfield, MA 01129
Amount: $159,900
Buyer: John Michael F. Burno
Seller: Monique M. Hegarty
Date: 07/27/17

151 White Oak Road
Springfield, MA 01128
Amount: $245,900
Buyer: Phillip A. Giguere
Seller: Gail A. Sullivan
Date: 07/28/17

105 Wilton St.
Springfield, MA 01109
Amount: $190,000
Buyer: Charles E. Winston
Seller: Meredith E. King-Milou
Date: 07/24/17

35-37 Windemere St.
Springfield, MA 01104
Amount: $204,000
Buyer: Grzegorz M. Klosowski
Seller: Michael Katsounakis
Date: 08/03/17

215 Winton St.
Springfield, MA 01118
Amount: $202,500
Buyer: Roberto C. Jimenez
Seller: Jeffery A. Green-Gray
Date: 07/31/17

90 Woodcrest Road
Springfield, MA 01129
Amount: $190,000
Buyer: Madeleine P. Wozniak
Seller: Richard C. Robinson
Date: 07/25/17

785-787 Worthington St.
Springfield, MA 01105
Amount: $3,389,212
Buyer: Amat Victoria Curam LLC
Seller: Della Ripa Real Estate
Date: 08/03/17

TOLLAND

101 Owls Nest Lane
Tolland, MA 01034
Amount: $173,000
Buyer: Wilmington Trust
Seller: Brian Karadimas
Date: 08/04/17

194 School House Road
Tolland, MA 01034
Amount: $321,000
Buyer: Steven Carrington
Seller: Edmund C. St.Laurent
Date: 07/28/17

WALES

6 Main St.
Wales, MA 01081
Amount: $170,000
Buyer: Wells Fargo Bank
Seller: Mari R. Veroneau
Date: 07/27/17

WEST SPRINGFIELD

43-51 Allston Ave.
West Springfield, MA 01089
Amount: $490,000
Buyer: 47 Allston Realty LLC
Seller: Kasmer A. Kielb
Date: 08/04/17

55 Altamont Ave.
West Springfield, MA 01089
Amount: $650,000
Buyer: Town Of West Springfield
Seller: Gary A. Spaeth
Date: 07/27/17

217 Ashley Ave.
West Springfield, MA 01089
Amount: $160,000
Buyer: John T. Donnelly
Seller: Ann M. Clark
Date: 07/24/17

64 Bacon Ave.
West Springfield, MA 01089
Amount: $178,000
Buyer: Brittany A. Rice
Seller: William J. Pasternak
Date: 08/01/17

163 Bosworth St.
West Springfield, MA 01089
Amount: $220,000
Buyer: Dhan Gurung
Seller: Eagle Home Buyers LLC
Date: 07/27/17

90 Bridle Path Road
West Springfield, MA 01089
Amount: $330,000
Buyer: Joseph P. Dechristopher
Seller: Barbara C. Eddy
Date: 07/31/17

6 Crestview Dr.
West Springfield, MA 01089
Amount: $280,000
Buyer: Deborah Heady
Seller: Carl L. Wise
Date: 07/27/17

617 Dewey St.
West Springfield, MA 01089
Amount: $264,000
Buyer: Caitlin E. Patruski
Seller: Jeffrey D. Paquin
Date: 07/31/17

64-66 Elmdale St.
West Springfield, MA 01089
Amount: $181,000
Buyer: Mazin AlNuaimi
Seller: DJJ Investments LLC
Date: 08/04/17

17 George St.
West Springfield, MA 01089
Amount: $160,000
Buyer: Alexander Frazier
Seller: HDCB LLC
Date: 08/02/17

38 Granger Place
West Springfield, MA 01089
Amount: $217,450
Buyer: Jamal Hussein
Seller: Richard J. Larose
Date: 07/28/17

77 Hanover St.
West Springfield, MA 01089
Amount: $131,000
Buyer: Oleg S. Gladysh
Seller: FNMA
Date: 07/25/17

52 Hummingbird Lane
West Springfield, MA 01089
Amount: $348,000
Buyer: Scott E. Mendoker
Seller: Cornell N. Bogdan
Date: 08/01/17

Hyde Road #5
West Springfield, MA 01089
Amount: $145,000
Buyer: Arseniy S. Sergeychik
Seller: John G. Kudlic
Date: 07/24/17

Hyde Road #6
West Springfield, MA 01089
Amount: $145,000
Buyer: Vladimir Sergeychik
Seller: John G. Kudlic
Date: 07/26/17

42 Kent St.
West Springfield, MA 01089
Amount: $213,750
Buyer: Cortney Cheney
Seller: Thomas Gavin
Date: 07/28/17

81 Laurence Dr.
West Springfield, MA 01089
Amount: $248,100
Buyer: Nicole J. Palange
Seller: Deborah A. Heady
Date: 07/27/17

73 Maple Ter.
West Springfield, MA 01089
Amount: $216,250
Buyer: Daniel D. Parker
Seller: Mars Real Properties Inc.
Date: 07/31/17

21 Monastery Ave.
West Springfield, MA 01089
Amount: $186,000
Buyer: Christopher R. Heaton
Seller: Frank G. Vescio
Date: 07/31/17

271 Park St.
West Springfield, MA 01089
Amount: $5,000,000
Buyer: Pioneer MOB LP
Seller: Quality Realty Partners
Date: 08/02/17

264 Poplar Ave.
West Springfield, MA 01089
Amount: $219,000
Buyer: James A. Biscoe
Seller: Jeffrey R. Mitchell
Date: 07/31/17

133 Quarry Road
West Springfield, MA 01089
Amount: $450,000
Buyer: Gary A. Spaeth
Seller: Robert Duffy
Date: 07/27/17

107 Queen Ave.
West Springfield, MA 01089
Amount: $152,500
Buyer: Rafael Toro
Seller: Lori A. Picard
Date: 07/31/17

49-51 Russell St.
West Springfield, MA 01089
Amount: $255,000
Buyer: Westmass Apartments LLC
Seller: Anwar Properties LLC
Date: 07/27/17

21 Sean Louis Circle
West Springfield, MA 01089
Amount: $487,500
Buyer: Matthew A. Hamilton
Seller: Steven M. Page
Date: 07/26/17

71 Silver St.
West Springfield, MA 01089
Amount: $164,500
Buyer: Stella R. Couture
Seller: Christine R. Simard
Date: 07/28/17

28-30 Sprague St.
West Springfield, MA 01089
Amount: $180,000
Buyer: Amer R. Jasem
Seller: V. Nicolayevich-Krinitsyn
Date: 08/04/17

39 Thomas Dr.
West Springfield, MA 01089
Amount: $203,000
Buyer: Aman Chuwan
Seller: Linh P. Huynh
Date: 07/31/17

44 Thomas Dr.
West Springfield, MA 01089
Amount: $215,500
Buyer: Jasmine D. Barreto
Seller: Sheila F. Baker
Date: 07/28/17

WESTFIELD

32 Atwater St.
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $194,712
Buyer: US Bank
Seller: John J. Szymkiewicz
Date: 07/27/17

217 Belanger Road
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $140,000
Buyer: Eugene S. Picard
Seller: Eugene S. Picard
Date: 07/27/17

62 Butternut Road
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $300,000
Buyer: Rodolfo Vega
Seller: Lee S. Diamond
Date: 08/04/17

62 City View Blvd.
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $240,000
Buyer: Renee A. Sanders
Seller: Katherine M. Frye
Date: 07/28/17

10 Collins St.
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $191,500
Buyer: Bradley D. Buzzee
Seller: Betty J. Sheldon
Date: 07/26/17

57 Day Ave.
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $223,000
Buyer: Michael D. Moran
Seller: Robert J. Desormier
Date: 07/25/17

1830 East Mountain Road
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $287,100
Buyer: Adam J. Sharon
Seller: Kathleen Arrington
Date: 07/27/17

59 East Silver St.
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $199,950
Buyer: Gregory P. Strattner
Seller: Florek, Dorothy M., (Estate)
Date: 07/31/17

18 Gladwin Dr.
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $255,000
Buyer: Dennis W. Stoops
Seller: James A. Scheip
Date: 08/04/17

40 Heritage Lane
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $309,000
Buyer: Marybeth Hayes
Seller: Peter J. Curtin
Date: 07/25/17

15 Hillary Lane
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $424,900
Buyer: Wilson R. Jara
Seller: Adam T. Hamada
Date: 07/28/17

299 Hillcrest Circle
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $329,900
Buyer: Matthew R. Cadieux
Seller: MA Home Buyers LLC
Date: 08/04/17

42 Jefferson St.
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $204,000
Buyer: Matthew A. Patterson
Seller: Robert J. Mahoney
Date: 07/31/17

20 King Place
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $136,000
Buyer: Melissa H. Dupont
Seller: Ramorita Castro
Date: 07/31/17

75 Kittredge Dr.
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $254,900
Buyer: William A. West
Seller: William J. Greenwood
Date: 08/04/17

7 Leonard Ave.
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $190,000
Buyer: Daniel E. Rines
Seller: Joseph G. Flahive
Date: 07/31/17

337 Little River Road
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $240,000
Buyer: John Mayhew
Seller: Summit Group Properties
Date: 08/04/17

42 Magnolia Ter.
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $580,000
Buyer: Xiuyu Ma
Seller: Anthony E. Amanti
Date: 08/01/17

53 Michael Dr.
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $344,900
Buyer: Mark R. Valcourt
Seller: Kenneth L. Peters
Date: 07/31/17

52 Mockingbird Lane
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $375,000
Buyer: Brian Cleland
Seller: Joseph M. Spagnoli
Date: 07/27/17

5 Sherman St.
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $167,000
Buyer: Randy A. Arkoette
Seller: Lois V. Horak
Date: 07/25/17

459 Springdale Road
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $260,000
Buyer: Emily A. Amidio
Seller: John P. Lamoureux
Date: 08/02/17

27 Winding Ridge Lane
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $490,000
Buyer: Serge Lukomsky
Seller: Melanie Whitman
Date: 08/02/17

WILBRAHAM

1 Alder Lane
Wilbraham, MA 01095
Amount: $418,000
Buyer: James B. Dunbar
Seller: Donna L. Beaumier
Date: 08/04/17

2 Bulkley Road
Wilbraham, MA 01095
Amount: $300,000
Buyer: Ioannis Mirisis
Seller: James B. Dunbar
Date: 07/25/17

14 Horseshoe Lane
Wilbraham, MA 01095
Amount: $407,500
Buyer: Matthew S. Fortune
Seller: Eileen Caterina
Date: 07/31/17

309-311 Main St.
Wilbraham, MA 01095
Amount: $330,000
Buyer: Main Street Rentals LLC
Seller: Robert H. Rowe
Date: 07/31/17

Main St.
Wilbraham, MA 01095
Amount: $147,000
Buyer: Sapphire Property Dev. LLC
Seller: Patriot Living LLC
Date: 07/28/17

33 Oakland St.
Wilbraham, MA 01095
Amount: $260,000
Buyer: Charles D. Spurlock
Seller: Christopher J. Novelli
Date: 07/31/17

15 Pidgeon Dr.
Wilbraham, MA 01095
Amount: $296,000
Buyer: Jonathan R. Carignan
Seller: Donald Carignan
Date: 07/25/17

15 Rice Dr.
Wilbraham, MA 01095
Amount: $280,250
Buyer: Kelley A. Barber-Jones
Seller: Donald Bremner
Date: 07/31/17

16 Scenic Dr.
Wilbraham, MA 01095
Amount: $299,900
Buyer: Timothy M. Fedora
Seller: Wayne D. Carpenter
Date: 07/27/17

5 Springfield St.
Wilbraham, MA 01095
Amount: $200,000
Buyer: Stephen P. Wagner
Seller: Margaret E. Connell
Date: 08/01/17

7 Sunnyside Ter.
Wilbraham, MA 01095
Amount: $198,000
Buyer: Ana C. Serrenho
Seller: Elmer C. Wyman
Date: 08/04/17

2 Sunset Rock Road
Wilbraham, MA 01095
Amount: $346,500
Buyer: Kerryn E. Perkins
Seller: Christopher N. Lucarelle
Date: 08/03/17

1347 Tinkham Road
Wilbraham, MA 01095
Amount: $375,000
Buyer: Joanne Fredette-Beauvais
Seller: Karsten M. Kristensen
Date: 07/28/17

10 Ward Dr.
Wilbraham, MA 01095
Amount: $425,000
Buyer: Chistopher N. Lucarelle
Seller: John C. Welch
Date: 08/03/17

45 Weston St.
Wilbraham, MA 01095
Amount: $190,000
Buyer: James B. Palmier
Seller: Jason Balut
Date: 07/28/17

HAMPSHIRE COUNTY

AMHERST

301 East Pleasant St.
Amherst, MA 01002
Amount: $517,500
Buyer: George B. Stevens
Seller: Maryann Barakso
Date: 07/28/17

37 Greenwich Road
Amherst, MA 01002
Amount: $240,500
Buyer: Matthew J. Westgate
Seller: Kilerine Properties LLC
Date: 08/04/17

42 Harris St.
Amherst, MA 01002
Amount: $364,500
Buyer: Yvonne Defelice
Seller: Amy R. Hamel
Date: 07/26/17

34 Lincoln Ave.
Amherst, MA 01002
Amount: $595,000
Buyer: Michael S. Siegel
Seller: Anne M. Harazin
Date: 07/24/17

Lindenridge Road #60
Amherst, MA 01002
Amount: $140,000
Buyer: Bercume Construction LLC
Seller: Tofino Associates LLC
Date: 07/28/17

279 Market Hill Road
Amherst, MA 01002
Amount: $424,900
Buyer: Julianne E. Applegate
Seller: Sarah A. Willburn
Date: 07/25/17

29 Mill Lane
Amherst, MA 01002
Amount: $1,750,000
Buyer: La Petite Ferme NT
Seller: 29 Mill Lane TR
Date: 08/01/17

26 Plum Tree Road
Amherst, MA 01002
Amount: $535,000
Buyer: Brian S. Cheng
Seller: Sheila F. Klem
Date: 07/28/17

562 South Pleasant St.
Amherst, MA 01002
Amount: $350,000
Buyer: Susanna Nazarova
Seller: Daniel R. Sheldon
Date: 08/03/17

67 Spaulding St.
Amherst, MA 01002
Amount: $292,000
Buyer: Karen L. Schimmel
Seller: Margaret J. Burggren
Date: 07/28/17

74 Stony Hill Road
Amherst, MA 01002
Amount: $250,000
Buyer: Mitchell D. Culler
Seller: Joseph G. Kunkel
Date: 08/03/17

15 Trillium Way
Amherst, MA 01002
Amount: $405,000
Buyer: Wei Lu
Seller: Jonghyun Lee
Date: 07/31/17

651 West St.
Amherst, MA 01002
Amount: $290,000
Buyer: Daniel Horlitz
Seller: Kielbowicz, Stanley, (Estate)
Date: 07/31/17

BELCHERTOWN

271 Allen Road
Belchertown, MA 01007
Amount: $238,000
Buyer: Elizabeth K. Bishop
Seller: Curran, Michael D., (Estate)
Date: 07/28/17

57 Bay Road
Belchertown, MA 01007
Amount: $226,500
Buyer: Erin R. Brown
Seller: Linda E. Barron LT
Date: 07/28/17

211 Boardman St.
Belchertown, MA 01007
Amount: $352,000
Buyer: Brett Lord
Seller: Robert J. Pare
Date: 07/31/17

201 Federal St.
Belchertown, MA 01007
Amount: $175,900
Buyer: Robert Felton
Seller: Jeremy Fugler
Date: 07/27/17

25 Hickory Hill
Belchertown, MA 01007
Amount: $399,900
Buyer: Kenneth G. Ventura
Seller: J. N. Duquette & Son Construction
Date: 08/04/17

5 Lake Dr.
Belchertown, MA 01007
Amount: $285,000
Buyer: Donald C. Ahrens
Seller: Arthur R. Lemire
Date: 08/01/17

42 Sheffield Dr.
Belchertown, MA 01007
Amount: $355,000
Buyer: Jintao Ma
Seller: Nancy J. Bousquet
Date: 07/25/17

350 Springfield Road
Belchertown, MA 01007
Amount: $310,000
Buyer: Ali Cayan
Seller: Brian Major
Date: 07/28/17

CUMMINGTON

336 Berkshire Trail
Cummington, MA 01026
Amount: $335,000
Buyer: Ilse D. Godfrey
Seller: Charles Handfield
Date: 07/28/17

361 West Cummington Road
Cummington, MA 01026
Amount: $260,000
Buyer: Patricia J. Corley
Seller: Joshua J. Banville
Date: 08/01/17

EASTHAMPTON

4 1st Ave.
Easthampton, MA 01027
Amount: $220,000
Buyer: Amberlynn Curtis
Seller: June M. Wilby
Date: 08/04/17

5-15 Adams St.
Easthampton, MA 01027
Amount: $660,000
Buyer: Krupalu LLC
Seller: John Dunphy
Date: 08/01/17

484 East St.
Easthampton, MA 01027
Amount: $259,900
Buyer: Michelle Molineaux
Seller: Vision Investment Properties
Date: 07/28/17

238 Hendrick St.
Easthampton, MA 01027
Amount: $239,900
Buyer: Tara F. Slade
Seller: Katherine Granger
Date: 07/28/17

21 Summit Ave.
Easthampton, MA 01027
Amount: $212,777
Buyer: John G. Martin
Seller: Paul D. Winsky
Date: 07/24/17

GOSHEN

19 Lake Dr.
Goshen, MA 01096
Amount: $315,000
Buyer: Jeffrey A. Dan
Seller: William T. Kelly
Date: 07/24/17

GRANBY

367 East State St.
Granby, MA 01033
Amount: $200,000
Buyer: Richard A. Bruso
Seller: Gary N. Vickers
Date: 07/24/17

4 Ken Lane
Granby, MA 01033
Amount: $150,000
Buyer: Kristen M. Killeen
Seller: Richard A. Twining
Date: 08/01/17

108 Munsing Ridge
Granby, MA 01033
Amount: $395,000
Buyer: Carl W. Ruprecht
Seller: Jason N. Parent
Date: 07/25/17

153 South St.
Granby, MA 01033
Amount: $117,000
Buyer: Jamroth LLC
Seller: Vandomo, Virginia M., (Estate)
Date: 07/31/17

77 South St.
Granby, MA 01033
Amount: $320,000
Buyer: Valorie J. Macy
Seller: Francis J. Donovan
Date: 07/27/17

HADLEY

3 French St.
Hadley, MA 01035
Amount: $216,250
Buyer: Michael O’Connor
Seller: Jessica M. Judah
Date: 07/24/17

2 Indian Pipe Dr.
Hadley, MA 01035
Amount: $640,000
Buyer: Laura M. Whyte
Seller: Bercume Construction LLC
Date: 07/28/17

232 River Dr.
Hadley, MA 01035
Amount: $245,000
Buyer: David F. Marsh
Seller: Berestka FT
Date: 08/04/17

HATFIELD

10 Chestnut St.
Hatfield, MA 01038
Amount: $257,600
Buyer: Adam T. Smith
Seller: Duda, Thomas E., (Estate)
Date: 07/25/17

66 Chestnut St.
Hatfield, MA 01038
Amount: $196,000
Buyer: Thomas J. Wickles
Seller: Roberts, Donald R., (Estate)
Date: 07/27/17

164 Depot Road
Hatfield, MA 01038
Amount: $330,000
Buyer: Jeffrey J. Soley
Seller: Richard W. Cooper
Date: 07/25/17

140 Prospect St.
Hatfield, MA 01038
Amount: $326,400
Buyer: Zachary Bolotin
Seller: Steven P. Levin
Date: 07/27/17

HUNTINGTON

204 Norwich Lake
Huntington, MA 01050
Amount: $249,900
Buyer: Allyson R. Hornstein
Seller: Bradley J. Robbins
Date: 07/31/17

NORTHAMPTON

29 Aldrich St.
Northampton, MA 01060
Amount: $396,500
Buyer: Reed Schimmelfing
Seller: Mitchell K. Hinard
Date: 08/02/17

180 Bridge Road
Northampton, MA 01062
Amount: $275,000
Buyer: Jennifer B. Norton
Seller: Linda Darlene-Monds
Date: 08/02/17

56 Dunphy Dr.
Northampton, MA 01062
Amount: $185,000
Buyer: Amy D. Kotel
Seller: Robert E. Olmsted
Date: 07/28/17

65 Federal St.
Northampton, MA 01062
Amount: $215,000
Buyer: Andrew E. Morehouse
Seller: Townsend, William H. Jr, (Estate)
Date: 07/31/17

69 Marian St.
Northampton, MA 01060
Amount: $319,000
Buyer: Julia A. Max
Seller: Ann L. Dunphy
Date: 07/31/17

23 Maynard Road
Northampton, MA 01060
Amount: $649,000
Buyer: Kerry Dinh
Seller: Ruddy, Beatrice, (Estate)
Date: 08/03/17

105 Maynard Road
Northampton, MA 01060
Amount: $650,000
Buyer: Katie S. Nason
Seller: Edward A&J A. Allen RET
Date: 07/31/17

44 North Farms Road
Northampton, MA 01062
Amount: $375,000
Buyer: Katelyn Smithling
Seller: Marsha G. Lieberman
Date: 07/31/17

11 School St.
Northampton, MA 01060
Amount: $500,000
Buyer: Luke Bloomfield
Seller: 11 School Street LLC
Date: 08/01/17

53 Strawberry Hill
Northampton, MA 01062
Amount: $810,750
Buyer: Edward Selke
Seller: Matthew D. Curtis
Date: 07/27/17

30 Village Hill Road
Northampton, MA 01060
Amount: $269,900
Buyer: Patricia Allen
Seller: Columns At Rockwell Place
Date: 07/28/17

30 Village Hill Road
Northampton, MA 01060
Amount: $299,900
Buyer: Julie A. Anderson
Seller: Columns At Rockwell Place
Date: 08/02/17

24 Walnut St.
Northampton, MA 01060
Amount: $484,500
Buyer: Rosamond L. Merrill
Seller: John L. Nixon
Date: 08/01/17

SOUTH HADLEY

520 Amherst Road
South Hadley, MA 01075
Amount: $225,000
Buyer: Brian M. Major
Seller: Christopher G. Kostek
Date: 07/28/17

59 Brigham Road
South Hadley, MA 01075
Amount: $209,000
Buyer: Lindsey M. Anderson
Seller: Joseph J. Ruszczyk
Date: 07/28/17

15 Bunker Hill
South Hadley, MA 01075
Amount: $157,440
Buyer: US Bank NA
Seller: Jeffrey P. Gladu
Date: 07/28/17

124 College St.
South Hadley, MA 01075
Amount: $152,000
Buyer: Veronica Gajownik
Seller: Ashley K. Warren
Date: 07/25/17

281 East St.
South Hadley, MA 01075
Amount: $390,000
Buyer: Rehm Family Properties
Seller: George J. Ladas
Date: 07/26/17

65 McKinley Ave.
South Hadley, MA 01075
Amount: $177,000
Buyer: Joshua R. Kaciak
Seller: Kurt W. Conner
Date: 07/31/17

41 Michael Dr.
South Hadley, MA 01075
Amount: $206,000
Buyer: Judith Bartlett
Seller: Brian Morris
Date: 07/28/17

7 Misty Court
South Hadley, MA 01075
Amount: $482,500
Buyer: Manufacturers & Traders TR
Seller: Willaim A. Brousseau
Date: 07/27/17

139 North Main St.
South Hadley, MA 01075
Amount: $210,000
Buyer: Anthony M. Rigali
Seller: Michael E. Mostowski
Date: 07/28/17

32 Park Ave.
South Hadley, MA 01075
Amount: $264,900
Buyer: Marilyn Paterno
Seller: Kevin J. Baldini
Date: 07/26/17

52 Richview Ave.
South Hadley, MA 01075
Amount: $149,900
Buyer: Kari Courchesne
Seller: Richard, Robert A., (Estate)
Date: 08/04/17

8 Ridge Road
South Hadley, MA 01075
Amount: $195,000
Buyer: Nuria P. Ayala
Seller: Nicholas R. Wanat
Date: 07/26/17

16 Skyline Dr.
South Hadley, MA 01075
Amount: $318,000
Buyer: Nathan R. Provost
Seller: Anna Dymon
Date: 07/31/17

8 Stewart St.
South Hadley, MA 01075
Amount: $193,000
Buyer: Megan A. Motyka
Seller: Ronald B. Motyka
Date: 08/03/17

SOUTHAMPTON

45 Miller Ave.
Southampton, MA 01073
Amount: $215,000
Buyer: Nicole A. Gralla
Seller: Jane I. Dipenta RET
Date: 08/02/17

18 Pequot Road
Southampton, MA 01073
Amount: $235,000
Buyer: Lori Beaudry
Seller: 18 Pequot Road LLC
Date: 07/28/17

79 Russellville Road
Southampton, MA 01073
Amount: $257,500
Buyer: Samuell B. Anthony
Seller: Kevin M. Benson
Date: 08/02/17

120 Strong Road
Southampton, MA 01073
Amount: $284,000
Buyer: Alex R. Trombley
Seller: Robert M. O’Connor
Date: 07/31/17

4 Wyben Road
Southampton, MA 01073
Amount: $210,000
Buyer: James P. Anspach
Seller: James & Kay Higgins LT
Date: 07/26/17

WARE

7 2nd Ave.
Ware, MA 01082
Amount: $124,500
Buyer: Elisa Watras
Seller: Viola M. Chaffee
Date: 07/25/17

124 Bacon Road
Ware, MA 01082
Amount: $250,000
Buyer: Joshua M. Dusza
Seller: Scott McCartney
Date: 07/25/17

87 Church St.
Ware, MA 01082
Amount: $208,900
Buyer: Nicole Sicard
Seller: John F. Slattery
Date: 08/01/17

13 Coldbrook Dr.
Ware, MA 01082
Amount: $329,750
Buyer: Gary R. Bressette
Seller: Benchmark Custom Homes
Date: 07/31/17

5 Demond Ave.
Ware, MA 01082
Amount: $230,000
Buyer: Daniel S. Saletnik
Seller: Bernard R. Robbins
Date: 08/04/17

9 Howard Road
Ware, MA 01082
Amount: $230,000
Buyer: Ryan A. Sidur
Seller: Patricia A. Nicholas
Date: 07/31/17

38-40 Morse Ave.
Ware, MA 01082
Amount: $216,500
Buyer: Lambertus Louw
Seller: Linda Reeser
Date: 08/01/17

66 Old Poor Farm Road
Ware, MA 01082
Amount: $242,000
Buyer: Jessica Murphy
Seller: Dorothy A. Olecki
Date: 08/04/17

332 Palmer Road
Ware, MA 01082
Amount: $154,900
Buyer: Christopher P. Swett
Seller: Michael T. Huse
Date: 07/27/17

16 Sherwin St.
Ware, MA 01082
Amount: $119,000
Buyer: Deutsche Bank
Seller: Cynthia E. Saloio
Date: 08/03/17

3 Walter Dr.
Ware, MA 01082
Amount: $277,000
Buyer: Michael Huse
Seller: McM Capital Partners LLP TR
Date: 07/28/17

WILLIAMSBURG

7 Bridge St.
Williamsburg, MA 01038
Amount: $250,000
Buyer: Joanna Pheasant
Seller: Susanne M. McCrea
Date: 07/31/17

1 East Main St.
Williamsburg, MA 01096
Amount: $356,850
Buyer: Shirlee Williams
Seller: Catherine V. Carija
Date: 07/31/17

10 East Main St.
Williamsburg, MA 01096
Amount: $486,400
Buyer: Kathleen M. Ventre
Seller: John H. Davis
Date: 08/04/17

10-12 High St.
Williamsburg, MA 01062
Amount: $240,000
Buyer: Jason C. Harder
Seller: Thomas E. Seymour
Date: 08/01/17

7 Kingsley Ave.
Williamsburg, MA 01096
Amount: $445,000
Buyer: David Daley
Seller: Valerie Pennington
Date: 08/02/17

13 Main St.
Williamsburg, MA 01096
Amount: $225,000
Buyer: Charlene S. Elvers
Seller: Gerald D. Lashway
Date: 07/24/17

172 Main St.
Williamsburg, MA 01096
Amount: $224,500
Buyer: Ryan K. Darling
Seller: Russell M. Griffin
Date: 07/31/17

WESTHAMPTON

139 Southampton Road
Westhampton, MA 01027
Amount: $235,000
Buyer: Joseph Tanguay
Seller: Donna L. Delisle-Mitchell
Date: 07/31/17

WORTHINGTON

272 Cummington Road
Worthington, MA 01098
Amount: $150,000
Buyer: Forest Medicins Sanctuary
Seller: 272 Cummington Road RT
Date: 08/01/17

Daily News

AMHERST — The renovation of the historic Old Chapel at UMass Amherst has earned Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The LEED rating system is the foremost program for buildings, homes and communities that are designed, constructed, maintained and operated for improved environmental and human health performance.

Built in 1885, the Old Chapel is the most iconic and significant historic building on the UMass Amherst campus. Designed by Steven C. Earle in the Richardsonian Romanesque style, the building originally housed a library, auditorium, natural history collections and classrooms. It was later used as a drill hall, departmental offices and finally as home to the Minuteman Marching Band in the 1960s, before officially closing its doors in 1999 due to structural deterioration.

The Old Chapel was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2015, and work began on a $21 million renovation, addition and preservation effort to restore the building to its original glory. After a thoughtful planning process to find a contemporary use for the building while preserving as much of the original fabric as possible, the revitalized Old Chapel now serves students, faculty and alumni as a campus resource: The first floor provides a flexible layout for student study, gallery exhibitions and community events; and the Great Hall on the top floor provides a large open space for performances, lectures, receptions, and weddings.

UMass Amherst and the UMass Building Authority hired Finegold Alexander Architects of Boston to design the restoration and demonstrate how aspects of historic preservation and sustainability can work together. The firm deployed an array of sustainability strategies to maintain the integrity of the original design and materials, while adapting the building’s structure and interior to modern use, access and building code requirements. The Old Chapel’s original structure consists of local timber and stone such as Pelham granite and Longmeadow sandstone. The design reused 83% of structural masonry, wood columns, beams, trusses and wainscoting trim, and 82% of new wood products were either locally sourced or Forest Stewardship Council (CSC) Certified. The addition of a contemporary glass entry pavilion at the south façade is integrated into a landscaped terrace that provides full accessibility while also incorporating water efficient landscaping and rainwater management that improves site ecology.

Meeting modern indoor environment and energy efficiency requirements within the original exterior wall assembly was a challenge: the design team used energy modeling to find the correct balance of masonry wall insulation, energy efficient glazing and stained glass restoration so that sustainability goals were in concert with historic restoration efforts. The building is designed to exceed code energy performance by 21% and to reduce potable water use by 34%, and it will follow a rigorous measurement and verification process that ensures those savings are realized post-occupancy.

The Old Chapel renovation is the first architecturally significant historic building on campus to achieve LEED Gold Certification, and the 11th project within a sustainable building program at UMass Amherst that includes 10 other facilities totaling approximately 1,155,000 gross square feet of LEED certified space. With six more registered projects undergoing certification, sustainably designed buildings are projected to make up 13% of the total UMass Amherst building stock.

Other projects that were recently awarded certification include the Paige Laboratory Renovations at LEED Silver, and the Integrative Learning Center at LEED Gold.

“The LEED Building program exemplifies our commitment to sustainable development principles by lowering carbon emissions associated with construction, and demonstrates our focus on healthy, energy efficient, and durable construction that reduces operating costs and prioritizes sustainable practices,” said Shane Conklin, associate vice chancellor for facilities and campus services. “Our campus and buildings serve as an invaluable educational tool for students to learn from innovative design, construction and maintenance practices that model community sustainability.”

Autos Cover Story Sections

Awaiting the ‘Autohaus’

Michelle and Peter Wirth

Michelle and Peter Wirth

Michelle Wirth started her career with Mercedes-Benz as a mechanical engineer. Early on, after only a few visits to Stuttgart, Germany, where the cars are designed and manufactured, she learned that the company doesn’t build to industry standards — it creates an environment where engineers can design to their own, higher standards. These are lessons she and her husband, Peter, apply to their life and how they do business, especially with their new venture, Mercedes-Benz of Springfield, set to open next month.

Peter Wirth doesn’t know exactly how long it’s been since Mercedes Benz has had a presence in Western Mass. with a dealership.

He does know that it’s been … well, long enough.

As in, long enough that he knows he and his wife, Michelle, and fellow partner Rich Hesse have a lot of work to do in many different realms as they prepare to open Mercedes-Benz of Springfield on the site of the old Plantation Inn across from Mass. Turnpike exit 6 in Chicopee.

For starters, the partners in this nearly $12 million enterprise have to let people know that Mercedes is, indeed, back in the 413 more than a decade after a small dealership on Riverdale Street, this region’s auto mile, if you will, closed its doors, leaving area consumers to travel to Hartford or just east of Worcester to do business.

And they intend to get that job done in a number of ways, from intensive, targeted marketing to a grand-opening celebration (date to be determined), to some work within the community even before the doors open, to show that they are not just here to sell cars (more on that later).

But there is other work to do, and most of it falls in the category of showing just how much Mercedes-Benz — the company, the cars, and the brand — have all changed since the last time someone had the opportunity to buy or lease a new one in Western Mass.

“What I recognized is that we have to — and we love to — reacquaint people in our area of influence with the Mercedes-Benz brand; a lot has changed in 10 years,” said Michelle Wirth, who will oversee marketing efforts and other duties for the company, but started her career with Mercedes as a mechanical engineer. “There are something like 3,000 to 4,000 Mercedes cars in Western Massachusetts currently in operation. I don’t have exact figures, but I’m sure most of them are older, because people haven’t made the trek to Hartford or Shrewsbury or Albany pick up a new car.

“We want to make sure that those folks who are already convinced about the brand know we exist, and then reacquaint them with the new cars,” she went on. “The vehicles themselves have just transformed in the past 10 years.”

An architect’s rendering of the new Mercedes dealership

An architect’s rendering of the new Mercedes dealership, which will emphasize transparency.

By that, she was referring to everything from the number of models to the depth of the price range. For example, she pointed to the CLA, a Mercedes model that retails for under $33,000, a number that would likely surprise many people, including some who know cars — and Mercedes.

Other things that have changed since Mercedes models were last sold in this region include the carmaker’s focus on safety, and not merely luxury and style (although those are still points of emphasis, to be sure), as well as the dealerships in which the cars are sold and, especially, serviced.

Indeed, dealerships today are well-appointed, convenience-focused, customer-friendly facilities that exist not so much to showcase cars, although they still do that, certainly, but pamper those who buy them.

So much so that Michelle Wirth, as she described the process of designing, outfitting, and operating the facility in Chicopee, said the mindset is that she and her husband are not competing with other dealerships, necessarily, but against hotels, restaurants, and even the new $950 million MGM Springfield casino due to open in about a year, in the manner in which they are all focused on hospitality and taking care of the customer.

“When they walk away from a fine hotel establishment, people say ‘man, they did everything right’ — it’s just a feeling they have,” she explained. “When they walk away, they’re going to feel it, they’re going to feel, ‘wow, they care about me, and they took care of me. That’s the feeling we’re going to create.”

For this issue and its focus on auto sales, BusinessWest visited the dealership a few weeks before its doors are due to officially open to gain some insight into what the partners in this venture are anticipating as Mercedes makes its much anticipated return to the area.

A Major Coup

By now, most in the region’s business community are at least somewhat familiar with the story behind Mercedes-Benz of Springfield.

Back in late 2014, Peter Wirth and Hesse, owners of a Mercedes dealership in Nanuet, N.Y., were approached by the carmaker about bringing the brand back to Western Mass. with a dealership after that aforementioned lengthy absence, and after some extensive research, the two concluded that this region was, indeed, underserved, and that a facility here had considerable potential.

Especially at the site they eventually chose, two turnpike exits east of Riverdale Street, at the old Plantation Inn site. This location is literally across the street from where the tollbooth once stood, and at the eastern end of Route 291, giving the location great accessibility.

And it will be needed, because this dealership will have a huge coverage area, one that includes parts of four states: Western Mass., Northern Conn., Southern Vermont, and Southern New Hampshire.

That large swath of territory will bring some challenges, said the Wirths as they talked about their business venture — especially the large number of markets they must advertise in — but also a great deal of opportunity to better serve thousands of Mercedes customers.

“It’s a big area, and it’s a big task,” said Peter. “But it’s a huge opportunity for people in the Springfield metro area, who have to drive 45 minutes to Hartford, or almost an hour to Shrewsbury, the next-closest dealership, or an hour and a half to Albany.”

More than three years after those initial talks between Mercedes, Wirth, and Hesse began, the Western Mass. Mercedes dealership, or ‘autohaus,’ as such facilities are called in Germany, is nearly ready for prime time.

When BusinessWest toured the site in mid-August, the exterior of the dealership had been completed, and work was continuing inside. The projected opening date will be late September.

Like most of the dealerships being built, many of them replacing facilities 30 or 40 years old, this one will be spacious, well-appointed, modern-looking, and heavy on glass and metal.

There is a corporate identity and design standards for these dealerships, and they make them easily recognizable as Mercedes-Benz dealerships. There are certain kinds of columns, tiles, paint colors, and furniture that are pretty standard across the dealer network. But at the same time, we, together with Mercedes-Benz, worked on laying out the dealership in the way we know it’s going to work.”

And while the Mercedes corporation has a desired look and feel in mind that its dealers must create, there is plenty of room to personalize one’s autohaus, said Peter, citing, as just one example, the dealership’s car wash; Mercedes doesn’t require one, but the partners considered it a key part of the “experience.”

“There is a corporate identity and design standards for these dealerships, and they make them easily recognizable as Mercedes-Benz dealerships,” he explained. “There are certain kinds of columns, tiles, paint colors, and furniture that are pretty standard across the dealer network. But at the same time, we, together with Mercedes-Benz, worked on laying out the dealership in the way we know it’s going to work.

“That’s something that has now become specific to this site,” he went on. “Mercedes-Benz has ideas, but they will also take our input, and we’ve been very vocal in that process and made it our own. While we’ve been using their design cues, the feel and flow of the dealership is what we know works and will serve our customers best.”

Asked to elaborate, he said this dealership isn’t just open, it’s incredibly open.

Wirth said his office has four glass walls, and from it, he can see the front desk, the sales office, the lounge, and the service drive. In many ways, that office embodies the intended feeling of openness, ease of transition from one department another, and a word that’s becoming ever more prominent in business and politics today — transparency.

“It’s easy for customers to not just find their way around, but to transition from one department to another — we’re not compartmentalized,” he explained. “We don’t think of a dealership as a sales, service, and parts department; it’s one unit to us.”

Driving Force

As she talked about the new dealership, plans for it, and the level of service she and her partners plan to create, Michelle Wirth thought this was the time to discuss her career with Mercedes-Benz, which began soon after she graduated from Lehigh University with a mechanical engineering degree.

Peter and Michelle Wirth say much has changed in the decade since Mercedes had a presence in the area

Peter and Michelle Wirth say much has changed in the decade since Mercedes had a presence in the area, and they intend to reacquaint the region with the brand.

“I got hired right out of school and worked in environmental and safety engineering,” she told BusinessWest. “I went to Germany a number of times a year, and actually got to go to the design center in Stuttgart, where they design and build these vehicles. I got to learn — I didn’t know this when I walked in the door — that Mercedes doesn’t just build to standards. They rise above those standards, and they have a holistic approach to safety and a holistic approach to design.

“It’s more about ‘what’s the best solution for the customer,’ and that’s impressive,” she went on, “because it creates a space where engineers get to design to the best possible standard, not just the least common denominator. And that translated over to me. As a young person, eyes wide open, I learned a lot from that. It’s like a standard you set for yourself, and it’s the highest one around.”

This attitude, or mindset, permeates everything the couple does in life and in business, Michelle explained, adding that it shapes everything from how they’ll do in business in Chicopee to how they’re already getting involved in the community that will soon be home — to them and their business.

That involvement has taken the form of support for organizations ranging from Square One to Baystate Children’s Hospital, said Peter, adding that these endeavors are part of a culture the company wants to instill. In other words, rather than doing something that might be expected, such as simply meeting auto industry design and performance standards, they’re setting the bar much higher.

“It’s not just checking a box for us,” he explained. “If you can be involved with the children’s hospital, and you have four healthy children; that comes naturally to us. Yes, you’re getting your name out, but it’s also a natural contact point for us; we can help and do good at the same time.”

Meanwhile, back in the realm of car sales, the Wirths believe they have the right brand at the right time to go along with the right location and the right culture.

Indeed, while some luxury brands have struggled with making all-important connections with younger audiences, Mercedes has made inroads, if you will, by creating lower price points and getting younger people into its vehicles.

And once that happens, they often become customers for life, said Michelle, noting that Mercedes not only has one of the highest loyalty rates in the business, but one of the highest conquest rates (winning over the drivers of other brands) as well.

At the same time, the company has adjusted its marketing messages, said Michelle, to appeal not only to the young, but to those who want to think, act, and, yes, drive like the young.

“Now, the marketing focus is more on ‘young at heart,’” she explained. “That’s how we describe people; it’s ‘do you have that Millennial mindset? You may not be that age, but you have that mindset. By doing that, you broaden the audience that you’re speaking to.”

Getting in Gear

Given the huge geographic area it will be serving, Mercedes-Benz of Springfield will already be speaking to a very broad audience.

The initial message will be that Mercedes is back in Western Mass. after a decade’s hiatus. But soon — in fact, almost immediately — there will be much more to communicate: that Mercedes is back, and that this is a brand for both the young and the young at heart.

Also to be communicated, especially through a visit to the new dealership, is that this venture fully embraces that corporate culture of not merely meeting standards, but setting higher ones.

George O’Brien can be reached at [email protected]

Chamber Corners Departments

GREATER CHICOPEE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

www.chicopeechamber.org

(413) 594-2101

• April 7: Seminar, “Microsoft Word: “Tips, Tricks & Shortcuts,” 8:30-10:30 a.m., at Hampton Inn Chicopee, 600 Memorial Dr., Chicopee. Presented by Pioneer Training. Cost: $40 for members, $50 for non-members

• April 12: Table Top Expo & Business Networking Event, 4:30-7 p.m., at the David M. Bartley Center for Athletics & Recreation, Holyoke Community College, 303 Homestead Ave., Holyoke. Presented by the Greater Chicopee, Greater Holyoke, Greater Easthampton, and Greater Northampton chambers of commerce. Parking available on site. Admission: $10 pre-registered; $15 at the door.

• April 19: Salute Breakfast, 7:15-9 a.m., at the Willits-Hallowell Center, Mount Holyoke College, 50 College Street, South Hadley. Cost: $23 for members, $28 for non-members. Sign up online at www.chicopeechamber.org.

GREATER NORTHAMPTON CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

www.explorenorthampton.com

(413) 584-1900

• April 5: April Arrive @ 5, 5-7 p.m., at Degrees of Comfort & VNA, 168 Industrial Dr. # 2, Northampton. Sponsors: BusinessWest, Center for EcoTechnology, and Northeast Solar. Networking event. Cost: $10 for members.

• April 12: Table Top Expo & Business Networking Event, 4:30-7 p.m., at the David M. Bartley Center for Athletics & Recreation, Holyoke Community College, 303 Homestead Ave., Holyoke. Presented by the Greater Chicopee, Greater Holyoke, Greater Easthampton, and Greater Northampton chambers of commerce. Parking available on site. Admission: $10 pre-registered; $15 at the door.

• May 5: Spring Swizzle Auction, 6:30-10:30 p.m. Hosted by Eastside Grill, Strong Ave., Northampton. Cost: $75. Purchase tickets at www.chamberspringswizzle.com.

• May 10: May Arrive @ 5, 5-7 p.m., at Goggins Real Estate, 79 King St., Northampton. Sponsors: Applied Mortgage, Greenfield Community College Foundation, MassDevelopment, and Northeast Solar. Networking event. Cost: $10 for members.

• May 11: “Google Analytics,” 9-11 a.m., at the Northampton Chamber of Commerce, 99 Pleasant St., Northampton. Presented by SCORE of Western Mass. What is Google Analytics? A free, powerful analytics tool that provides reports showing how visitors found your website and what they did when they got there. It measures the effectiveness of your online and offline marketing campaigns. Pre-registration is required; space is limited. Cost: free.

• May 18: “Intro To QuickBooks,” 9-11 a.m., at the Northampton Chamber of Commerce, 99 Pleasant St., Northampton. Presented by Pioneer Training. This is an introduction to the popular accounting program QuickBooks. This session will cover setting up a new company, invoicing and receiving payments, writing checks, and paying bills. The session will end with a brief introduction to and overview of reports.  It is suitable for those who have recently started using QuickBooks and those planning to use it. This session is taught on the PC desktop version, but the basic principles of QuickBooks remain the same for the Windows, Macintosh, and online versions of the program. Be aware that specific details of how to accomplish a task or available features may differ on the different versions, and these differences will not be covered. It is not required, but if you have a laptop or tablet and have QuickBooks installed, you may bring it and follow along. Note: this workshop is designed for training on the basics of QuickBooks and is not intended to troubleshoot problems individuals may currently be experiencing. Those types of questions are better suited to a one-on-one consulting session. Cost: $25 for members, $35 for non-members.

• June 7: June Arrive @ 5, 5-7 p.m., at ConVino, 101 Armory St, Northampton. Sponsors: Keiter Builders and MassDevelopment. Networking event. Cost: $10 for members.

• June 23: “Microsoft Excel: Tips, Tricks & Shortcuts,” 9-11 a.m., at the Northampton Chamber of Commerce, 99 Pleasant St., Northampton. Presented by Pioneer Training. This workshop will present our favorite tips, tricks, and shortcuts that we have collected and developed over 15 years of teaching and using Microsoft Excel. Topics will include shortcuts for selecting ranges, using Autofill to create a series of dates or numbers, setting the print area, using page-break preview, adding headers and footers, and using page-layout view. You’ll learn how to group spreadsheets in the same workbook in order to type or format more than one sheet at the same time, as well as how to create 3D formulas that calculate across several spreadsheets in the same workbook. You’ll practice dividing text from one column into two columns, as well as how to concatenate text from two columns into one.  You’ll learn how to use conditional formatting to format cells according to their values, how to protect all or part of a worksheet, and how to paste an Excel spreadsheet into Word as an Excel object that links to the original spreadsheet and updates automatically.  The workshop will also cover a new set of features in Excel 2013 that includes the new Start screen, Backstage View, Flash Fill, the Quick Analysis Tool, and a new set of options related to creating Excel charts.  A set of handy keyboard shortcuts will also be included in the workshop. Participants are encouraged to bring laptops and follow along with the instructor, but this is not required. Pre-registration is required; space is limited. To register, visit [email protected] Cost: $35 for members, $45 for non-members.

GREATER WESTFIELD CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

www.westfieldbiz.org

(413) 568-1618

• March 24: Employment Law Workshop, “Managing Employee Appearance and Religious Accommodations in the Workplace,” 8:30-10 a.m., at the Holiday Inn Express, 39 Southampton Road, Westfield. Join attorney Timothy Netkovick of Royal, P.C. for a roundtable-style seminar to discuss appearance in the workplace and religious accommodations, including an overview of religious discrimination law; dress and appearance standards; body modification (tattoos and piercings); and workplace culture, individual self-expression, and employee retention. Royal, P.C. is a woman-owned firm that exclusively represents and counsels businesses on all aspects of labor and employment law. Netkovick exclusively represents employers in management-side labor and employment-law matters. Cost: free to chamber members, $30 for general admission paid in advance. Online registration will be available at www.westfieldbiz.org. For more information, call Pam at the chamber at (413) 568-1618.

• April 3: April Mayor’s Coffee Hour, 8-9 a.m., at the Forum House, 55 Broad St., Westfield. Join us for our monthly Mayor’s Coffee Hour with Westfield Mayor Brian Sullivan. This event is free and open to the public. Call the chamber office at (413) 568-1618 to register for this event so we may give our host a head count.

• April 6: “Improving Website Visibility with SEO,” 8:30-10 a.m., at the Holiday Inn Express, 39 Southampton Road, Westfield. Join us for a chamber workshop presented by Scott Pierson of the Executive SEO.  This event is free for chamber members and $30 for general admission (cash or credit paid at the door or in advance). Are you looking for a way to optimize your website visibility? Join Pierson and examine current search-engine optimization (SEO) best practices to increase brand awareness, local web visibility, web traffic, organic rankings, and domain authority. Understand how SEO works, why some pages rank highly, and what to do to move the needle. Pierson is a 15-year SEO consultant, speaker, blogger, trainer, and adviser on the subject of search-engine optimization. Register online at www.westfieldbiz.org.  For more information, call Pam at the chamber at (413) 568-1618.

• April 7: 2017 Legislative Luncheon, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (please note new date), at Tekoa Country Club, 459 Russell Road, Westfield. Raise your voice and business concerns to your legislators. Come and hear the challenges facing the Commonwealth, our communities, and our businesses. Invited legislators include state Sens. Adam Hinds and Donald Humason Jr. and state Reps. Nicholas Boldyga, Peter Kocot, Stephen Kulik, William Pignatelli, and John Velis. Cost: $30 for members, $40 for non-members (must be paid in advance). Register online at www.westfieldbiz.org. For more information, call Pam at the chamber at (413) 568-1618.

• April 12: April After 5 Connection, 5-7 p.m., at One Arch Road, Westfield. Refreshments will be served, and a 50/50 raffle will benefit our Dollars for Scholars fund. Bring your business cards and make connections. Cost: Free for chamber members, $10 general admission (cash or credit paid at the door). Online registration will be available at www.westfieldbiz.org. For more information, call Pam at the chamber at (413) 568-1618.

• April 21: Employment Law Workshop, “A Transition in the Law: Transgender Discrimination,” 8:30-10 a.m., at the Holiday Inn Express, 39 Southampton Road, Westfield. Discrimination based on transgender status or gender identity is a developing area of the law.  There has been a lot of debate on the local, state, and national levels over access to bathrooms for transgender individuals. As the public debates this issue, legislators, administrative agencies, and courts are shaping the law that prohibits gender discrimination, including discrimination against transgender individuals. Join Attorney Timothy Netkovick of Royal, P.C. for a roundtable-style seminar to discuss how to navigate the legal landscape of an evolving and challenging area of discrimination law. Royal, P.C. is a woman-owned firm that exclusively represents and counsels businesses on all aspects of labor and employment law. Netkovick exclusively represents employers in management-side labor and employment-law matters. Cost: free to chamber members, $30 for general admission (cash or credit paid at the door or in advance). Online registration is available at www.westfieldbiz.org. For more information, call Pam at the chamber at (413) 568-1618.

• April 25: Seventh annual Home & Business Show, 4:30-7 p.m., at Tucker’s Restaurant, 625 College Highway, Southwick. Join us for this annual tabletop event in partnership with the Southwick Economic Development Commission. The event is free to the public. Southwick business owners can have a tabletop for $25 per business — one six-foot table with a tablecloth (you are free to bring your own table covering) and a listing in the show program provided you register by the deadline, April 7. For information and an application, visit southwickma.info or call (413) 304-6100.

PROFESSIONAL WOMEN’S CHAMBER

www.myonlinechamber.com

(413) 787-1555

• April 11: Professional Women’s Chamber, Ladies Networking Night, 5-7 p.m., at City Stage, One Columbus Center, 150 Bridge St., Springfield.

• April 22: Professional Women’s Chamber, Headline Luncheon Series, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., at Storrowton Tavern Carriage House, 1305 Memorial Ave., West Springfield. “Maintaining Sanity: The Journey Toward Work-life Balance” is a panel discussion featuring Patricia Fay, an assistant vice president and actuary of strategic planning and analysis at MassMutual and the insurer’s  2015 Working Mother of the Year.

SPRINGFIELD REGIONAL CHAMBER

www.myonlinechamber.com

(413) 787-1555

• March 29: Pastries, Politics & Policy, 8-9 a.m., at the TD Bank Conference Center, 1441 Main St., Springfield. The speaker is Eileen McAnneny, president of the Mass. Taxpayers Foundation. The topic will be “The Fiscal Health of the Commonwealth.” Cost: $15 for members in advance ($20 at the door), $25 general admission in advance ($30 at the door).

• April 5: [email protected], 7:15-9 a.m., at the Delaney House, 3 Country Club Road, Holyoke. Featuring the Mayor’s Forum with Springfield Mayor Dominic Sarno, Chicopee Mayor Richard Kos, and Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse. Ray Hershel of Western Mass News will moderate.

• April 10: Outlook Luncheon, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., at the MassMutual Center, 1277 Main St., Springfield.

• April 19: After 5, in partnership with the West of the River Chamber of Commerce, 5-7 p.m., at BMW of West Springfield, 1712 Riverdale St., West Springfield.

• April 20: Leadership Institute Graduation, 6-9 p.m., at the Springfield Sheraton, One Monarch Place, Springfield.

• April 26: Beacon Hill Summit, noon to 1 p.m., hosted by the Massachusetts State House, co-hosted by state Sen. James Welch and state Rep. Aaron Vega. Sponsorship opportunities are available. E-mail [email protected] for information.

Reservations for all events may be made online at www.springfieldregionalchamber.com or by e-mailing [email protected]

Cover Story

Blast from the Past

Old ChapelBuilt when Chester A. Arthur was patrolling the White House and UMass Amherst was known as the Massachusetts Agricultural College, Old Chapel has witnessed a great deal of history. Yet, much of its own recent history has been one of neglect and disuse. But thanks to the vision and determination of the school’s chancellor, this landmark that has been such a big part of the school’s past will now play an intriguing role in its future.

It’s a story that many within the broad UMass Amherst community have heard already. But if they haven’t, they’re almost certain to hear it over the next few months.

Kumble Subbaswamy, then a candidate to become chancellor of the university, was on site for some interviews and, as part of that process, was being given an elaborate tour.

According to what has become local lore, he was walking through the center of the campus and past the building known colloquially as Old Chapel — although by most accounts it wasn’t really used for religious services — and paused to admire it.

He then asked to go inside for a look at this handsome structure that was opened in 1886, said Ed Blaguszewski, a spokesman for the school, and was told that he couldn’t; the building had been locked and shuttered amid safety concerns. Actually, by that time, 2011, few, if anyone, had been inside Old Chapel in years.

Moving the story along, Blaguszewski said that ‘Swamy,’ as he’s now known to most, made a pledge of sorts. If he were to be named chancellor, he would make it one of his priorities to see to it that the chapel, a rich part of the school’s past, would also be part of its future.

And to make a long story short, he made good on the pledge.

Indeed, Old Chapel, a building few alums can claim to have been in, even though it is considered the iconic, signature building on the flagship campus, is nearly ready to begin its next life. And in that role, few members of future classes will be able to say they never had cause to go inside.

That’s because the building will become a true community center, said Blaguszewski and Jeff Quackenbush, UMass project manager, noting that the spaces on the first and second floors can and will be used for everything from lectures to recitals; from receptions to weddings.

No bridal ceremonies or receptions have been scheduled yet, said Quackenbush, but he noted that calls of inquiry have started to pour in, many from alums looking for a unique location for their special day.

Getting Old Chapel ready for such functions has been an elaborate, 30-month-long effort that has been a blend of new construction and careful restoration and reconstruction of many of the original facilities, said Quackenbush, adding that the project has presented a number of stern tests.

“It’s been a challenge on many levels, with the biggest challenge being the building itself,” he said, noting that, while in the course of giving Old Chapel a makeover, construction manager Barr & Barr and the subcontractors that worked with it uncovered a host of problems and hurdles to be cleared. “We took this building back to the structure, and we found a lot of bad structure.”

The Old Chapel, seen in an undated postcard.

The Old Chapel, seen in an undated postcard.

Jim Alexander, senior principal with Finegold Alexander Architects, which added the chapel to an impressive résumé of work with historic structures, agreed.

He said there were three main challenges to this endeavor: creating suitable access to the building and all its levels, finding space for the mechanicals (heating, air conditioning, etc.) without taking valuable square footage on the ground floor, and determining what the structure could and should be used for moving forward, and designing spaces accordingly.

In each case, creative answers were found, he said, referring to his company as “problem-solving architects.”

The end results are dramatic, Alexander and Quackenbush noted, although few will actually know just how dramatic, because they’ve never seen the ‘old,’ and can only bask in the ‘new.’

And while the $21 million Old Chapel project will restore a landmark to prominence, it is, in many ways, merely part of a larger effort to revitalize and reinvigorate the historic center of the campus, an area that also includes the W.E.B. Du Bois Library, the campus pond, nearby South College, and some recent additions, such as the Honors College, just a few hundred feet from the chapel.

“The chapel is part of a larger investment in the core of the campus,” said Blaguszewski, listing everything from new construction to renovation of the campus center to conversion of the old Blue Wall tavern into a huge dining facility. “The goal is to connect students to the school’s past, honor our history, and build a community.”

For this issue, BusinessWest takes an in-depth look at the Old Chapel project, and how a university that has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to add new facilities to the landscape has made an equally important investment in preserving the past.

History Lessons

When asked to describe that aforementioned ‘old,’ or what he found when he ventured inside Old Chapel before the restoration project commenced, Quackenbush used a number of words and phrases to convey the picture.

Perhaps none drove the point home better than ‘frightening.’

Jeff Quackenbush inside the renovated great room at the Old Chapel.

Jeff Quackenbush inside the renovated great room at the Old Chapel.

“It was not a safe place, really; I found myself wondering what was around the corner,” he said while referencing some early tours. “It was old, it was dirty … you were wondering if something with four legs might be lurking about.”

This was quite a sad state for a building that has seen all but a few decades of the school’s 153-year history and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places only a year ago.

“It has served many students over many generations,” said Blaguszewski as he explained its important place in the history and psyche of the university. “And it speaks to the history and community of UMass; this building has endured through the transformation of the university through many phases, from small land-grant startup, if you will, to one of the best public research universities in the country today.”

Indeed, positioned just west of the pond, the chapel has seen the school essentially grow up around it. One old postcard, date unknown (page 7), shows the structure on the school’s main thoroughfare with little but trees and a large green around it.

And as that green space was filled in over the ensuing decades, Old Chapel, a two-and-a-half-story Romanesque Revival structure made from Pelham granite with East Longmeadow sandstone trim, assumed a number of roles.

Originally, the first floor functioned as the school library, while the second floor was the college chapel. The library remained there until 1935, when it was renovated and used for classrooms. In subsequent years, the building served as home for the Department of Music and Performing Arts, and, later, the highly acclaimed UMass marching band.

Indeed, all that most students who were on campus during the ’70s, ’80s, and early ’90s knew of the chapel was the sounds of the band practicing, which permeated its thick walls.

While the chapel’s tower, clock, and bells underwent extensive renovations in 1998 and 1999, the interior was essentially neglected, said Blaguszewski, adding that the school could never seem to find the money for what would certainly be a very involved effort to restore, renovate, and modernize the structure to meet modern building codes.

And that’s where things stood until Subbaswamy’s now-famous tour and his stated commitment to returning Old Chapel to something approximating its former glory.

“After he was appointed,” noted Blaguszewski, “he said that, if the opportunity arises, we really need to restore this building — it’s such a beautiful structure, it’s in the heart of the campus, it’s part of our historic legacy, and it can be a real community builder.”

That opportunity came as the chancellor pushed for the chapel project to be part of a much larger capital campaign, he went on, adding that $21 million, including donations from several thousand individuals, was eventually cobbled together for the project.

The task of blueprinting the renovations and needed structural changes was awarded to Finegold Alexander Architects, which has undertaken a number of similar projects regionally and nationally.

It was a significant player in the massive, $150 million restoration of Ellis Island, for example, as well the extensive renovations to Boston’s iconic Hatch Memorial Shell on the occasion of its 50th anniversary in 1990.

Other projects in the portfolio include work on the executive suite at the Massachusetts State House, Worcester’s Union Station, the Wang Performance Center, and, regionally, Holyoke’s Public Library, a project that involved integration of the existing structure, built in 1902, with a large addition, effectively doubling the facility’s space.

“Our interest has been in the reuse of existing buildings, and kind of reimagining or reinterpreting them for contemporary purposes,” Alexander explained, adding that those terms definitely apply to the Old Chapel project.

Designs on a Rebirth

As noted earlier, the Old Chapel project presented a number of challenges, said Alexander, and before any of them could really be addressed, the first order of business was to determine what the structure could and should be used for moving forward.

“There was a lot of back and forth on this, with a number of people involved,” he said. “The chancellor and many others wanted to explore the possibilities, but they knew it had to have a major student component, and there had to be ceremonial aspect to it as well.”

Making this vision reality required a healthy mix of imagination, diligence, and even some science, in the form of microscopic examination of samples from the second-floor space, known to many as the ‘great room,’ to determine the original wall and trim colors.

“It had been painted this unfortunate green color and was in really bad shape,” he recalled. “There had been a paint/stenciling color scheme around the walls, and by doing extensive testing of the original plaster — paint seriation analysis — we were able to figure out what those colors were originally and restore those color bands.”

In some cases, original facilities, including practically everything on the first floor except the support columns, had to be ripped up and replaced, said Quackenbush, adding that other original features, such as the wooden trusses in the great room and most of the elaborate staircases, were refurbished and put back in place.

umasschapelinteriorbefore

The great room in the Old Chapel before (above), and after.

The great room in the Old Chapel before (above), and after.

“More than half the structural elements in the building had to be supplemented with additional structural elements,” he explained, adding that this was necessitated by modern building codes, including those dealing with seismic activity.

To create affective access for all, the architects came up with a unique solution in the form of a new entrance, or pavilion, known as the ‘glass box,’ which is essentially what it is.

This new, modern, handicap-accessible ‘addition to the landscape,’ as Alexander calls it, enables the preservation of the original entrances (no longer suited for that purpose) to be preserved and used only for egress.

“As a result, we didn’t have to change the historic character of those entranceways, one of which was right under the main tower,” he explained.

Another challenge was figuring out what to do with the mechanicals, said Quakenbush, adding that locating them within the existing footprint would be impractical and take up too much space. The solution was a vault, designed to be as inconspicuous as possible, located below grade outside the building. It will make use of excess capacity from the nearby library, said Quackenbush.

Placement of the chapel on the National Register of Historic Places presented still another challenge, said Alexander, adding that, while it doesn’t restrict what can be done to a building’s interior, in most cases, it adds another layer of approvals to the process.

“We had to make sure that our new entry, our new accessibility, the mechanical systems … nothing would really adversely effect the original design of the building,” he explained. “That was a bit of a challenge, but one we readily accepted.”

The renovated structure is now ready to play an exciting new role on the campus, said Quackenbush, adding that the first floor of the chapel will be used for student-related activities, right down to study space. The room can be conjured in a number of ways, he explained, and the giant video screen can be used for myriad academic functions.

The great room upstairs, meanwhile, with its slightly raised stage, stained-glass windows, and elaborate trusses, can be used for a number of different functions, he went on, listing everything from alumni gatherings to awards banquets to guest lectures and speeches.

It can also, as noted, be used for weddings, and he expects there to be many involving individuals who have a special connection to the university — and there are plenty who fall in that category.

Bell-weather Project

As he talked about the Old Chapel project, Alexander relayed a story that speaks volumes about the building, its importance to the campus, and the work to restore it.

Back in 2014, as the work was beginning, he was bringing his granddaughter, then a student at the university, back to the campus. He told BusinessWest that the two eventually ventured to Old Chapel, and she was able to climb into the tower and ring the bell.

Upon descending and moving toward the exit, they came across several students, who, upon seeing the door to the landmark finally open (something they had never seen before), tried to get inside for a look.

“They were very disappointed when I told them they couldn’t,” Alexander recalled. “I had to say, ‘sorry, not yet.’”

Soon, of course, he and others won’t have to utter those words any longer. That will be an historic moment for the school, one of many witnessed by the university’s most recognizable landmark, and the one everyone knew so little about.

Indeed, the school’s past will now be part of its future, and the vision Subbaswamy had years ago will finally become reality.

George O’Brien can be reached at [email protected]

Daily News

SOMERS, Conn. — S. Prestley Blake’s recreation of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello sold at auction Tuesday night for $2.125 million, the Republican reported. The unidentified buyer was a local doctor, according to Sherri Milkie, a real-estate agent with William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty in Old Lyme, Conn., who had been the listing agent.

Blake, the co-founder of Friendly’s Ice Cream, hired Laplante Construction to build the home for $8 million and had planned to sell it for $6.5 million before dropping the price. He knew the sale would be a loss, but characterizes the home as his swan song and a gift to the town of Somers.

The home’s 10,000-square-foot interior is filled with modern amenities, but the exterior echoes details of Jefferson’s original in Charlottesville, Va., including the white columns, roof balustrades, and signature dome at the front of the structure (or the back at the original Monticello; the back entrance was the main entrance in Jefferson’s time). Period interior elements include a tea room, a lavish foyer, ornate hardwood floors, and the so-called great room.

Attention to detail can be seen in many aspects of the recreation work, including the brick used. Bricks in the original were hand-made made on-site in Virginia, and those used in Somers were also hand-made and cast to look like what was used in the early 19th century.

Employment Sections

Letter of the Law

By OLGA M. SERAFIMOVA, Esq.

Olga Serafimova

Olga Serafimova

Having to deal with a unionization effort is challenging enough, but having to do it a second time after a narrow success would be truly taxing.

Yet, Danbury Hospital is faced with exactly this task.

Specifically, Danbury Hospital’s workforce voted 346 for and 390 against joining AFT Connecticut, which is a union comprised of teachers, nurses, and other healthcare workers. However, last month, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) — the federal agency responsible for the implementation of the National Labor Relations Act — set aside these results and ordered a re-run election. The reason for this development was that the NLRB concluded that the hospital had violated a recent amendment to its rules requiring employers to provide available personal e-mail addresses and telephone numbers for employees included on a voter list.

When a petition is filed with the NLRB seeking to form or join a union, the employer must comply with a number of requirements with short deadlines, such as compiling and providing a voter list. A voter list contains specific information about all employees who would be included in the proposed union if the unionization effort is successful, as these are the employees who get to vote on whether or not to unionize. After the petition is filed, the proposed union and the employer may agree to put the matter to a vote by entering into an election agreement, or may have the NLRB decide whether or not a vote should occur.

To be entitled to a vote, the proposed union must comply with a number of specific requirements, and unless an agreement is reached, the issue is decided at a hearing before the NLRB. This hearing may result in the dismissal of the petition or the issuance of a direction of election, in which case the matter is put to a vote by the employees.

Generally speaking, the voter list must be provided to the NLRB and the proposed union within two business days after the approval of the agreement or the issuance of the direction of election. This deadline is very strict. To get an extension, the employer must be able to show ‘extraordinary circumstances.’

The fact that the employer may be decentralized, have a large workforce, or rely on an outside payroll company, all of which would make gathering the required information more time-consuming, are not sufficient to meet this test. Other aspects of the rule that render the task time-consuming are the very specific format requirements. The NLRB rule controls the file format to be used, the order of the columns, the order of the names, and the font to be used, and failing to comply with any of these requirements could potentially result in a re-run election.

The information required to be on a voting list includes the employees’ full names, job classifications, work locations, shifts, and contact information, including their home addresses, available personal e-mail addresses, and available home and personal cell-phone numbers. In compiling the voter list, Danbury Hospital relied exclusively on the information contained in the employee database maintained by its Human Resources Department.

In so doing, the hospital provided all personal e-mails in that database, as well as telephone numbers for 94% of the employees on the list. Nevertheless, the NLRB held that its rules had been violated.

The NLRB reached this decision not because it found that the hospital had failed to provide any e-mail addresses and telephone numbers, but because it found that the hospital had failed to search diligently enough for any additional e-mail addresses and telephone numbers that may exist.

The NLRB reasoned that, by failing to look into other databases, such as those maintained by its Emergency and Nursing departments, the hospital had not exercised the necessary level of due diligence to comply with the rule.

Given the grave consequences of failing to comply with the requirements of the voter list and the broad interpretation of the new rule in the case of Danbury Hospital, employers facing a unionization effort are advised to start preparing the list as soon as they know the likely scope of the bargaining unit at issue.

A similar result could follow if an employer is found to have failed to properly post or distribute the notice of election, the document informing the parties and employees that a vote will be held. Under the NLRB’s new rule, this notice must be posted in conspicuous places in the workplace, including all places where notices to employees are “customarily posted.”

The employer must also e-mail the notice to all employees with whom the employer “customarily communicates” electronically.

Given these vague definitions, further litigation is bound to happen.

Olga M. Serafimova, Esq. is an attorney at Royal LLP, a woman-owned, boutique, management-side labor and employment law firm. Royal LLP is a certified women’s business enterprise with the Massachusetts Supplier Diversity Office, the National Assoc. of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms, and the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council; (413) 586-2288; [email protected]

Commercial Real Estate Sections

Reason to Smile

Stacy Building

Stacy Building

The new logo for Taylor Street Dental doesn’t picture anything, well, dental. No mouth, no teeth, no dental chair or examination equipment.

It’s a building. An important building, said Dr. David Peck.

“We wanted to meld this old, historic building with our dental practice — meld them together, old and new,” he said of the logo, but also of his practice itself, which for 30 years had been known simply as David I. Peck, DMD and been housed in a storefront on Worthington Street, in downtown Springfield’s club district.

But he was looking to move, and became intrigued by the Stacy Building a block away — its striking architecture, solid bones, and storied history, but also its proximity to where he had been treating patients for three decades.

“I knew I wanted to move the practice into another building, to expand and gain more space,” Peck told BusinessWest. “I started looking in the city. I could have gone to the suburbs — Longmeadow, East Longmeadow, Wilbraham — but I’ve been downtown 30 years, and I really believe my success is due to the city of Springfield — due to all my patients, past and present, who had no problem coming to downtown Springfield. I felt like it was time to pay it forward by building them an office where they’re comfortable and happy and feel great about the surroundings.”

He found it in the Stacy Building on Taylor Street, which he bought in 2013 from Plotkin Associates and now houses 3,700 square feet of dental space on the fourth floor — a striking top-level office boasting plenty of exposed brick, chestnut beams and columns, skylights, and barn-style sliding doors.

“We wanted to keep all the old parts of the building that are so beautiful — the large windows, the wood beams and columns,” he explained. “Construction always takes longer than you expect, but we finally moved in this past August.”

One aspect of the project that caused delays was making sure the building was completely handicapped-accessible, including installation of a new, larger elevator cab that opens to both the lobby of the building and at ground level; previously, the lobby was accessible by stairs only.

“We wanted to make sure all my patients, young and old, could get from the ground floor to the fourth-floor office,” Peck said. “We now have handicapped accessibility to all four floors.”

Dr. David Peck

Dr. David Peck, owner of Taylor Street Dental and, now, the Stacy Building that houses it.

That’s just one element that pleases him about the building, which still houses NAI Plotkin on the first floor and two marketing agencies on the second. The third floor has 2,500 square feet of space yet to be leased, in addition to some conference space for Taylor Street Dental.

“The building looks as good as it does because of the hard work of Laplante Construction in East Longmeadow,” Peck said. “They were pivotal in the design and construction and successful outcome of this building. We owe them a debt of gratitude for doing such an amazing job.”

Old and New

The Stacy Building is best-known as the place where brothers Charles and Frank Duryea built the first American gasoline-powered car in 1893. Within a few years, they were making 13 cars a year there.

“The building was in good condition, but I knew I wanted the dental office on the fourth floor, which was small offices, so we demoed the third and fourth floor, modernized it, sandblasted the brick to keep the aesthetics of the brick, kept the beams and the wood columns, and cleaned up the molding around the large windows.”

The space now boasts nine treatment areas, up from five on Worthington Street, and Peck is looking to add staff — he currently employs 11, including two other dentists — to make use of the additional space.

“We renovated all new — we didn’t even bring any of our existing equipment over,” he said, referring to state-of-the-art devices like CT scanners, medical lasers for treatment of soft tissue, and movie-projecting goggles for patients to wear during their procedures. “We wanted all brand-new equipment.”

The construction work isn’t totally complete, however, as exterior façade work will continue in the spring. But the Stacy Building has taken a big step into the 21st century, with a new, more efficient HVAC system, a new fire-alarm system, and new lighting.

“We totally converted the entire building to LED lighting. My daughter, a civil engineer, said, ‘Dad, you’ve got to go LED and be as green as you can.’ So, as a tribute to my daughter, I changed out all the fluorescent lights in the whole building.”

Peck’s patients have already expressed approval of the new office.

“Let me tell you — when patients come here, their mouths drop open. They love it. They say, ‘as comfortable as I felt with you in the other office, Dr. Peck, I’m so much more comfortable here in the new office.’ They say when they come in, they feel even more relaxed, more comfortable, more at peace. When you go to the dentist, you’re nervous, but they feel like they’ve come into a spa environment; their anxiety and nervousness is at a much lower level. They come in and say, ‘it’s just like a spa. I want to sit here and never leave.’”

Those are compliments he relishes.

“It’s just a nice feeling. That’s what I want to do. With any business establishment, you want to provide the very best for your patrons, customers, patients,” he said, adding, “my wife, Susan, was very much involved in helping me design this. We have a partnership; we’ve been married for 35 years, and we just love designing together. I thank my wife for helping me make this place such a success, and something that’s so beautiful for my patients.”

exposed brick and beam features

Dr. David Peck wanted to keep the exposed brick and beam features of the Stacy Building.

Those patients visit Peck for a full range of general, cosmetic, and implant dentistry, he explained, adding that he designed his practice as a one-stop site for dental needs — and, now, a coffee bar with USB chargers.

Those are the sort of funky touches that appeal to a downtown Springfield clientele, one that doesn’t necessarily need a storefront window to draw them in. Parking is plentiful, he added, from validation at a neighboring parking garage to on-street spaces to a small lot dedicated to Taylor Street Dental. “We try to give patients every reason to come to us.

“I bought this place because I wanted to stay in Springfield,” he went on. “It’s a gorgeous building. Just look at it from the outside — I love the way the building looks in springtime, when the trees bloom. It is an absolutely gorgeous building, and with the architecture, the way the brick is laid, the façade, and even the windows, I fell in love with the building.”

Positive Story

Peck’s clear affection for his location explains the logo. “This melding of the dental practice with the historic building creates — as corny as it sounds — a marriage made in heaven,” he told BusinessWest. “It feels great when I come in here. It’s amazing, the beauty they were able to build into it back then, without the heavy machinery we have now. I love coming in here every day.”

The Duryea Historical Society sent Peck a plaque for the office, and when he schedules a grand-opening celebration, he’s going to try to get some Duryea descendants to join in, if only to celebrate another success story in a city seeing more of them these days.

“There’s a perception that Springfield is unsafe. But I’ve been here 30 years; I’ve walked out at 12, 1 in the morning. I’ve never had a problem,” he said. “I love Springfield, and Springfield loves us. I think about times when people felt more positive about the city they work and live in, but they should appreciate what they have here in Springfield. We have museums at the Quadrangle, the Basketball Hall of Fame, MGM wants to come in … these are all positive things. It’s a beautiful city, so let’s start appreciating what we have and stop bashing it.”

That’s why he refuses to discount the City of Homes, but rather continue to support it — with a highly visible investment in the future of its downtown.

“I’ve seen other business around downtown Springfield that had no interest in staying, but not Taylor Street Dental,” he said. “We’re here to stay for the long term.”


Joseph Bednar can be reached at [email protected]

Education Sections

Storehouse of History

Building 19

Above: an architect’s rendering of a renovated Building 19. Below left: a late-19th-century shot of the structure, which served primarily as a warehouse for the Armory.

Building19-1865

It’s called Building 19. That’s the number the federal government attached to the structure at the Springfield Armory that eventually grew to 660 feet in length and was used to store hundreds of thousands of rifle stocks at a time. Despite its historical and architectural significance (its first portion was completed 14 years before the Civil War started), the building has essentially been lost to time, serving as a storehouse for unwanted equipment that those at Springfield Technical Community College, which moved into the Armory complex in 1967, can’t simply throw away. But plans have been blueprinted to make ‘19’ the new center of the campus.

Springfield Technical Community College President Ira Rubenzahl likes to say the school moved into the historic Springfield Armory site back in 1967 … “and it’s been moving in ever since.”

Elaborating, he said the process of converting former Armory manufacturing buildings, office space, officers’ quarters, and other structures into classrooms, administration areas, and assorted other academic facilities hasn’t really ceased since it first began back when Lyndon Johnson patrolled the White House.

And the latest, and perhaps most ambitious, example of this phenomenon in the college’s nearly-50-year history is the planned conversion of the structure known as Building 19, which was once a warehouse that held more than a half-million rifle stocks at any given time, into the home for a host of facilities ranging from the library to the financial-aid office to the bookstore.

“It’s going to be the centerpiece of the campus,” said Rubenzahl, who took the helm at the school in 2004 and has overseen several projects involving reuse of old Armory buildings. He noted that, while there are still some hurdles to clear, especially final appropriation of the $50 million this undertaking will cost, the project is rounding into shape.

Gov. Charlie Baker visited the region late last month to announce $3 million in state funding for what amounts to final designs for the project, which will make use of all 660 feet of this intriguing structure, which is historically and architecturally significant, said Rubenzahl.

Indeed, Building 19 is the only standing structure in this country that can be called a caserne, a French term for a combination military barracks and stables, although it was never actually used for that purpose. From the beginning, which in this case means 1846, when the first of four sections of the building was completed, it has served primarily as a storage facility.

“It wasn’t used as a stables, but it looks like one,” he explained, “because it’s built on the model of a caserne, which had the cavalry horses on the first floor and the cavalry officers living above them. It’s not a replica; it’s the U.S. Army’s version of what this might look like in the United States.”

The building’s ground floor has dozens of arched entrances, or openings, which will allow for a great deal of creativity when it comes to design of the spaces inside while dispensing a huge amount of natural light, said Rubenzahl. Meanwhile, the second floor features an equal number of large, slightly curved windows, which can be used to shape unique, desirable working and studying spaces.

“We’re told that 40% of the exterior walls are entrances, which is very unusual,” he said. “We have all these arches, so you can make an entrance anywhere you want. And then you can do some nice things with light; it’s going to be very dramatic.”

The renovation of Building 19 is likely to commence sometime next year, said Rubenzahl, and while it won’t be ready for the 50th anniversary celebrations in 2017 that are now being blueprinted, it should be open for business the following year.

STCC President Ira Rubenzahl

STCC President Ira Rubenzahl says that, if renovated as planned, Building 19 would become the new center of the campus.

Overall, the ‘new’ Building 19 will reorient the campus, with the focus shifting from Garvey Hall to the renovated structure, and centralize it as well, in a way that will add needed convenience to students and staff alike.

“This will help organize the campus in a way that it’s never been organized before,” he explained. “From the beginning, the college took this space, then it took that space, and said, ‘we need something for this … we’ll put it over here.’ There was never a master plan to organize the functions in a coherent way that would help the students.

“That’s what we’re doing with Building 19,” he went on, “and it will be a huge step forward.”

For this issue and its focus on education, BusinessWest looks at the ambitious plans for Building 19, and how they would change the landscape at STCC — in every sense of that word.

Blast from the Past

In recent years, Rubenzahl told BusinessWest — actually, since the day the college opened — students could spend their entire time at the school and never really notice Building 19, as large as it is, other than to walk by it on the journey from the parking lots off Pearl Street to the classroom buildings in the center of the campus, constructed in the ’80s on the site of former Armory buildings.

All that will change if funding is approved and construction starts as scheduled, he went on, and by September 2018, the structure would be the undisputed hub of the campus.

This startling transformation has been decades in the making, he went on, adding that discussions concerning what to do with Building 19 have been ongoing — at different levels of intensity, to be sure — since the college’s earliest days, when it was known as the Springfield Technical Institute (STI).

That was in the fall of 1967, roughly three years after U.S. Defense Secretary Robert McNamara announced that the federal government would decommission the Armory, built in the late 18th century on a site chosen by George Washington, and about 18 months after city officials lost a pitched battle to keep it open.

Soon after those efforts failed — or years and even decades before that, depending on whom one talks to — officials began eyeing the site as a possible home for a college, especially the west side of Federal Street, with its long brick buildings and large courtyard.

In those early days, STI and the Armory actually co-existed as the latter was decommissioned, with the school gradually occupying more of the Armory buildings in the years to follow. Building 16, as it was called, the Armory’s main administration building, served the college in that same capacity, and eventually became known as Garvey Hall in honor of the school’s first president, Edmond Garvey.

Meanwhile, Building 27 became home to the school’s library; Building 20, one of the youngest structures on the property, dating back to the 1940s, would house most health programs; and a series of buildings on the east side of Federal Street, first home to GE and then Digital Equipment Corp., became the Technology Park at Springfield Technical Community College, now home to dozens of businesses and, most recently, a charter school.

As for Building 19, well, it has been used almost exclusively for storage, said Rubenzahl, adding that, over the decades, all manner of equipment and supplies have wound up there — and remained there for years.

Indeed, as he offered BusinessWest a tour of the facilities, he walked past everything from long-obsolete computers to rusting air conditioners to an old phonograph.

“We’re a state agency, and that means we’re not allowed to throw things out,” he explained, adding that disposing of all equipment or identifying other potential users is a laborious, time-consuming process that certainly helps explain why such items accumulate.

Building 19, seen in the background

Building 19, seen in the background in front of Armory buildings torn down to make way for new classroom buildings, has historical and architectural significance.

Soon, these objects — and their numbers have been dwindling recently — will have to reside somewhere else because Building 19 will be getting a serious interior facelift and new lease on life.

As he talked about it on a hot summer’s afternoon, Rubenzahl walked the length of both floors and pointed to the third, a windowless, loft-like area, talking about how each will be repurposed.

The ground floor, with those arched entrances, will become home to a number of offices, including admissions, registration, financial aid, and others, and also the bookstore, currently located in Building 20, he said, adding that the space throughout the building is dominated by columns, which makes it far more suitable for offices and student uses than for classroom space.

The second floor, meanwhile, will house the library and other student services, he said, adding that facilities will be placed toward the center of the spaces, generating maximum benefit from all those windows.

Overall, the building is in good condition, he noted, and while the older structures pose challenges, they were in many ways overbuilt because of their intended uses, and have stood the test of time.

“They were built by the Army, they were built for weapons storage in some cases, and they’re just very solidly constructed,” he explained. “Structurally, these buildings have great integrity, so in many ways, they’re good buildings to renovate.”

Building Momentum

When the renovation project is complete, Rubenzahl said, the campus will have tens of thousands of square feet of space to repurpose — in Building 16, the library, and other structures — and these developments create opportunities for the college, the Commonwealth, and perhaps the community as well.

Meanwhile, there are other projects to tackle, including Building 20, the largest structure on the campus, which is partly in use (the first three floors are occupied), but there are a number of infrastructure issues.

A master plan is being developed for the entire campus, said Rubenzahl, adding that the Armory complex offers a wealth of opportunities but also myriad challenges.

And that explains why the college that moved in 48 years ago is still moving in.


George O’Brien can be reached at [email protected]

Luxury Living Sections
Demand for High-end, Custom Homes Grows as Economy Improves

From left, Jason Pecoy, Kent Pecoy, and Suzanne Clarke

From left, Jason Pecoy, Kent Pecoy, and Suzanne Clarke say outdoor living space has become a key component of luxury homes.

Think about a beautiful marble or tiled shower with multiple showerheads that pulse and even give off steam in a state-of-the-art bathroom that glows with warmth from a gas-burning fireplace.

Imagine a pool cabana that resembles a small but stately home and is fronted by fluted columns and floor-to-ceiling windows with a kitchen and bar inside. Or a four-season room with glass walls that open onto a gorgeous patio that extends the home’s living space into the outdoors.

These areas exist locally in luxury homes where every feature is designed to please the most discriminating buyer. The demand for them is growing, and local builders who specialize in this niche market report that they have a substantial number of projects underway or planned for the near future.

“The market is doing well, and the luxury-building market is in full recovery mode,” said Richard McCullough, president of Richard A. McCullough Inc. in Longmeadow, who finished his term as president of the Homebuilders and Remodelers Assoc. of Western Mass. “It took a while for things to improve after the recession, but it’s a different feeling today when I pick up the phone; it’s no longer surprising when someone says they have a lot and want to build a luxury home on it.”

Laplante Construction Inc. in East Longmeadow, which is known for custom-designed homes, has been busy for the past four or five years. It diversified into the remodeling industry long before the economy went into a downward spiral and has steadily built that business, said Raymond Laplante, who founded the company and does most of the design work. “We’ve been doing whole-house teardowns and rebuilds, and are putting up large contract homes today.”

But styles, as well as the size of custom-built homes, have changed dramatically in recent years, and today’s wish lists reflect a desire to save energy and utilize every square foot of space.

“Luxury doesn’t mean large,” said Kent Pecoy, president and founder of Pecoy Signature Homes and the Pecoy Companies in West Springfield. “In the past, luxury homes were usually about 7,000 square feet. Today, they are much smaller — 4,000 to 5,000 square feet — but still have the same appointments: beautiful kitchens, spacious family rooms, built-ins, custom finishes, and swimming pools.

“We’re putting a lot of emphasis on outdoor living, with covered porches, outdoor kitchens, built-in grills, and fireplaces, and are making much better use of basements,” he went on. “Some even have kitchenettes that lead outside to the pool.”

McCullough agrees. “In the ’80s, luxury homes were all about size. Bigger was better, and it was taken to the extreme. Most homes had massive, two-story foyers,” he told BusinessWest.

But that hearkens to a bygone era. Formal living rooms have become passé, and formal dining rooms are not important to most buyers.

“Space that would have been used for a living room in the past is being turned into studies or casual conversation areas,” Pecoy said. “People tell us they want space they can use every day or for more than one purpose, such as a sunroom that doubles as an eating area. As a result, what we’re building is very different than what we built five years ago, and completely different than 10 years ago.”

Lots are also much smaller and closer to workplaces. “In the past, people wanted a lot of land, but now they are happy with an acre or even a half-acre,” Pecoy said. “They don’t want to be way out in the country, so the lots they choose are closer to the center of town. They want convenient commutes; they want to be able to enjoy area restaurants and shopping without having to drive long distances to get there.”

Entertaining has become an important part of many peoples’ lifestyles, and to accommodate that, luxury homes typically have open-concept floor plans that contain a spacious, state-of-the-art kitchen, adjoining family room, and an area that opens into the backyard.

“People don’t want to waste space, so layouts are efficient,” Laplante said, adding that outdoor living plays a key role in design, and his company is building a large number of spacious cabanas, outdoor fireplaces, and kitchens.

Return to Health

The size of luxury homes has gone up and down as quickly as the economy over the past decade or two, and Pecoy said the upward spiral began after 9/11.

“People didn’t want to travel, and since they decided not to buy vacation homes and were going to stay home, they wanted bigger houses. We had built good-sized homes prior to that event, but not nearly as large as the ones that were built for a few years after.”

Richard McCullough

Richard McCullough says foam insulation and geothermal heating and cooling are popular options in newer luxury homes.

The belief that bigger was better continued until the economy tanked and homebuilding almost came to a halt. Some builders, including Pecoy, had branched out years before, so they still had plenty of work, but although that wasn’t true for everyone, McCullough said, companies with long histories didn’t despair. “Everyone in the industry who has been through this once or twice had a measured amount of optimism,” he explained. “And things are good right now, although that could change because we don’t know what could occur in this geopolitical environment.”

Still, local luxury homebuilders are busy again. McCullough is about to start his fourth home in a development he created in Somers, Conn. called Bridal Path Ridge, and is working on a large addition to a custom-built home there.

“The owners are putting on a new wing with a second family room, office, screened-in porch, pool, hot tub, and outside kitchen area,” he said, noting that he believes many people who could afford to remodel held back while the economy was in a state of flux. “A lot of money sat on the sidelines, but now it is being reintroduced into the market. The fear has faded, and builders are benefiting.”

Jason Pecoy said the demand for screened-in porches, four-season rooms, and covered patios is on the rise. “We just put a roof over a patio in Longmeadow with stone seating walls around it,” said the vice president of the Pecoy Companies and son of Kent.

Efficient use of space even extends into the bathroom, and whirlpool tubs that were rarely used have lost their appeal, while free-standing and claw-footed tubs have made a comeback. In addition, demand for oversized tile or marble showers has heated up.

McCullough said most of the luxury homes he builds today are under 4,000 square feet, and the majority of the space, or about 2,800 square feet, is on the first floor, especially if the home is being built for professionals approaching retirement age who want their master bedroom downstairs, but need bedrooms for visiting children and grandchildren upstairs.

In addition, a growing number of older adults are adding luxurious in-law apartments to their homes, then selling the homes to their children. “There is a big push for these apartments. But people want all the amenities available, and that includes an open floor plan,” Laplante said, adding that he has built in-law apartments that range in size from 1,200 to 1,600 square feet.

The second-home market is also beginning to gain strength.

“We just acquired four acre-plus lots in West Dennis across from the beach and are about to start building a 4,200-square-foot spec home there,” said Suzanne Clarke, director of sales and marketing for the Pecoy Companies. “And we just finished a 3,000-square-foot luxury home in West Dennis that has a beachy feel, with beautiful trimwork, built-in bunk beds for the children with carved seahorses, coffered ceilings, a gorgeous outdoor screened-in porch with a fireplace and TV, and a large patio.”

Attention to Detail

Although today’s luxury homes are smaller, interest in interior detail has grown.

“There is a focus on unique finishes,” McCullough said, citing a custom casing over a doorway with a crown and cap as an example, and adding that, during the course of many remodeling jobs, owners of luxury homes make the decision to change all of the trim on the first floor.

He builds many homes for professionals approaching retirement age, while Laplante has many clients with young children, who prefer a young, transitional style, which translates to elegant, custom-built moldings with simple lines, quartz countertops, and porcelain plank floors in the kitchen that look like hardwood. “They want a clean, modern look, and many choose character wood for the floors, which shows the knots and irregular grain,” he explained.

Keeping rooms off the kitchen have also become popular. “They usually have a fireplace, a small desk, and some seating. They’re small but comfortable nooks that give kids a place to study,” Laplante went on.

Richard Gale, project manager for Laplante Construction, said these rooms allow parents to converse with their children while they cook. “Sometimes we build a center island in them with desks around the perimeter. The room can be used as a place to eat or do homework.”

Raymond Laplante, left, and Richard Gale

Raymond Laplante, left, and Richard Gale say attention to detail is a critical component in the design of a new luxury home.

Advances in technology are also making their way into design, and Laplante said mudrooms often contain charging stations where children and adults can plug in all of their devices, and these areas typically have benches that double as storage areas with cubicles and shelves above them to hold books and outdoor clothing.

The playroom is another area where space is maximized. “Parents want things organized, so the rooms may have open shelves or cabinets with pullout drawers,” Gale noted.

The desire to utilize space to the fullest has even washed up in the laundry room, he added. “They’ve become a lot more complicated; they’re bigger and have more cabinetry and space to store things.”

Basements are another area used as part of the living space, and they are becoming recreation centers in new, luxury homes. Some buyers still request formal movie theaters, although builders say that trend is giving way to informal areas that contain a fireplace with a big-screen TV stationed over it.

“Game rooms are popular, and some people want spas, steam rooms, saunas, or lap pools in their basement,” Laplante told BusinessWest.

Incorporating ‘green’ building measures — particularly energy-efficient touches — is also an item on wish lists. “But for many people, it’s more about saving money than about saving the environment,” McCullough noted.

Laplante agrees, but says many of his clients want to make a contribution to the environment, and their desire is boosted by government subsidies that provide cash rebates and incentives for energy-efficient construction.

Pecoy says operating costs have become part of the conversation when people discuss the design of a luxury home.

“In 2004, even if I brought it up, no one wanted to talk about it,” he said. “But today, we’re setting up homes for solar and making sure the main body of the roof faces as much toward the south as we can.”

Foam insulation is slowly replacing fiberglass, and geothermal heating and cooling systems have become popular. “The heating systems cost two to three times more than a traditional system, but pay for themselves over a period of six to eight years,” Laplante said.

Pecoy added that people are also concerned about sustainability and where their building materials come from.

“We used to use a lot of exotic woods, such as ribbon stripe mahogany that came from rainforests,” he said. “But today, people prefer local hardwoods such as oak, ash, and maple.”

Fireplaces are still hot, but the demand for wood-burning models has gone up in smoke, being replaced with gas units that are easy to operate and don’t waste heat. “Saving energy has become ingrained in people’s minds, because no one knows where energy prices will go a year from now,” McCullough said.

Still, the warmth of a fireplace remains attractive, and Laplante’s clients are putting them in bathrooms and bedrooms and using zero-clearance models in hallways that allow them to be mounted on walls.

“They’re not all at ground level, and many look like artwork,” Gale said.

And because entertaining friends and family at home has become so popular, many luxury homes are designed with a guest bedroom and adjoining bathroom large enough to almost be called a second master suite.

Moving Forward

Although designs have changed in recent years, McCullough said, the biggest difference in the market today is people’s willingness to spend money.

“My view is that we’re on a precipitous rise. This year is much better than last,” he told BusinessWest, adding that it means work for builders, subcontractors, suppliers, and companies that make products for construction.

Laplante is building in East Longmeadow, Hatfield, South Hadley, and Southampton, as well as Connecticut. “Some of the homes are on individual lots, while others are in subdivisions. We’re also doing a lot of major renovations,” he noted. “For us, business is great.”

Pecoy said the majority of his firm’s business used to come from building luxury homes. “It has slowly picked up, and right now, it is about 40%,” he noted, adding that many existing luxury homeowners are remodeling and expanding their outdoor space.

Indeed, the list of projects his company is doing is staggering. “We have expanded our footprint, playing in a much bigger sandbox and traveling farther than we used to,” he said.

But for Pecoy and other custom homebuilders, it’s a joyous ride in a season that holds great promise.

Business Management Sections
How This Program Can Help You Effectively Manage Your Company

By CHRISTOPHER MARINI

Christopher Marini

Christopher Marini

Oftentimes, we rely on Excel to help us achieve a specific function or task, but do not look beyond our immediate needs, because the program can seem difficult or outright impossible to master.

While the depth of Excel’s capabilities is vast, there are a number of different tools that, with just a little education, can make an immediate and substantial impact on our day-to-day business activities. Here are five examples that may help you improve and optimize the operation of your company and better monitor your business to gain an inside edge. 

 

Track and Analyze Historical Data

One useful feature of Excel is its ability to track historical data and use this information to calculate changes and trends. Some functions in Excel that are helpful for this purpose are averages, dollar and percentage differences, and maximum and minimum values.

If a company is already using accounting software, many of these programs have the ability to export reports, such as income statements and balance sheets, directly to Excel. These reports can be generated for the current year and any prior periods for which data is available. Once the desired reports are in Excel, users can add columns and create formulas to calculate changes and trends. 

 

Budget-to-actual Comparisons

Another great business application of Excel is a budget-to-actual comparison.

This is a great way to track how well a business is able to control its costs relative to expectations that management has set. By exporting the actual results from an accounting program and creating a column of related budget figures, the user can calculate differences on an annual or monthly basis. Excel also has icon-conditional formatting that can automatically distinguish and visually present how close individual revenues or expenses are to their budgeted figures.

 

Make Future Predictions

Excel is also excellent at enabling the user to make predictions for future periods. By using the historical data and related trends as described above, business owners can apply an appropriate dollar or percentage increase to project future values.

For example, if expenses have risen by 3% in past years, management can assume that expenses will most likely increase by a similar amount this year.  Of course, some expenses are fixed, so Excel can be utilized to maintain the same fixed cost rates while applying the appropriate rate increase on any variable costs. By calculating projected expenses, business owners can make an educated estimate on how much revenue they will need to earn in order to be profitable. 

 

Perform a Scenario Analysis

One function in Excel that many users are not aware of is the ability to use the ‘goal seek’ option to explore hypothetical situations.

This is a great tool to use in conjunction with the setting of future expectations. For instance, if a sales-oriented organization needs to earn a certain dollar amount of revenue and is trying to determine what percentage revenues should increase by to reach that desired level, this function eliminates the guesswork and quickly computes the value needed. This function is especially useful in spreadsheets where there is substantial data and linking, and can help users save time by quickly arriving at a conclusion. 

 

Create Professional Graphs and Charts

Excel is an excellent program for creating insightful visual diagrams that business owners can use both for their own review as well as for presentations to staff or outside organizations.

While there are several other programs that enable users to create these graphs and charts, Excel is a clear frontrunner due to its ability to quickly interpret figures and adjust for any changes made. Some of the other programs rely on manual entries, which can be time-consuming and result in a higher margin of error.

The ‘pivot table’ feature in Excel can be refreshed to always effectively and efficiently present the most recent data. These tables can be customized in various visual ways to ensure that users can present their data exactly how they want. Additionally, Excel graphs and charts can be copied into other programs, and Microsoft Word even allows users to insert blank and editable Excel worksheets within the document.

Bottom Line

If you are already familiar with Excel, challenge yourself to adopt some of these methods to enhance the way you think about your business. If you are not yet comfortable with the operation of the Excel software, there are several learning opportunities available. Many free websites, such as excelexposure.com and gcflearnfree.org, offer step-by-step instructions on standard tasks. For a monthly fee, lynda.com has quality Excel video tutorials. In addition, many libraries or other local organizations will often offer live group learning experiences. If your task is more complex, some accounting firms offer advanced business Excel services as part of their management advisory and consulting services.

In the business world, knowledge is power, and the additional knowledge that can be obtained from custom-designed Excel spreadsheets can help business owners become more informed and aware of company performance. This increased awareness and financial insight can help give business owners the edge they need to stay ahead of their competitors and plan for the future.

 

Christopher Marini, MOS is an associate with the Holyoke-based public accounting firm Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C.; (413) 322-3549; [email protected]

Chamber Corners Departments

AFFILIATED CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE OF GREATER SPRINGFIELD
www.myonlinechamber.com
(413) 787-1555
 
• June 3: [email protected], 7:15-9 a.m., hosted by Springfield College, Richard B. Flynn Campus Union, 263 Alden St., Springfield. Sponsored by United Personnel and Wolf & Company, P.C. Celebrate success at the last ACCGS [email protected] of the 2014-15 season. Includes presentation of “A Year in Review” and the Richard J. Moriarty Citizen of the Year Award. Cost: $20 for members ($25 at the door), $30 for general admission.

AMHERST AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
www.amherstarea.com
(413) 253-0700
 
• June 24: After 5, 5-7 p.m., hosted by J.F. Conlon, 29 University Dr., Amherst. Sponsored in part by J.F. Conlon & Associates. Cost: $10 for members, $15 for non-members. Register online at www.amherstarea.com or call the chamber office at (413) 253-0700.
 
GREATER CHICOPEE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
www.chicopeechamber.org
(413) 594-2101
 
• June 13: 5K Road Race/2-mile Walk. Cost: $25, $15 for kids 12 and under. Registration includes T-shirt and free lunch provided by the Munich Haus.

• June 17: Breakfast & Health Fair, American Red Cross Blood Drive, hosted by Castle of Knights, 1599 Memorial Dr., Chicopee. Exhibitor space available: $125 per table for members, $175 for non-members.

• June 18: Mornings With the Mayor, 8-9 a.m., hosted by Willimansett Center West, 546 Chicopee St., Chicopee. Free for chamber members.

• June 24: Business After Hours, 5-7 p.m., hosted by Wireless Zone, 601E Memorial Dr., Chicopee. Cost: $10 for members, $15 for non-members. 

GREATER EASTHAMPTON CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
www.easthamptonchamber.org
(413) 527-9414

• June 1: Greater Easthampton and Greater Holyoke Chambers of Commerce 2014 Collaborative Networking Event. Register online at www.easthamptonchamber.org or call Denise at (413) 527-9414.

• June 8: Monday Morning with the Mayor, 8-9 a.m., hosted by Easthampton Savings Bank, Financial Services. Enter via Campus Lane entrance, 36 Main St., Easthampton. This is your opportunity to bring your questions to Mayor Karen Cadieux for casual conversation and direct answers. Register online at www.easthamptonchamber.org or call Denise at (413) 527-9414. 

• June 18: Speaker Breakfast, 7:30-9 a.m., hosted by Williston Northampton School, 19 Payson Ave., Easthampton. Join us for breakfast and educational discussion with keynote speaker Tim Brennan, Pioneer Valley Planning Commission executive director, regarding the regional impact and importance of the North South Rail Project. Register online at www.easthamptonchamber.org or call Denise at (413) 527-9414.
 
GREATER HOLYOKE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
www.holycham.com
(413) 534-3376
 
• June 19: 125th Anniversary Gala Ball, hosted by the Log Cabin, 500 Easthampton Road, Holyoke. Cocktails at 6 p.m., dinner at 7 p.m. Enjoy an elegant meal and dance to the music of the Floyd Patterson Band. Join Marcotte Ford as one of the major event sponsors by calling (413) 34-3376. Event is open to the public, More details to follow.
 
GREATER NORTHAMPTON CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
www.explorenorthampton.com
(413) 584-1900
 
• June 3: June Arrive @ 5, 5-7 p.m., hosted by Mineral Hills Winery, 592 Sylvester Road, Florence. Sponsored by Keiter Builders. Cost: $10 for members. For more information or to register, contact the chamber at (413) 584-1900.

• June 12: 2015 Workshop: “Using Excel Pivot Tables to Analyze Your Business’ Data,” 9-11 a.m., hosted by Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce, 99 Pleasant St., Northampton. Presented by Pioneer Training. Pivot tables are Excel’s most powerful tool for data analysis. A pivot table lets you easily separate data by various criteria into rows and columns in order to extract significant information from large, complex data sets. In this workshop, you’ll learn how to create and customize pivot tables using your own data. Participants are encouraged to bring laptops and follow along with the instructor, but this is not required. Admission: $20 for members, $30 for non-members. Pre-registration is required; space is limited. To register, visit [email protected] 

• June 26: 2015 Workshop: “Microsoft Excel: Tips, Tricks & Shortcuts in Microsoft Excel,” 9-11 a.m., hosted by Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce, 99 Pleasant St., Northampton. Presented by Pioneer Training. This workshop will present our favorite tips, tricks, and shortcuts that we have collected and developed over 15 years of teaching and using Microsoft Excel. Participants are encouraged to bring laptops and follow along with the instructor, but this is not required. Admission: $20 for members, $30 for non-members. Pre-registration is required; space is limited. To register, visit [email protected] 
 
GREATER WESTFIELD CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
www.westfieldbiz.org
(413) 568-1618
 
• June 1: June Mayor’s Coffee Hour, 8-9 a.m., hosted by Westfield Vocational Technical High School, 33 Smith Ave., Westfield. Free and open to the public. Register by calling (413) 568-1618.

• June 10: June After 5 Connection, 5-7 p.m., hosted by Westfield Bank, 462 College Highway, Southwick. Sponsored by Southwick Tae Kwon Do. Cost: $10 for members, $15 cash for non-members. Refreshments will be served. Bring your business cards and make connections. Register online at www.westfieldbiz.org.

• June 16: Eat & Educate: “Employee-sponsored Retirement and Benefit Programs,” 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., hosted by Westfield Bank, 141 Elm St., Westfield. Presented by Shawn Torres, MBA, Westfield Wealth Management and Westfield Bank. Cost: free for chamber members, $30 for non-members. RSVP is required; space is limited. Call Pam at the chamber at (413) 568-1618 to register.  

• June 19: Chamber Breakfast, 7:15 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Hosted by The Ranch Golf Club, 65 Sunnyside Road, Southwick. Platinum sponsor: Mestek. Golf sponsor: Berkshire Bank. Silver sponsor: First Niagara and Prolamina. Cost: $25 for members, $30 for non-members. Golf special: Registered attendees of the breakfast can golf at a discounted rate of only $65 at the Ranch Golf Club following the breakfast. Call Bill Rosenblum, golf pro, to register at (413) 569-9333, ext. 3. For more information on sponsorships, to register, or to donate a raffle prize, call Pam at the chamber at (413) 568-1618.

• June 22: Social Security Workshop: “Make Social Security Work for You,” 4:30-5:30 p.m., hosted by Holiday Inn Express, 39 Southampton Road, Westfield. Sponsored by Renaissance Advisory Services, LLC. Guest speaker: William Sheehan, district manager (retired), Springfield Social Security Office. Before you retire, ask questions: when should I begin Social Security? Do I plan to keep working? Will all my expenses be covered? What will my beneficiaries receive?  Learn about Social Security strategies that may fit into your overall plan. Cost: free for chamber members, $30 for non-members.
 
NORTHAMPTON AREA YOUNG PROFESSIONAL SOCIETY
www.thenayp.com
(413) 584-1900
 
• June 11: Nonprofit Board Fair, 5 p.m., hosted by Union Station, 125A Pleasant St., Northampton. Nonprofits count on volunteers to lead them to success. Join us for the fifth-annual Nonprofit Board Fair, a signature event featuring organizations from throughout the Pioneer Valley whose leadership will be on hand to speak to about opportunities to serve on their boards of directors. In addition, there will be a cash bar, hors d’oeuvres, and raffle prizes. Sponsors and partners: Florence Bank, the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, and WGBY public television. Register online at www.thenayp.com.
 
WEST OF THE RIVER CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
www.ourwrc.com
413-426-3880
 
• June 3: Wicked Wednesday, 5:30-7:30 p.m., hosted By Lattitude, 1338 Memorial Ave., West Springfield. Cost: free for chamber members, $10 at the door for non-members. Event is open to the public. Wicked Wednesdays are monthly social events, hosted by various businesses and restaurants, that bring members and non-members together to network in a laid-back atmosphere. For more information, call the chamber office at (413) 426-3880 or e-mail [email protected]

• June 18: Annual Breakfast Meeting, 7-9 a.m., hosted By Chez Josef, Agawam. Sponsored by OMG, Ormsby Insurance, and Development Associates. Event will kick off with the welcoming of new chairman Chuck Kelly and the incoming WRC board of directors. Cost: $25 for chamber members, $30 for non-members. For more information and for tickets, call the chamber office at (413) 426-3880 or e-mail [email protected]

Daily News

PITTSFIELD — When it opens on Monday, June 1, the 45-room Hotel on North will add nearly 3,000 square feet of meeting and banquet space for corporate and executive groups to Pittsfield.

Located in a pair of buildings that date from the 1880s and are listed on the National Register of Historic places, Hotel on North exudes character with distinctive design elements formed by the architectural bones of the buildings, such as tin ceilings, exposed brick walls, and wood columns. With an eclectic mix of furnishing and decor, much from the workshops of local artisans and craftspeople, as well as catering from the restaurant and bar Eat and Drink on North, the hotel offers groups a rich blend of Berkshire roots and contemporary style to foster innovation and productivity. The property is outfitted with state-of-the-art technology so meeting attendees can stay connected.

“Hotel on North has an authentic, vibrant spirit with creative touches throughout the property,” said Lindsey Struck, general manager. “Unlike anything else in Pittsfield, the property offers groups an out-of-the-box solution to motivate meeting attendees in fresh new ways that incorporate the surrounding Berkshires.”

For more information or to book, contact (413) 358-4741. Additional details about the property can be found at www.hotelonnorth.com, www.facebook.com/hotelonnorth, or www.instagram.com/hotelonnorth.

Chamber Corners Departments

AFFILIATED CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE OF GREATER SPRINGFIELD
www.myonlinechamber.com
(413) 787-1555
 
• May 26: ACCGS Pastries, Politics & Policy, 8-9 a.m., hosted by TD Bank Conference Center, 1441 Main St., Springfield. For political and policy junkies. Cost: $15 for members, $25 general admission, which includes continental breakfast. Reservations may be made online at www.myonlinechamber.com.
• June 3: [email protected], 7:15-9 a.m., hosted by Springfield College, Richard B. Flynn Campus Union, 263 Alden St., Springfield. Sponsored by United Personnel and Wolf & Company, P.C. Celebrate success at the last ACCGS [email protected] of the 2014-15 season. Includes presentation of “A Year in Review” and the Richard J. Moriarty Citizen of the Year Award. Cost: $20 for members ($25 at the door), $30 for general admission.

AMHERST AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
www.amherstarea.com
(413) 253-0700
 
• May 27: After 5, 5:30-7:30 p.m., hosted by Florence Savings Bank, 377 Russell St., Hadley. Sponsored by Florence Savings Bank. Cost: $10 for members, $15 for non-members. Register online at www.amherstarea.com or call the office at (413) 253-0700.
June 18-22: Taste of Amherst, Amherst Town Common. June 18-19, 5-9 p.m.; June 20, noon to 10 p.m.; June 21, noon to 4 p.m. Featuring 22 individual restaurants on the common for a weekend of fun, food tasting, food demos, live music, kids area, zoo, and much more. All food is under $5 per item. No entry fee.
• June 23: After 5, 5-7 p.m., hosted by J.F. Conlon, 29 University Dr., Amherst. Sponsored in part by J.F. Conlon & Associates. Cost: $10 for members, $15 for non-members. Register online at www.amherstarea.com or call the chamber office at (413) 253-0700.
 
GREATER CHICOPEE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
www.chicopeechamber.org
(413) 594-2101
 
• May 20: Business After Hours, 5-7 p.m., hosted by Renaissance Manor on Cabot, 279 Cabot St., Holyoke. Cost: $10 for members, $15 for non-members.
• May 21: Golf Tournament, 10 a.m. shotgun start, hosted by Chicopee Country Club. Cost: $125 per golfer.
• May 27: Salute Breakfast, 7:15-9 a.m., hosted by Elms College. Cost: $23 for members, $28 for non-members.
• June 13: 5K Road Race/2-mile Walk. Cost: $25, $15 for kids 12 and under. Registration includes T-shirt and free lunch provided by the Munich Haus.
• June 17: Breakfast & Health Fair, American Red Cross Blood Drive, hosted by Castle of Knights, 1599 Memorial Dr., Chicopee. Exhibitor space available: $125 per table for members, $175 for non-members.
• June 18: Mornings With the Mayor, 8-9 a.m., hosted by Willimansett Center West, 546 Chicopee St., Chicopee. Free for chamber members.
• June 24: Business After Hours, 5-7 p.m., hosted by Wireless Zone, 601E Memorial Dr., Chicopee. Cost: $10 for members, $15 for non-members. 
 
GREATER EASTHAMPTON CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
www.easthamptonchamber.org
(413) 527-9414

• June 1: Greater Easthampton and Greater Holyoke Chambers of Commerce 2014 Collaborative Networking Event. Register online at www.easthamptonchamber.org or call Denise at (413) 527-9414.
• June 8: Monday Morning with the Mayor, 8-9 a.m., hosted by Easthampton Savings Bank, Financial Services. Enter via Campus Lane entrance, 36 Main St., Easthampton. This is your opportunity to bring your questions to Mayor Karen Cadieux for casual conversation and direct answers. Register online at www.easthamptonchamber.org or call Denise at (413) 527-9414. 
• June 18: Speaker Breakfast, 7:30-9 a.m., hosted by Williston Northampton School, 19 Payson Ave., Easthampton. Join us for breakfast and educational discussion with keynote speaker Tim Brennan, Pioneer Valley Planning Commission executive director, regarding the regional impact and importance of the North South Rail Project. Register online at www.easthamptonchamber.org or call Denise at (413) 527-9414.
 
GREATER HOLYOKE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
www.holycham.com
(413) 534-3376
 
• May 21: Chamber Business Connections, 5-7 p.m., sponsored and hosted by PeoplesBank, the Atrium in the PeoplesBank Building, 330 Whitney Ave., Holyoke. Cost: $10 for members, $15 for non-members. Join your friends and colleagues for this fun and casual evening of networking. Refreshments, door prizes, and 50/50 raffle. 
• June 19: 125th Anniversary Gala Ball, hosted by the Log Cabin, 500 Easthampton Road, Holyoke. Cocktails at 6 p.m., dinner at 7 p.m. Enjoy an elegant meal and dance to the music of the Floyd Patterson Band. Join Marcotte Ford as one of the major event sponsors by calling (413) 34-3376. Event is open to the public, More details to follow.
 
GREATER NORTHAMPTON CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
www.explorenorthampton.com
(413) 584-1900
 
• June 3: June Arrive @ 5, 5-7 p.m., hosted by Mineral Hills Winery, 592 Sylvester Road, Florence. Sponsored by Keiter Builders. Cost: $10 for members. For more information or to register, contact the chamber at (413) 584-1900.
• June 12: 2015 Workshop: “Using Excel Pivot Tables to Analyze Your Business’ Data,” 9-11 a.m., hosted by Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce, 99 Pleasant St., Northampton. Presented by Pioneer Training. Pivot tables are Excel’s most powerful tool for data analysis. A pivot table lets you easily separate data by various criteria into rows and columns in order to extract significant information from large, complex data sets. In this workshop, you’ll learn how to create and customize pivot tables using your own data. Participants are encouraged to bring laptops and follow along with the instructor, but this is not required. Admission: $20 for members, $30 for non-members. Pre-registration is required; space is limited. To register, visit [email protected] 
• June 26: 2015 Workshop: “Microsoft Excel: Tips, Tricks & Shortcuts in Microsoft Excel,” 9-11 a.m., hosted by Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce, 99 Pleasant St., Northampton. Presented by Pioneer Training. This workshop will present our favorite tips, tricks, and shortcuts that we have collected and developed over 15 years of teaching and using Microsoft Excel. Participants are encouraged to bring laptops and follow along with the instructor, but this is not required. Admission: $20 for members, $30 for non-members. Pre-registration is required; space is limited. To register, visit [email protected] 
 
GREATER WESTFIELD CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
www.westfieldbiz.org
(413) 568-1618
 
• June 1: June Mayor’s Coffee Hour, 8-9 a.m., hosted by Westfield Vocational Technical High School, 33 Smith Ave., Westfield. Free and open to the public. Register by calling (413) 568-1618.
• June 10: June After 5 Connection, 5-7 p.m., hosted by Westfield Bank, 462 College Highway, Southwick. Sponsored by Southwick Tae Kwon Do. Cost: $10 for members, $15 cash for non-members. Refreshments will be served. Bring your business cards and make connections. Register online at www.westfieldbiz.org.
• June 16: Eat & Educate: “Employee-sponsored Retirement and Benefit Programs,” 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., hosted by Westfield Bank, 141 Elm St., Westfield. Presented by Shawn Torres, MBA, Westfield Wealth Management and Westfield Bank. Cost: free for chamber members, $30 for non-members. RSVP is required; space is limited. Call Pam at the chamber at (413) 568-1618 to register.  
• June 19: Chamber Breakfast, 7:15 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Hosted by The Ranch Golf Club, 65 Sunnyside Road, Southwick. Platinum sponsor: Mestek. Golf sponsor: Berkshire Bank. Silver sponsor: First Niagara and Prolamina. Cost: $25 for members, $30 for non-members. Golf special: Registered attendees of the breakfast can golf at a discounted rate of only $65 at the Ranch Golf Club following the breakfast. Call Bill Rosenblum, golf pro, to register at (413) 569-9333, ext. 3. For more information on sponsorships, to register, or to donate a raffle prize, call Pam at the chamber at (413) 568-1618.
• June 22: Social Security Workshop: “Make Social Security Work for You,” 4:30-5:30 p.m., hosted by Holiday Inn Express, 39 Southampton Road, Westfield. Sponsored by Renaissance Advisory Services, LLC. Guest speaker: William Sheehan, district manager (retired), Springfield Social Security Office. Before you retire, ask questions: when should I begin Social Security? Do I plan to keep working? Will all my expenses be covered? What will my beneficiaries receive?  Learn about Social Security strategies that may fit into your overall plan. Cost: free for chamber members, $30 for non-members.
 
NORTHAMPTON AREA YOUNG PROFESSIONAL SOCIETY
www.thenayp.com
(413) 584-1900
 
• June 11: Nonprofit Board Fair, 5 p.m., hosted by Union Station, 125A Pleasant St., Northampton. Nonprofits count on volunteers to lead them to success. Join us for the fifth-annual Nonprofit Board Fair, a signature event featuring organizations from throughout the Pioneer Valley whose leadership will be on hand to speak to about opportunities to serve on their boards of directors. In addition, there will be a cash bar, hors d’oeuvres, and raffle prizes. Sponsors and partners: Florence Bank, the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, and WGBY public television. Register online at www.thenayp.com.
 
PROFESSIONAL WOMEN’S CHAMBER
www.professionalwomenschamber.com
(413) 755-1310
 
• May 19: Professional Women’s Chamber Woman of the Year, 5:30 p.m., hosted by Carriage House, Storrowton Tavern, 1305 Memorial Ave., West Springfield. Sponsored by BusinessWest. Honoring Anne Paradis, CEO, Microtek Inc. Cost: $55. Reservations may be made online at www.myonlinechamber.com.
 
WEST OF THE RIVER CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
www.ourwrc.com
413-426-3880
 
• May 20: Networking Lunch, noon to 1:30 p.m., hosted By Lower Pioneer Valley Educational Collaborative – BISTRO, 174 Brush Hill Ave., West Springfield. Enjoy a sit-down lunch served while networking with fellow chamber members. Each attendee will get a chance to offer a brief sales pitch. Cost: $10 at the door, which includes served lunch. Must be a member or guest of a member to attend. For more information, call the chamber office at (413) 426-3880 or e-mail [email protected]
• June 3: Wicked Wednesday, 5:30-7:30 p.m., hosted By Lattitude, 1338 Memorial Ave., West Springfield. Cost: free for chamber members, $10 at the door for non-members. Event is open to the public. Wicked Wednesdays are monthly social events, hosted by various businesses and restaurants, that bring members and non-members together to network in a laid-back atmosphere. For more information, call the chamber office at (413) 426-3880 or e-mail [email protected]
• June 18: Annual Breakfast Meeting, 7-9 a.m., hosted By Chez Josef, Agawam. Sponsored by OMG, Ormsby Insurance, and Development Associates. Event will kick off with the welcoming of new chairman Chuck Kelly and the incoming WRC board of directors. Cost: $25 for chamber members, $30 for non-members. For more information and for tickets, call the chamber office at (413) 426-3880 or e-mail [email protected]

Construction Sections
Recreation of Monticello Was A Project for the Ages

S. Prestley Blake takes a photo of the replica of Monticello he had built in Somers.

S. Prestley Blake takes a photo of the replica of Monticello he had built in Somers.

Bill Laplante remembers the phone call like it was yesterday.

That’s because it seemingly came out of nowhere, and also because it marked the unofficial start of easily the most intriguing — and also one of the more challenging — endeavors in his long career as a home builder, and what he would repeatedly call “the opportunity of a lifetime.”

On the other end of the line was S. Prestley Blake, the then-98-year-old co-founder of Friendly Ice Cream and admirer of both Jefferson and the Laplante company’s work — it built the home his daughter and son in law now reside in, and also the new residence for the president of Springfield College (erected a dozen years ago), for which Blake developed a deep appreciation regarding both its design and workmanship.

“He said ‘Bill … I’m thinking about building a replica of Monticello in Somers,’” said Laplante, president of the East Longmeadow-based firm launched by his father, Ray. “He said he wanted me to come over and assess the property, take a look at things, review the site plans … that’s how it all started.”

It all ended just a few months ago, with a black-tie party that was combination early 100th birthday bash and open house attended by more than 250 people at what would have to be called ‘Blake’s Monticello,’ although it’s highly unlikely that he’ll ever spend a night in it.

This Monticello, slightly smaller than the original, Thomas Jefferson’s home in Charlottesville, Va., is what Blake, reached by BusinessWest in Florida, called, alternately, a “gift to the community,” his “swan song,” and “something I’m doing for posterity, not profit.”

Indeed, he expects to certainly lose money on the home currently on the market with a sticker price of $6.5 million, roughly $1 million less than what it cost to buy the land, raze what was on it, and build the landmark. There have been a few inquiries, and those interested will have to eventually impress Blake, who has the final say on this sale and insists he’ll only sell to someone who has both the requisite financial wherewithal and the same commitment to the community that he does.

As for Laplante, his crews, and lead design consultant Jennifer Champigny (not to mention Prestley Blake and his wife Helen) the endeavor quickly became a labor of love, a project no one really wanted to see end, although everyone involved was firmly committed to getting things done before Blake became a centenarian last November. Overall, the huge undertaking was completed in an impressive 14 months, more than three decades less than it took Jefferson to complete the original.

“The whole project, from start to finish, was a lot of fun … everyone who worked on it, from day one, thoroughly enjoyed it,” said Laplante. “It truly was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

The building process, began in the spring of 2013, soon after Blake closed on the nine acres of land off Hall Hill Road, just a few hundred yards from the Massachusetts border, and the structures built on it (owned then by the estate of the late Big Y co-founder Gerry D’Amour and his wife Jeanne). It was preceded by a visit to the original Monticello by Laplante and his father.

They took hundreds of photographs, made volumes of notes, and purchased the book Monticello in Measured Drawings, which soon became invaluable.

Bill Laplante

Bill Laplante, standing in the foyer at the
Somers Monticello, called the project the “opportunity
of a lifetime.”

Using these resources, the Laplante company built an almost exact replica of the exterior of Jefferson’s home, and an ultra-modern, luxurious — and ‘green’ —interior. Both elements can certainly turn heads.

“I think this is the most prominent private house in the country,” Blake told BusinessWest in reference to his creation, noting that this assessment is based on aesthetics and the model that inspired it, not sheer size or features. “The White House is the most prominent house in the country, but that’s owned by the government. This is a private house I built on my own.”

For this issue and its focus on contruction, BusinessWest takes an in-depth look at why Blake’s Monticello came to be built and how. In the course of doing so, it became clear why those who view the house use the same word to describe it as those called upon to recount the building process: memorable

Landmark Decisions

They eventually dubbed it ‘Monticello Highway.’

That was the name given to the path that Blake had carved between the site of the Somers Monticello and his own home, just a few hundred yards away (the properties abut).

Blake would take that path on his small, four-wheel-drive motorized vehicle called a ‘Gator,’ said Laplante, adding that he was at the construction site by 7:30 a.m. almost every day he was in this region to observe, take photos, and offer both suggestions and commentary — mostly the latter, because he gave great latitude to the builders.

What the Blakes saw emerge on the gently rolling parcel is one of the few replicas of Monticello in this country — there’s a bank modeled after it in Monticello, Ind., and a chiropractor’s office in Paducah, Ky., for example — and certainly the most extensive and expensive.

The Monticello in Somers has a number of things the one in Charlottesville doesn’t, including:

• A three-car garage;
• A tiled patio atop the three-car garage, which was a very popular gathering spot during the party in October;
• An elevator;
• Laundry rooms on the first and second floors;
• A wine chiller;
• Wolf and Sub-Zero appliances;
• A pantry with floor-to-ceiling cabinets, a so-called library ladder to reach those heights, and leathered granite counter tops;
• Five full baths complete with walk-in showers, towel warmers, and other amenities;
• Coffee stations in most of the rooms and a second-floor kitchenette; and
• Geothermal heating and cooling.

It does, however, have many of the same exterior features, including the white columns, roof ballustrades, and signature dome at the front of the structure (or the back at the original Monticello; the back entrance was the main entrance in Jefferson’s time), and some interior elements as well, including a tea room, a lavish foyer (although the one in Somers has a double staircase), ornate hard-wood floors, and so-called great room.

DownHallRooms

At top, the dining room in the Somers Monticello, and above, the bathroom off the master bedroom.

At top, the dining room in the Somers Monticello, and above, the bathroom off the master bedroom.

Retelling the story of how it all came about, Laplante said Blake was never particularly fond of the large estate built by the D’Amours, and has always been enamored with Monticello, architecturally and otherwise, and conceived a project to replace one with the other and, in the process, build something memorable and lasting.

As Blake was finalizing his purchase of the site, he was also engaging Laplante on the undertaking to come.

The trip to Charlottesville was educational and therefore quite helpful, said Laplante, adding that this was his first visit to the landmark.

“We met with the people giving the tours of Monticello, we toured the entire facility, and took a number of photographs, including many detailed photographs,” he explained. “We were focusing on the exterior of the building, because the original plan called for building a replica of Monticello, especially with regard to the exterior façade, but make it into a modernized single-family home on the inside — something that someone would be interested in purchasing and living in.”

Monticello in Measured Drawings became a valuable resource, he went on, adding that it was assembled by an architectural group that recreated scaled drawings of the original.

“It was very difficult, because there were areas that were 1:32 scale, because of the size of the house and obviously the size of the book,” Laplante explained. “We were dealing with very, very small scale, but it was very helpful having that, as well as the photos we took of the original and the tours we took.”

Glory Details

Beyond the basic mission of reproducing the original Monticello’s exterior, the Blakes’ only real instructions to the builders were simple, said Laplante, adding that he was told not to spare any expense, to build a replica as exacting as possible, and, inside “to make every room spectacular.”

And by all accounts, he and his crews followed those instructions to the letter.

Attention to detail can be seen in many aspects of the recreation work, including the brick used. Bricks in the original were hand-made made on-site in Virginia, said Laplante, adding that those used in Somers were also hand-made and cast to look like what was used in the early 19th century.

The decision was made early on to place the dome at the front of the house, the side facing Hall Hill Road, said Laplante, adding that the ‘front’ façade of the replica is, by his estimation, 98% accurate to scale.

One of the main differences between the two Monticellos is that the one in Virginia has an open porch, complete with arched-brick openings, on the left side, while the one in Somers has an enclosed hearth room, located just off the kitchen, in that location.

Also, Jefferson’s Monticello had a room inside the dome, while the one in Somers does not, and the second-floor windows in the replica are larger than those in the original to meet modern building codes.

“Working around the windows was perhaps the biggest challenge in designing this, because we were designing an interior around an exterior that was built 200 years ago,” he said, adding that both the original and replica (at least from the ‘front’ view) are two-story homes that don’t look like two-story homes.

The kitchen in the Somers Monticello is certainly different than the one in Thomas Jefferson’s original in Charlottesville, Va.

The kitchen in the Somers Monticello is certainly different than the one in Thomas Jefferson’s original in Charlottesville, Va.

And while creating a modern interior within a two-century-old shell came complete with many challenges, that assignment gave the builders and designer plenty of opportunities to stretch their collective imaginations.

“From the beginning, the Blakes said, ‘we want every room we walk into to be spectacular,’” said Laplante. “But they didn’t micro-manage the design and the details; they let us come up with what we thought should be done.”

Some of the details were taken from the original, he went on, citing such things as floor patterns (although slightly different wood species were used), but the interior obviously bears little resemblance to the one in Charlottesville.

The kitchen in Jefferson’s Monticello was a simple facility in the basement. The kitchen in Somers is massive, with the most modern appliances and quartz countertops. The Monticello in Virginia had five outdoor privvys; the one in Somers has nine baths, many of then featuring Carrara marble.

The biggest difference between the two landmarks, however, is the ‘green’ nature of the replica. Jefferson heated with wood. The Somers home features geothermal heating and cooling equipment (which Laplante said is becoming increasingly popular due to attractive tax credits). It also has LED lighting, energy-efficient windows and doors, and icynene spray foam insulation. Meanwhile, raw materials from the site, including oak and cedar trees and red stone harvested from the parcel were used in the construction.

Overall, the buildings are worlds apart in terms of building materials and processes and creature comforts, but they look remarkably similar in large, framed photographs hanging side by side in the wood-paneled garage.

History in the Remaking

In addition to the party in October, the Blakes had a small gathering in the Somers landmark just before the holidays.

For the event, dubbed ‘Christmas at Monticello,’ the Blakes actually borrowed a few pieces of furniture and had some tables placed in the great room, said Laplante, who was among those invited.

The scene was a little strange, he recalled, but understandable because while the Blakes built the home, technically, it’s not theirs.

Soon, if the right buyer and right price come together, it will belong to someone. But it many respects, it will always belong to the community, said Blake, adding that, like the original, it was built to last and built to inspire.

And it is already doing just that.

George O’Brien can be reached at [email protected]

Construction Sections
Northern Construction Builds Bridges to Success

Shawn Clark

Shawn Clark, project manager and operations coordinator at Northern Construction Service

Pressure is replacing two well-traveled highway bridges in one weekend — or losing $1 million for missing the deadline.

But that’s exactly what Northern Construction Service, based in Palmer, is taking on this summer in Southington, Conn., when it lifts the existing bridges off their supports this July and replaces them with new bridges it has been fabricating at the scene for the better part of a year — all within a 56-hour weekend window aimed at minimizing impact on commuters.

“We’ve had this job since last June, and after almost a year of prep, we’re only going to disrupt the public for a weekend,” said Shawn Clark, Northern’s project manager and operations coordinator. “And if it’s not done by Monday, there’s a million-dollar penalty.”

The bridges, which carry eastbound and westbound traffic on Interstate 84 over Marion Avenue in Southington, are 51 years old and in need of replacement, Clark said. Northern won the contract for the $6 million project last spring, and excavation, tree-clearing, and utility work began in November.

The technique being utilized is new to the Conn. Department of Transportation. The new spans are being fabricated on site in staging areas adjacent to the bridges. Interstate 84 and Marion Avenue traffic will remain open during the entire fabrication period, with occasional, temporary lane closures for other work associated with the project.

On the big weekend in July, the pre-fabricated structures will be moved from the staging areas using massive machines called self-propelled modular transporters. The existing bridges will be removed, and the new spans set into place on the existing abutments, which are in good condition.

Easthampton’s Manhan Bridge

Northern replaced Easthampton’s Manhan Bridge five weeks ahead of schedule.

In addition to the $1 million penalty if the project extends into Monday’s morning commute, ConnDOT has included a $250,000 incentive if the new bridges are open before 10 a.m. Sunday. Don’t put it past Northern to make that goal.

“We like to push,” Clark told BusinessWest. “Our company is not afraid to work overtime, generally at our own expense.”

Take the Davitt Memorial Bridge in Chicopee. Northern replaced that span, which connects Route 116 with Springfield Street — an $8.2 million project — 14 months ahead of schedule. The bridge was closed for just over a year and reopened last July.

“In Chicopee, the DOT offered incentives to work through the winter, to work overtime to meet the deadline,” he said, noting that overtime is already common at Northern during good weather.

“It took us seven or eight months to get going on the Davitt Bridge, and we still finished more than a year early,” Clark said, telling a similar story about the $3.7 million project to replace Easthampton’s Manhan Bridge, which closed last June and reopened in October, five weeks ahead of schedule.

“We had that job for probably eight or nine months before we closed the road, making sure everything was in order, utilities relocated,” he noted. “Then we worked overtime, Saturdays, Sundays — and, again, it went well.”

Clearly, Northern Construction specializes in bridges — as well as road and highway construction; concrete construction, including dams, seawalls, and foundations; excavating and grading; water, sewer, and drainage systems; building construction and relocation; and a host of other projects.

The company — owned by John Rahkonen and John Divito, who work out of offices in Palmer and Weymouth, respectively — has grown significantly in its 19 years of existence, employing up to 150 personnel at peak times and boasting about $45 million in projects annually.

“We’ve been growing or at least maintaining, luckily,” Clark said. “The recession was tough on us, but we’ve had work.”

Getting Around

Chicopee-(2)

Success stories like the Davitt Memorial Bridge in Chicopee — which was closed just over a year and reopened more than a year ahead of schedule — are due to the exhaustive work Northern does long before a bridge closes to traffic.

Success stories like the Davitt Memorial Bridge in Chicopee — which was closed just over a year and reopened more than a year ahead of schedule — are due to the exhaustive work Northern does long before a bridge closes to traffic.

As he noted, that work begins long before a road or bridge closes. “From the time you’re the low bidder, you have to sign contracts, which takes a couple of months,” Clark said. That’s followed by research, dealing with utilities, and a host of other administrative tasks before work can even begin.

Northern works for public and private entities in the six New England states and New York, and that diversity is key to its continued success, he added. “Private work has been slow, with the recession, so public work is all we have right now. But Massachusetts is having budget problems, and work has been sporadic. So, last year, we did five jobs in Connecticut; before that, we’d had only one in the company’s history.”

Bridge work is a big issue across New England, with thousands of aging spans in need of repair or replacement. In Massachusetts, the Accelerated Bridge Program, a $3 billion commitment to repair or replace 259 bridges, was launched in 2008.

“There’s plenty of disrepair. That’s why we have the Accelerated Bridge Program,” Clark said. “This is one of the worst states in terms of infrastructure, and you have to do something.”

He added that the state has moved toward more rapid bridge replacements, pre-fabricated structures, and financial incentives for contractors, all aimed at reducing inconvenience to the public.

“It’s a tough field. Bridges are demanding, and you need skilled personnel to do the work,” he noted, adding that companies need significant administrative expertise as well. “Compared to 30 or 40 years ago, there are more rules, regulations, liability — every ‘i’ has to be dotted. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing; it definitely discourages competition to a certain degree. But it also makes it more challenging.”

To perform such work on accelerated schedules, Clark noted, requires a high level of teamwork with each state’s DOT. “We get in people’s good graces by getting it done quickly. Not only does that require the cooperation of everyone involved, the DOT has to be on board with it. We can’t do it without them, and they can’t do it without us; it’s a team effort.”

Northern recently won a 2013 Design Award from the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute for Best Rehabilitated Bridge, a $9.4 million project in Smithfield, R.I. that the company completed — of course — six weeks early.

The Stillwater Viaduct over the Woonasquatucket River is a landmark of sorts, eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, both for its association with a massive bridge-building campaign in the 1920s and 1930s and for serving as an example of an open spandrel arch bridge.

When it was rehabilitated in 2012, designers had to be careful to maintain the original design aesthetics. The use of pre-cast concrete not only allowed workers to replicate the original features of the bridge with modern performance, but it was critical to completing the project within a seven-month window. The existing arch rings and pier columns were also restored during construction.

“Maintaining the look of the old bridge was very important to the owner,” said Bharat Patel of Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, engineer of record for the project. “We were able to stay way ahead of schedule without compromising quality, and everyone in the community was pleased with the results.”

And, of course, much of that success came from the work completed long before the bridge closed. “We took six months before we closed that road,” Clark said, noting, however, that accelerated schedules aren’t always possible, especially when a bridge remains open during the entire project. “Some projects have to be done in phases. You do part of the bridge, part of the bridge, part of the bridge, to keep traffic flowing.”

From the Ground Up

Northern Construction keeps people moving in quite a different way when it comes to its long-standing relationship with Six Flags New England.

No, it doesn’t actually build new rides, but it has handled concrete, earth, site, and utility work for a number of new attractions, including this year’s major addition, the Sky Screamer, a swing ride that will tower 400 feet above the park — twice as high as the current tallest ride.

Meanwhile, Northern is versatile enough to have been called upon for emergency road work along the Mohawk Trail in 2011 after Hurricane Irene washed out stretches of the roadway. Following the immediate repair, it won bids for a $6.7 million repair of Route 2 in Florida and a $3.3 million job in North Adams.

“As soon as it hit, we were summoned to go up there,” Clark said. “We have the resources and organization to do it. We know what equipment is needed, and what work can be done without sacrificing other projects.”

It also takes a company that knows how to juggle the bureaucratic demands of both the state and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was involved in funding the road repairs. “That’s when you get into submitting invoices; every load of gravel has to be documented,” he explained, adding that the end result was a 700-page document. “You’ve got to coordinate it, do the paperwork, and administer it to get paid in an effortless manner. This was a big event.”

After all, who doesn’t want to be paid?

“Our owners have always insisted that our workers get paid every week for what they do,” Clark said. “And as a contractor, we need to get paid to be able to do that — to recover our money, keep the cash flowing, make sure everyone is getting paid. It allows us to take care of our personnel.

“You hear stories of contractors who don’t pay their wages,” he continued. “There are plenty of great contractors out there, but also companies that have issues. Our employees are our most valuable resource, and we want them to get paid.”

It’s all about strong relationships — between project owners and contractors and employees. After all, Northern Construction knows how to build bridges.


Joseph Bednar can be reached at [email protected]

Columns Sections
Here’s a Helpful Estate-planning Year-end Checklist

Lisa L. Halbert

Lisa L. Halbert

As the end of the year approaches, this is a good time to take stock and review where you have been and where you want to head. Financial planners encourage annual reviews, employers start to consider year-end evaluations, and life coaches ask clients to reflect on steps taken and plans for professional growth. And estate planners encourage clients to periodically review elder and estate plans in order to confirm (or re-confirm) that all is in place.
Estate planning is not a static project to be finalized and then put on a shelf, never to be reviewed again. In truth, it is a never-ending process, one which requires periodic review in order to remain pertinent. At least every five years and upon major life events, pull out the documents and make sure they continue to be relevant. Further, periodic statutory changes dictate that your intentions will be best attained if documents are reviewed.
Among the action steps or paperwork to consider are the following:

List Your Assets
At the core of any good estate plan is a list of all of your assets, with estimated values. Generally this will include bank accounts, securities, real estate, retirement funds, insurances (life or disability), annuities, business valuations, and tangible personal property, just to name a few. Identify whether each asset is owned in your name alone (and with or without a beneficiary designation) or jointly with another, and whether it carries a beneficiary designation or is held in trust. This information informs an estate-planning attorney as a beginning point. After your estate plan is fully developed, do not be surprised if assets are re-titled or change columns.

Last Will and Testament
A last will and testament controls assets that are held in your name alone and without a designated beneficiary at your time of death. These are the only assets that go through the probate process. Your will provides a road map as to who you would like to receive your probate assets. It can also provide for forgiveness of debt or allow someone temporary use of an asset (such as living in a home until a certain age, or a certain event occurs).
Generally, a will allows you to control and determine who inherits your estate at your death. (Exceptions to this statement are that a surviving spouse and minor children have certain statutory rights that take priority over the terms of the will, even if you intended to disinherit the spouse and/or child.)
Under the Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code (MUPC), which went into effect March 31, 2012, the probate process has now been expedited and no longer requires as much court intervention or oversight, although court supervision is available where appropriate.
If you pass away without a will (referred to as dying ‘intestate’), state law dictates how your assets get distributed. Historically, if you die intestate, survived by a spouse and children, your assets are allocated among them. Under the MUPC, if you die intestate and are survived by your spouse and children of both you and your spouse (whether biological or adopted), then your spouse will receive your entire net estate, without any portion specifically allocated to the children of both you and your spouse.
The MUPC also changes the title of the person appointed to oversee the administration of an estate to a personal representative (PR). Further, the MUPC provides a list of individuals who have priority to serve as your PR. At the top of the list is your spouse, and then a child (over the age of 18), etc. However, if you die intestate and the spouse does not want to serve as the PR, the MUPC allows the spouse to designate someone else to act as the PR, even if an adult child wants to serve. And while the statute is a bit more complex, the point is that you should consider whether it is more thoughtful and prudent to effectuate your intentions by dying with or without a will.
If you want to know that all of those you love will receive certain assets, then have a will or other estate-planning document prepared. Particularly for those who might not have a spouse, but do have good friends or charitable inclinations, a will is likely a solid start to accomplish those same distributions.
A will might also have some significance prior to your death. During your lifetime, if you become incapacitated and another is put in charge of your assets and financial management, there may be occasions where gifts are appropriate and the fiduciary could look to your will in order to figure out who or what entities are most dear to you. The will, therefore, may offer some direction even during your lifetime.

Trust-based Planning
Depending upon your assets, intended beneficiaries, and other information, a trust might be a better option to accomplish your preferred distributions than a will. A trust is a document with three major players: the person who creates it (you, also known as the grantor), the trustee (who could be you and/or others and is the one who actually administers or manages the assets), and the beneficiaries (who could be you and/or others who receive a benefit under the trust). It provides an instruction manual or road map as to how you want your assets (and debt) managed and invested, as well as distributed. It is especially useful if there are minor beneficiaries and you want to know that instructions are followed long-term, or where another needs some long-term financial assistance or management (such as a special or supplementary-needs trust).

Beneficiary Designations
Confirm that beneficiary designations on your various accounts remain current and in line with your overall estate plan. Types of assets that frequently carry opportunities for beneficiary designations include insurance, annuity, retirement accounts, and/or some brokerage accounts (accounts that hold securities and other investments). Beneficiary designations (other than to your estate) completely avoid the asset going through probate, and there may be some income-tax advantages to naming a beneficiary directly, rather than your estate or trust.
Keep in mind that the individuals or entities named on the beneficiary designation are the recipients to whom the assets will be paid. If your estate plan is premised on having assets go through your probate estate, and therefore directed to be distributed through your will, but the beneficiary designation is not changed to be consistent with that approach, your plan will be defeated.
An estate plan, once completed, may use a blend of assets that are directed to specific beneficiaries via designation, as well as assets that go through probate or a trust. Retirement assets may have a better income-tax benefit if directed to specific individuals or charities (especially if you are looking to save an income-tax bite to the estate), while life insurances might be more appropriate to go through probate. Each client situation is different.
If you are divorced and intend for your ex-spouse to receive assets via a beneficiary designation that has not been changed since the divorce, revisit the designation. Under the MUPC, divorce effectively revokes certain beneficiary designations to a prior spouse. You may need to take affirmative steps to insure that the designation will be upheld by renewing it post-divorce.

Same-sex Spouses
On June 26, 2013 the Supreme Court of the United States issued a decision that addressed the legality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The court determined that, although each state may regulate marriage for its citizens, once married, all spouses are to be treated equally under federal law. For planning purposes, this impacts not only your federal income taxes, but Social Security benefits, FMLA, and health-insurance coverage.
Retirement benefits from a qualified retirement plan will be required to allow the surviving spouse of a married couple, whether same-sex or heterosexual, to withdraw the funds over the surviving spouse’s lifetime. IRAs that allow a spouse to roll over inherited assets into his or her own IRA are now allowed. There are more than 1,000 federal benefits that may be impacted by this ruling. Check beneficiary designations as well as federal tax withholding (IRS Form W-4).
Same-sex married residents no longer need to file separate federal tax returns for each spouse. Married filing jointly or married filing separately is the same for all married couples. In fact, you might want to consider amending your returns for 2011 and 2012. While an amended return is not guaranteed to benefit you, if you do not look into it, you will never know.
For estate planners, another significant change is that same-sex couples now are able to take advantage of the unlimited marital exemption to transfer assets between spouses during life, as well as at death. For high-wealth couples, portability of the estate-tax exemption at the death of the first spouse to a surviving spouse is now allowed. With an estate-tax exemption currently at $5.25 million per spouse, this allows a same-sex married couple to have a combined $10.5 million estate-tax exemption. While you might not think it impacts you, if the surviving spouse wins a large lottery ticket or comes into money for any other reason, even after the first spouse’s death, having elected portability may result in a significant estate-tax savings.

Healthcare Proxy (HCP)
Review your HCP to confirm that it identifies current designations of those whom you want making healthcare decisions for you if and when you can no longer make or communicate them on your own. It can only benefit you to list appointees to serve in consecutive order. Ask your attorney whether additional provisions to your document would be prudent.
For example, do you have a religious belief that needs to be articulated? Would you allow certain drugs to be administered that might otherwise require court approval? Do you want your healthcare agent to choose a nursing home for you if it becomes necessary? Once signed, provide your HCP to your healthcare providers and other physicians and hospitals. Some peoplekeep a copy on the refrigerator, in the car, or with other important papers. And, of course, provide a copy of your HCP to those you have appointed as decision makers.
Even though you may have already signed a HCP at your attorney’s office, did you more recently have a medical procedure where you signed a “new” HCP in the physician’s office or hospital? Understand that by signing the new form you revoked the prior one. Though it might not have been your intention, reconvene with your attorney to discuss whether to re-sign the old document. It was likely more comprehensive and the product of greater deliberation.
Without an HCP, if healthcare decisions need to be made for you, a court will appoint a guardian to make sure they are made. Your spouse does not automatically have that right. The benefit of an HCP is that you get to choose those individuals who you trust to make decisions for you, as opposed to having a court choose.

Do-not-resuscitate Order
The DNR is not prepared by your attorney. It is available to be signed in your physician’s office, and it states that, if your heart stops, you do not want extraordinary measures taken to restart it. A DNR is not interpreted to mean that you want to be taken off of medical machinery (and be allowed to die) if you are being kept alive only by such mechanical devices.

Durable Power of Attorney
The DPA allows you to appoint people to assist with financial management of assets in your name (and not in trust) while you are alive. It terminates at the moment of death. A DPA can be very broad or narrow in the actions which the appointee (the attorney-in-fact) is authorized to take. The benefit of a DPA is that you, not a court, choose who can have access to your financial information. A DPA can allow the attorney-in-fact to have access to your assets even though you are fully capable of thinking and acting for yourself (for example, while away on vacation), or it can be written to allow access only if and when you start to fail mentally.
A DPA does not change the underlying ownership of the asset. It merely allows another to act as your fiduciary, step into your shoes, and make decisions as your agent. If an asset is owned by you and you alone, then at your death, the authority of the attorney-in-fact terminates, and the asset then goes through your will, unless there is a beneficiary designation attached to it.
Provide the DPA to your appointee(s), or advise the appointee of your attorney’s name so that the document can be located if needed. Remember, if no one knows about it, or you fall ill and cannot communicate where the document is located, court action might still result.

Passwords
While not directly related to estate planning, a more controversial issue arises regarding passwords. While any IT person will advise against making a comprehensive list of your accounts and associated passwords, those same individuals might not regularly work with a segment of the population that may become ill or lose their memory.
There is no perfect solution in this electronic world. Perhaps you prefer to prepare the list of passwords and save it on paper, publish it to your attorney-in-fact under a DPA, or provide a copy to your legal counsel.
Others recommend putting the passwords into a paper file and filing it at the back of your filing cabinet, backwards. The list should be comprehensive and cover whatever assets you access (such as an ATM card) and electronic accounts, whether for bank, brokerage, credit card, loan, and even health-related information. It also helps to print out the most recent security questions and answers, too.

Important Papers
Organize a filing system for important papers. If an alphabetical system is not your style, consider putting all important papers in one place. Documents to be retained include Social Security card, copy of birth certificate, and legal documents (will, trust, HCP, DPA, marriage license or divorce decree, and funeral-related paperwork). Include on this list your children or next of kin and their addresses. If you should die, and a non-family member is involved, it makes locating family much easier.

Health Insurance and the Affordable Care Act (ACA)
This checklist would be incomplete if you are not reminded about open enrollment for many health-insurance plans in general, and the ACA in particular (open enrollment has been extended through March 2014). Even if you currently have health insurance, there may be financial advantages to reviewing the costs associated with the ACA. This is particularly true for blended families, those where an ex-spouse continues to be covered, or where you are straddling being on Medicare yourself, but have children to cover.

Conclusion
This checklist provides a starting point. For more information, contact an estate-planning professional for a comprehensive review of your plans. n

Lisa L. Halbert, Esq. is an associate in the Northampton office of Bacon & Wilson, P.C. A member of the estate planning, elder, and real estate departments, she is especially focused on legal matters relating to elder and estate planning, and asset protection; (413) 584-1287; baconwilson.com/attorneys/halbert

Agenda Departments

HP Vendor Showcase

Feb. 5: Entre Computer and vendor partner Hewlett Packard (HP) will exhibit the latest technologies and products for 2013 from 4 to 9 p.m. at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield. The event, hosted by Hewlett Packard and strategic partners, will introduce new information from Entre, Intel, and Microsoft, who will all be present to discuss the latest innovations from their companies, including the new HP Business Tablet featuring Windows 8 and Intel technology, HP point-of-sale products, and digital signage. The event will highlight HP’s innovation in personal computers and printing. Some of the educational topics covered will include mobile computing, Microsoft Windows 8, and a host of leading-edge solutions, followed by dinner and a partner technology exposition. Entre Computer invites all qualifying customers, businesses, healthcare providers, manufacturers, banks, and retailers to the exhibit, and all are welcome to a complimentary, self-guided tour of the Hall of Fame at the conclusion of the program. Attendance and seating are limited, and pre-registration is required by visiting hpbroadband.com. For additional information, contact Entre Computer at (413) 736-2112 or e-mail [email protected]

 

Essence Editor to Speak

Feb. 5: Susan Taylor of Essence magazine will speak at Springfield Technical Community College at 11 a.m. in the Scibelli Hall gym as part of the STCC Diversity Council Event Series. The presentation, which coincides with Black History Month, is free and open to the public. Taylor’s name is synonymous with Essence magazine, the brand she built as the magazine’s fashion and beauty editor, editor in chief, and editorial director. For nearly three decades, Taylor has been the driving force behind one of the most celebrated black-owned businesses of our time and a legend in the magazine-publishing world. For 27 years, Taylor authored one of the magazine’s most popular columns, “In the Spirit.” She is the only African-American woman to be recognized by the Magazine Publishers of America with the Henry Johnson Fisher Award, the industry’s highest honor, and the first to be inducted into the American Society of Magazine Editors Hall of Fame. Taylor also is the recipient of the NAACP President’s Award for visionary leadership and has honorary degrees from more than a dozen colleges and universities.
A fourth-generation entrepreneur and the author of four books, she supports a host of organizations dedicated to moving the black community forward, but her passion and focus today is with the National Cares Mentoring Movement, a call to action which she founded in 2006 as Essence Cares. The National Cares Mentoring Movement (www.caresmentoring.org) is a massive campaign to recruit 1 million able adults to help secure children who are in peril and losing ground. Taylor’s presentation is sponsored by PeoplesBank, Hampden Bank, the STCC Diversity Council, the Springfield Department of Health and Human Services, Baystate Health, Health New England, MassMutual, and the United Way of Pioneer Valley.

 

Business-law Basics

Feb. 5, March 12, April 16: Get the business-law basics that every small-business owner and entrepreneur needs to know from the legal experts at the Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship at Western New England University. This series of free information sessions is focused on key topics to help plan and grow a small business. All sessions will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. at Western New England University School of Law, in the Blake Law Center. All events are free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be provided. The topics and presenters are: Feb. 5, “Legal Issues in Finance,” with attorneys Scott Foster of Bulkley Richardson and Michael Sweet of Doherty, Wallace, Pillsbury and Murphy; March 12, “Intellectual Property Law Basics,” with attorneys Peter Irvine of Peter Irvine Law Offices, Leah Kunkel of the Law Offices of Leah Kunkel, and Michelle Bugbee of Solutia Inc.; April 16: “Bankruptcy,” with attorneys George Roumeliotis of Roumeliotis  Law Group, Justin Dion of Bacon Wilson, and Kara Rescia of Eaton & Rescia. To learn more about upcoming events hosted by the Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, visit www.wne.edu/cie.

 

40 Under Forty Reunion

Feb. 7: BusinessWest will stage a reunion featuring the first six classes of its 40 Under Forty program at the Log Cabin Banquet & Meeting House in Holyoke. The event, open only to 40 Under Forty winners, event judges, and sponsors, will begin at 5:30 p.m. and feature a talk from Peter Straley, president of Health New England, about leadership and community involvement. For more information on the event, call (413) 781-8600 or e-mail [email protected]

 

 

Dress Down for Animals

Feb. 15: Employers, are you looking for a fun way to engage your staff while helping local shelter animals? By participating in Dress Down for Animals Day, your business can help provide life-saving care to dogs, cats, and other small animals at the Thomas J. O’Connor Animal Control and Adoption Center in Springfield. Through this program, employees will make a minimum donation of $5, $10, or whatever level the employer sets for the privilege of wearing whatever they wish to work on Feb. 15, with proceeds donated to the shelter. Prizes will be awarded based on donation total and number of employees participating. Businesses can compete for a $590 advertising package from Reminder Publications, a chair yoga session for up to 50 employees, a catered dessert party, a chance to introduce a business to 7,000 people on the Thomas J. O’Connor Facebook page, and more. To request a form to fill out and return with donations, call (413) 533-4817 or e-mail [email protected] For more information about the adoption center, visit www.tjofoundation.org.

 

Difference Makers 2013

March 21: The annual Difference Makers award program, staged by BusinessWest, will be held at the Log Cabin Banquet & Meeting House starting at 5 p.m. Details on the event will be published in upcoming issues of the magazine. Difference Makers is a program, launched in 2009, that recognizes groups and individuals that are, as the name suggests, making a difference in this region. Several dozen nominations for the award were received this year, and the winners have been chosen. They will be announced in the magazine’s Feb. 11 issue. For more information, call (413) 781-8600.

Agenda Departments

Building Your Future

Jan. 8: MassMutual and Western New England University are teaming up to present the MassMutual Building Your Future Conference from 8 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. at WNEU. More than 400 Springfield public- and private-school students in grades 10 through 12 are scheduled to attend.

The free conference is designed to give students the tools and knowledge to construct a blueprint for their education and careers. Workshops will touch on college and career planning, problem solving, and time- and money-management skills. MassMutual Academic Achievers earn an invitation to the conference by maintaining a B average or better for four consecutive marking periods during grades 10 through 12.

“Choosing the right career path is imperative to a successful future, but many of our young people aren’t aware of local career opportunities,” said Nick Fyntrilakis, vice president for Community Responsibility at MassMutual, adding that the conference “exposes students to career opportunities that are available in financial services at MassMutual and beyond. Our programs encourage students to excel academically and gain valuable exposure to rewarding careers.”

This year’s conference will offer students a variety of hands-on activities in various fields, including financial services, business, information technology, broadcast communications, criminal justice, medicine, and the sciences. Workshops will also address the college admissions process, paying for college, making a good first impression, and preparing for life’s curveballs. The keynote speaker will be Terrell Hill, principal at High School Inc., a four-year, college-preparatory school for students in grades 9 through 12 who are interested in pursuing careers in the insurance and financial-services industries. Other highlights of the conference include a video contest and a raffle featuring a laptop computer, flatscreen televisions, iPods, and other prizes. The snow date for the conference is Jan. 11. To register, visit www1.wne.edu/massmutual/byf.

 

Essence Editor to Speak

Feb. 5: Susan Taylor of Essence magazine will speak at Springfield Technical Community College at 11 a.m. in the Scibelli Hall gym as part of the STCC Diversity Council Event Series. The presentation, which coincides with Black History Month, is free and open to the public. Taylor’s name is synonymous with Essence magazine, the brand she built as the magazine’s fashion and beauty editor, editor in chief, and editorial director. For nearly three decades, Taylor has been the driving force behind one of the most celebrated black-owned businesses of our time and a legend in the magazine-publishing world. For 27 years, Taylor authored one of the magazine’s most popular columns, “In the Spirit.” She is the only African-American woman to be recognized by the Magazine Publishers of America with the Henry Johnson Fisher Award, the industry’s highest honor, and the first to be inducted into the American Society of Magazine Editors Hall of Fame. Taylor also is the recipient of the NAACP President’s Award for visionary leadership and has honorary degrees from more than a dozen colleges and universities.
A fourth-generation entrepreneur and the author of four books, she supports a host of organizations dedicated to moving the black community forward, but her passion and focus today is with the National Cares Mentoring Movement, a call to action which she founded in 2006 as Essence Cares. The National Cares Mentoring Movement (www.caresmentoring.org) is a massive campaign to recruit 1 million able adults to help secure children who are in peril and losing ground. Taylor’s presentation is sponsored by PeoplesBank, Hampden Bank, the STCC Diversity Council, the Springfield Department of Health and Human Services, Baystate Health, Health New England, MassMutual, and the United Way of Pioneer Valley.

 

40 Under Forty Reunion

Feb. 7: BusinessWest will stage a reunion featuring the first six classes of its 40 Under Forty program at the Log Cabin Banquet & Meeting House in Holyoke. The event, open only to 40 Under Forty winners, event judges, and sponsors, will begin at 5:30 p.m. and feature a talk from Peter Straley, president of Health New England, about leadership and community involvement. For more information on the event, call (413) 781-8600 or e-mail [email protected]

 

Charlotte’s Web Exhibit

Through April 22: The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst is offering a rare opportunity for guests to see selections from the 20th-century classic Charlotte’s Web, written by E.B. White and illustrated by Garth Williams. “Some Book! Some Art! Selected Drawings by Garth Williams for Charlotte’s Web” will be on exhibit through April 22, and celebrates Williams’s 100th birthday and the 60th anniversary of the book. For more information, visit, www.carle museum.org.

 

Difference Makers 2013

March 21: The annual Difference Makers award program, staged by BusinessWest, will be held at the Log Cabin Banquet & Meeting House, starting at 5 p.m. Details on the event will be published in upcoming issues of the magazine. Difference Makers is a program, launched in 2009, that recognizes groups and individuals that are, as the name suggests, making a difference in this region. Several dozen nominations for the award have been received, and are now being reviewed. The winners will be announced in the magazine’s Feb. 11 issue. For more information, call (413) 781-8600.

Building Permits Departments

The following building permits were issued during the month of May 2012.

AMHERST

Amherst College
Johnson Chapel
$4,000 — Repair and cleanup of water damage

Amherst Colonial Village, LLC
200 South East St.
$13,000 — Roof repairs

Jan Eidelson
138 Sunderland Road
$1,500,000 — Build new structure for Amherst Survival Center

Peter Grandonico
23 North Pleasant St.
$25,000 — Interior renovations for Froyo World

EASTHAMPTON

City of Easthampton
19 Union St.
$1,500 — Repair granite steps at Council on Aging

David Boyle
422 Main St.
$200,000 — Construct 84 self-storage units

David Shelton
39 Union St.
$5,000 — Create new 3,000 square feet of gym space

Frank Basile
16 Industrial Parkway
$8,000 — Repair damaged trolley hoist-support system

Lisa Fusca
93-95 Main St.
$2,000 — Repair rear egress

HOLYOKE

Bayview Financial
345-363 Dwight St.
$200,000 — Emergency exterior repairs

Holyoke Boys Club
70 Nick Cosmos Way
$74,600 — Remove existing roof and install new

Sacred Heart Parish
427 Maple St.
$4,000 — Construct pergola

Verano Apartments, LTD
560-562 South St.
$40,000 — Repair structural columns

LUDLOW

Five Star Cleaners
433 Center St.
$3,500 — Alterations

Kapinos Mazur Funeral Home
64 Sewall St.
$40,000 — Reshingle

KUB Properties
4 Pell St.
$30,000 — Alterations

Oak Tree Inn
782 Center St.
$24,000 — Alterations

Richard Kelleher
44 Sewall St.
$40,000 — Reshingle

NORTHAMPTON

Colvest/Northampton, LLC
327 King St.
$383,500 — Construct new commercial bank with drive-up; foundation only

Easthampton Savings Bank
297 King St.
$34,500 — Relocate ATM

Look Park
300 North Main St.
$12,000 — Move building onto new foundation

Packaging Corp. of America
25 Mount Tom Road
$178,000 — New roof

SOUTHWICK

SBA Communications
686 College Highway
$20,000 — Replace six antennas

SPRINGFIELD

Diamond Affiliates, LLC
125 Paridon St.
$20,000 — Upgrade antennas

Diocese of Springfield
123 William St.
$84,000 — Exterior repairs

Golden Eagle Apartments
129-145 White St.
$17,000 — Renovations

MD Trading Corp.
19 St. James Ave.
$46,000 — Interior renovations

Springfield College
701 Wilbraham Road
$19,000 — Bathroom renovations

Stockbridge Court, LP
45 Willow St.
$10,000 — Rebuild handicap ramp

WESTFIELD

Ann Woodson
67 Elm St.
$7,600 — Interior repairs

University Housing, LLC
27 Washington St.
$2,500,000 — Construction of new student apartments for Westfield State College

WEST SPRINGFIELD

Century Investment
73 State St.
$14,000 — Interior fit-out for a doctor’s office

Eastern States Exposition
1305 Memorial Dr.
$6,000 — Exterior repairs

Matthew Griswold
1838 Riverdale St.
$20,000 — Renovations to existing building

Robin Taylor
255 Interstate Dr.
$12,000 — Reroof

Building Permits Departments
The following building permits were issued during the month of November 2011.

AGAWAM

Crown Castle
628 Meadow St.
$15,000 — Telecommunications maintenance

Six Flags New England
1623 Main St.
$1,500,000 — Form and pour concrete footing for Giant Inverted Boomerang Rollercoaster

WWLP TV
591 North West St.
$15,000 — Telecommunications maintenance

AMHERST

First Congregational Church
165 Main St.
$2,000 — Repair two front entry columns

Sean M. Clarke
531 Main St.
$6,000 — Roof repair

UMass
388 North Pleasant St.
$38,000 — New roof at Hiller House

HADLEY

E & A/I & G
1221 Main St.
$291,000 — Interior renovations

Hadley Housing Authority
Golden Court
$17,500 — New roof

Yoon Chun Suk
229 Russell St.
$4,700 — New roof

HOLYOKE

Fontaine Properties
20 Easthampton Road
$40,000 — Re-install roof

Holyoke Water Power Company
200 Northampton St.
$15,000 — Remove and replace six antennas

Pulaski Heights Inc.
76 Maple St.
$15,000 — Remove and replace six antennas

NORTHAMPTON

Atwood Drive, LLC
Atwood Dr.
$100,000 — Construct 13,000-square-foot foundation for medical/office building

Cooper’s Dairyland
55 State St.
$8,900 — Emergency structural repairs

Covest Northampton, LLC
327 King St.
$250,000 — Exterior renovations

Covest Northampton, LLC
327 King St.
$183,000 — Construct 1,750-square-foot addition

Daniel Polachek
335 South St.
$4,700 — Strip and shingle portions of roof

Joe Curran
72 Masonic St.
$5,000 — Add roof over entry deck

Julia Freedgood
15 Merrick St.
$17,000 — Strip and shingle roof

Searle Realty Trust
85 Easthampton Road
$120,000 — Construct new storage building

SOUTH HADLEY

Loomis Village
246 North Main St.
$19,000 — Build porch enclosure

SPRINGFIELD

CSM North
195 State St.
$750,000 — Interior renovations

East Springfield Family Restaurant
1003 St. James Ave.
$15,000 — Interior renovations

Springfield Rescue Mission
146 Taylor St.
$31,000 — New roof

WESTFIELD

Dennis Botticello
11 Summit Lock Road
$38,000 — Addition

F.L. Roberts & Company Inc.
90 South Maple St.
$575,000 — Construct new Jiffylube

National Industrial Portfolio
1111 Southampton Road
$25,000 — Addition

North Hartland Dry Kilns Inc.
Sgt. TM Dion Way
$140,000 — Construct new commercial building

Ronald Cecchini
591 North Road
$12,000,000 — Construct new building

Zak Francis
501 Southampton Road
$596,000 — New floor covering building

WEST SPRINGFIELD

Bob Simpson
76 Westfield St.
$12,000 — Renovate 1,250 square feet of commercial structure

Cellular Sales of MA
6513 Kingston Pike
$100.000 — Commercial fit-out

Konover Corporation
380 Union St.
$12,500 — Pour concrete piers and lally columns

Mittineague Children’s Center
1840 Westfield St.
$1,000 — Erect two partition demising walls

Company Notebook Departments

Mercy Joins HNE’s Medicare Advantage Provider Network
SPRINGFIELD — Health New England (HNE) recently announced that Mercy Medical Center has become a part of its Medicare Advantage provider network. Any HNE member, regardless of product, can now access the services available at Mercy Medical Center. The hospital and physicians of the Sisters of Providence Health System (SPHS), which Mercy is a part of, have been in HNE’s commercial and Mass Health product networks for several years, and HNE is the health-insurance provider for the employees of SPHS. “HNE is excited about the extension of our partnership with SPHS,” said Peter Straley, HNE president and CEO. “We know that one of the most important components of any health-insurance product is the network of hospitals and physicians available to the members. This addition to our Medicare Advantage provider network enables us to be a viable option for all Medicare beneficiaries in our region.” Daniel Moen, SPHS president and CEO, echoed those sentiments. “Mercy Medical Center welcomes this opportunity to further our relationship with HNE,” he said. “Mercy’s participation as a member of the HNE Medicare Advantage provider network ensures that Medicare beneficiaries in our region are able to access the high-quality, high-value care at Mercy, no matter which Medicare plan they choose for health care coverage.”

Hampden Bank Offers Second Chance Mortgage
SPRINGFIELD — Hampden Bank has announced the availability of a new mortgage product specifically designed for those whose credit has been adversely affected by the recession. Robert Michel, senior vice president of retail lending, noted that the Second Chance Mortgage is a viable solution for those deemed ‘not bankable’ during these difficult economic times but who are working conscientiously to rebuild their credit. “Whether it’s directly due to the recession, job loss, bankruptcy, reduction of income, or other life events, such as divorce or illness, we know there are many good, hardworking people out there who, for one reason or another, have taken a serious hit in recent times,” he said. “We also know that many of these same people have been working hard to re-establish their credit, and we feel they at least deserve a second look and perhaps a second chance.” Michel added that the Second Chance Mortgage “could be the solution to get them back into home ownership.” Specific underwriting criteria must be met, and qualification will be determined on a case-by-case basis, with previous strong credit history and current ability to repay being major considerations.

Monson Savings Bank Wins SBA Award
MONSON — The Small Business Administration (SBA) recently announced that Monson Savings Bank has won the Lender of the Quarter Award for the third quarter of fiscal year 2011. The award was given to the bank in recognition of its “excellent” SBA activity for the quarter, according to Steven Lowell, president of Monson Savings. The bank had six SBA loan approvals from April 1 through June 30, which ranked it in the ‘Top 15 SBA Lenders in the State’ category. Additionally, the bank tripled its overall SBA activity since 2010 with 18 loans through the first three quarters of the SBA fiscal year. “We are very pleased to be able to help so many customers by leveraging the SBA lending programs,” said Lowell. “I’m not surprised we are ahead of so many larger banks statewide in this arena, because we specialize in working with small and mid-sized businesses.”

Companies Partner to Provide Cobiax Product for Miami Art Museum
LUDLOW — Meredith-Springfield Associates Inc. recently announced its partnership with Barker Steel, LLC to provide high-tech materials for the new, $220 million Miami Art Museum (MAM). Meredith-Springfield is a plastic-extrusion blow-molding manufacturing and engineering company that manufactured thousands of spheres from recycled plastic which were set into steel wire cages for Barker Steel, the licensed distributor for the Cobiax voided concrete system, headquartered in Milford. The wire cages and spheres were shipped in tower-crane-ready bundles for use in concrete slabs in the construction of the MAM. With Cobiax building units, the building slabs are up to 35% lighter than solid flat concrete slabs, and present up to 15% less load on foundations, which allows increased freedom for structural conception. “This type of building system also allows for up to 20-meter spans with no obstructing beams, which amounts to 40% fewer columns,” said Mel O’Leary, president and CEO of Meredith-Springfield. “By using spherical-resin products, strategically encased in concrete with reinforcing steel, one can leave out as much concrete as possible while maintaining the full flexural strength of the slab and allowing a biaxial load transfer. The result is overall weight reduction, increased seismic performance, cost reduction, and environmental sustainability.” The MAM design involves large spans of floor and ceiling without the typical number of columns so that the view from sea to land or vice versa is not completely obstructed. The museum building itself, totaling 120,000 square feet at the core, includes a wide stair connecting the platform to the sea and a promenade. The hanging gardens from ceiling to floor are not interrupted by numerous columns, and the building becomes part of the shoreline and helps visitors gradually transition from Miami’s tropical climate to the museum’s more regulated interior.

Study Rates MassMutual #1in Satisfaction
SPRINGFIELD — In Boston Research Group’s 2011 Defined Contribution Plan (DCP) Retirement Advisor Satisfaction and Loyalty Study, MassMutual’s Retirement Services Division earned the number-one overall satisfaction rating from retirement-plan advisors among all 17 record keepers in the study. MassMutual scored 13 points higher than its nearest competitor and 28 points above the industry average overall. MassMutual placed in the top quartile in every category ranking and garnered the most number-one ratings among all record keepers in the study, clinching the top rating in each of the following: overall satisfaction, wholesaler accessibility/availability, wholesaler expertise in the retirement services industry, thought leader in the 401(k) industry, partners with you (advisor) for success, marketing assistance (proposals, presentations, seminars), internal wholesaler ability to resolve problems, and making it easy to do business with them. The nationwide survey of retirement advisors was conducted from February to April 2011, and the results of the recordkeeping portion represent 17 leading defined-contribution retirement-plan providers. Findings are based on the percentage of advisors who were ‘very satisfied’ with the record keeper.

Sections Supplements
Former Banquet Hall Gives ICNE Plenty of Food for Thought

ICNE Dave Florian, Bill Trudeau, and Dean Florian

From left, Dave Florian, Bill Trudeau, and Dean Florian, stand near the front entrance of the new headquarters for Insurance Center of New England.

When Insurance Center of New England commenced a search for new headquarters space last year, the focus soon centered on the former Oaks banquet facility on Suffield Street in Agawam. The site provided ample parking, room to grow, space to expand a health-and-wellness initiative, and even acreage on which to start an employee-managed vegetable garden. In short, this was an exercise in stretching the imagination — and the limits of creative space utilization.

Bill Trudeau was pointing to the spots where the treadmills, elliptical machines, and spinning bikes would go, and conjecturing on what the room would look and feel like when fully ready for occupancy.
“It’s not going to be the Y … it’s not going to be LA Fitness,” he said of the workout room still taking shape at the new headquarters for Insurance Center of New England. “But it’s going to be really nice, a big step up for us.”
Those same words would be appropriate for just about every aspect of ICNE’s new home — from the spacious conference room, decorated with modern art and equipped for videoconferencing, to the locker rooms across the hall from the gym, to the inviting front lobby — that was creatively carved out of the former Oaks banquet facility on Suffield Street in Agawam, with some 5,000 square feet left over to lease out to prospective tenants.
The company moved in last month, completing a project that had been in the works for some time, but that moved forward in earnest when the Oaks property quietly, and unofficially, went on the market early in 2010.
As Trudeau, the company’s president, explained, ICNE had been fairly content in its now-former home at 246 Park St. in West Springfield, where it had leased up to 12,000 square feet since 1987. But the company’s principals had essentially decided a few years ago that they would much rather own their space than lease.
After efforts to acquire the Park Street property were unsuccessful, the company started looking at a host of other options, said CEO Dean Florian. These actually included other leasing alternatives — space in some downtown Springfield office towers was looked at — but mostly focused on new building or renovation possibilities.
And there were not many viable options, he continued, adding that the company did consider a building lot at the end of Route 57 in Agawam. But the search essentially ended when Trudeau, Florian, and his brother, Dave, the company’s executive vice president and CFO, toured the Oaks property in early 2010 and started considering the myriad possibilities it presented.
“This building offered us a lot of flexibility,” said Dave Florian. “We had what amounted to a blank canvas we could fill in as we wanted. And working on that canvas has been a lot of fun.”

Space Exploration
Creating this broad work of art — meaning reuse of the building and adjoining five acres, including parking for several hundred cars — has been a nine-month project that has allowed ICNE executives, working in collaboration with Springfield-based Corporate Designs, architect Roy Brown, and office furniture firm the Lexington Group, to stretch their collective imaginations.
“There were literally hundreds of decisions to be made,” said Trudeau, “about where people were going to sit, which offices would go where, what colors would be used on the walls, the tiling in the bathrooms. Our designers always gave us plenty of options, and we always worked with the goal of providing an attractive environment for employees and customers.”
Outside, the company has removed the Oaks’ Greek-inspired look — complete with columns and decorative concrete lions — and put in a new entrance and new signage. Meanwhile, large stretches of asphalt have been torn up and replaced with green spaces, including a vegetable garden to be tended by employees now given one more reason to eagerly await the arrival of spring.
Inside, everything in the former kitchen area has been removed, and that section is now part of the space that will be leased out. Meanwhile, the spacious former banquet area, capable of sitting some 400 people, has been apportioned and outfitted to maximize efficiency and customer service, said Trudeau, while also providing a comfortable work area that addresses current trends in the modern workplace.
This includes everything from ergonomics and ‘green’ design elements to the colors on the walls (earth tones chosen to enhance livability and productivity) to the gym, which is in keeping with a company-wide focus on improving employee health and well-being.
Indeed, when BusinessWest last visited ICNE’s Park Street facility, it was to hear about a comprehensive initiative — now part of the culture at the company — that involved everything from smoking-cessation efforts to an organized walking program to an ever-present bowl of fruit in the company’s kitchen.
The fruit is still available in what is now a larger kitchen, the smoking-cessation program continues to draw results, and the walks still happen, except now along a more-rural stretch with fewer traffic issues. But soon, the employees will have a workout area that Trudeau says is part of a larger campaign for ICNE to essentially practice what it preaches to its clients — that good employee health promotes greater productivity and also lowers the cost of insuring a workforce.
The gym is still a work in progress, with pieces of equipment still arriving, but it is expected to be fully ready for use in a few weeks, said Trudeau, who counts himself among those who will be regular users.
And while getting into the business of operating a gym, sort of, ICNE is venturing into the real-estate sector as well, and is already marketing, in a quiet way, its available square footage.
Trudeau told BusinessWest that there are positives and negatives to being a landlord with space available at this time. The economy, while improved, is still in a recovery mode, he explained, adding that many business owners and managers are still being cautious about undertaking moves and expansions.
At the same time, though, many businesses that have been hunkering down for a years while the recession played itself out are now in a growth mode, and there is some pent-up demand for quality space. There is abundant supply for that demand, Trudeau acknowledged, adding quickly that ICNE believes it has the right product in the right place at the right time.
“There is a lot of office-space inventory on the market right now,” he acknowledged. “But this is a good location and attractive space; there are some good opportunities here.”

Room for Improvement
ICNE has slated an open house to showcase its new home on March 31.
By then, the large snowbanks now partially obscuring the view from Suffield Street will be gone or much lower in stature (one can only hope), and the gym will be fully outfitted.
There won’t be anything growing in the garden at that time, but the company didn’t want to wait until summer to show what it had done with its blank canvas, said Dave Florian, who is obviously proud of the way it’s been filled in.
“It took some imagination,” he said, looking at the building from the parking lot, “but we had plenty of that to work with.”

George O’Brien can be reached at [email protected]

Company Notebook Departments

Berkshire Hills, Legacy Announce Merger
PITTSFIELD — Berkshire Hills Bancorp Inc. and Legacy Bancorp Inc. recently announced a definitive merger agreement under which Berkshire will acquire Legacy and its subsidiary, Legacy Banks, in a transaction valued at approximately $108 million. The merger of Legacy into Berkshire will create a combined institution with $4 billion in assets. This in-market merger will create efficiencies and market-share benefits for the combined banks, which both have branches in Western Mass. and Northeastern New York. Including Berkshire’s pending merger with Rome Bancorp, the combined bank will have more than 60 offices serving Berkshire County, the Pioneer Valley, New York, and Southern Vermont. Legacy has nearly $1 billion in assets and 19 branches, while Berkshire has nearly $3 billion in assets and will have 47 branches, including the Rome branches. Both banks are headquartered in Pittsfield and have histories stretching back more than 150 years serving the Berkshire County market. Michael P. Daly, Berkshire’s president and chief executive officer, noted in a statement, “this in-market combination will create a strong platform headquartered in Berkshire County for further growth of our Northeast regional franchise.”

Tighe & Bond Approved for Fisheries & Wildlife Projects
WESTFIELD — The Mass. Division of Fisheries & Wildlife recently prequalified Tighe & Bond to perform biological surveys, research, and testing at varied sites throughout the state. This approval allows the firm to participate in Fisheries & Wildlife bid opportunities in eight service categories that include: wetland delineation and soil surveys; engineering services; GIS and database projects; road and trail assessment and mapping; property boundary location and marking; natural community, restoration, natural-resource mapping, and management planning; plants and fungi; and reptiles and amphibians. The Division of Fisheries & Wildlife is part of the Mass. Department of Fish and Game, which awarded Tighe & Bond a master service agreement earlier in 2010 for ecological and river restoration through its Division of Ecological Restoration. Tighe & Bond was also recently prequalified for another two years to provide similar services to the Mass. Department of Transportation.

Bay Path Receives InternHero Award
LONGMEADOW — Annually, the Hartford-Springfield Economic Partnership (HSEP) recognizes students and colleges that promote HSEP’s InternHere.com program. This year, HSEP selected Bay Path College as the recipient of the 2010 College InternHero Award for its special support of InternHere and the large number of undergraduates who have benefited from the program. An initiative of HSEP, InternHere assists college students in finding internships. The Web site features more than 1,000 regional businesses and organizations that post internship opportunities. Students can search for internships and apply to opportunities online. Bay Path was recognized at HSEP’s 2010 State of the Region Conference on Dec. 9.

Berkshire Wind Completes $64.7M Financing
BOSTON — The Berkshire Wind Power Cooperative Corp. (BWPCC) recently issued $64,705,000 in tax-exempt revenue bonds to complete the financing for its Berkshire Wind Power Project, the largest wind project to date in Massachusetts. The 10-turbine, 15-megawatt project, located on Brodie Mountain in Hancock, is scheduled to begin operation in mid-February. All 10 turbines are fully erected, and remaining construction work involves completing electrical connections needed to deliver project electricity to the power grid. Proceeds from the 20-year bond issue will be used primarily to repay a $52.5 million, short-term loan taken by BWPCC to finance turbine purchases and preliminary construction activities. The bond issue, rated A by Fitch Ratings and A-minus by Standard & Poors, also will fund additional construction expenses, a debt-service reserve fund, and underwriting costs. The BWPCC is comprised of 14 state municipal utilities and the Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Co. (MMWEC), all nonprofit, public-power entities. Through contracts with BWPCC and MMWEC, the municipal utilities will receive their respective shares of project output and be responsible for their proportionate share of debt service on the bonds. Once it is operational, the project will nearly double the state’s current 18.5 megawatts in windpower resources, which include more than 20 comparatively small projects ranging in size from 100 kilowatts to the 3-megawatt project operated by the Princeton Municipal Light Department, according to the state Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs Web site. Wind speeds atop Brodie Mountain, one of the best inland wind sites in Massachusetts, average about 8 meters per second, making it a Class 6 wind resource on an American Wind Energy Assoc. scale of 1 to 7. The BWPCC project is expected to operate at a capacity factor of approximately 40% and produce more than 52,500 megawatt hours of electricity a year, enough to power approximately 6,000 homes.

Adam Quenneville Receives National Recognition
SOUTH HADLEY — Adam Quenneville Roofing, Siding & Windows has received national recognition in Compass magazine. The magazine delivers monthly columns from the foremost industry experts in the fields of training, marketing, motivation, and more. In addition, Compass highlights the most accomplished contractors in the country and, in the latest issue, featured the local firm as the cover story. Labeled as an “innovator” and “revolutionary roofer,” Quenneville was also recognized for being a green company. Quenneville noted in a statement that “we’ve recycled over 2 million pounds of roofing shingles. One of the company’s goals is to save the planet one roof at a time.” The firm is located at 160 Old Lyman Road.

Features
Extreme Makeover Inspires Leadership Conference Focused on Community
Momentum Builder

Caron Hobin said this year’s conference will promote the power of community.

Caron Hobin says Bay Path College’s experiences with last summer’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition project in Suffield provided some unforgettable moments and poignant life lessons.

Chief among them, she continued, was a realization of the “power of community,” an eye-opening experience that ultimately created the theme — Community Matters — for Bay Path’s 15th Annual Women’s Leadership Conference, to be staged April 30 at the MassMutual Center in Springfield.

“It was a great experience, and after it was finished, we wanted to keep the momentum going,” said Hobin, vice president of planning and student development at Bay Path, who noted that the college hosted a pre-build rally for volunteers and builders last June, and its students joined thousands of others who helped build a four-bedroom home for a family of 13.

To build on those experiences, Hobin, who has coordinated the leadership conference since its inception, carefully chose speakers who could convey the importance of community and the many forms that word can take. And she asked those chosen to delve deeply into meaningful and relevant topics that concern women in today’s workplace and world.

“Community Matters will not only deal with geographic and workplace issues, but how we function in them,” said Hobin. “The conference is jam-packed with content. There will be skill-building sessions with information people can use right away in their jobs. There will also be amazing, inspirational stories about women who have persevered or who are great examples of overcoming adversity. They will talk about their career paths and will approach topics from a variety of perspectives, ranging from illness to family responsibilities to work and incorporating education into a busy schedule.

“I am hoping people will come away asking themselves questions about how they interact with others,” she continued, “how it makes a difference in not only who their community is, but what their responsibility is to it.”

The conference will be staged from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tickets are $250, or $225 for Bay Path alumni, before April 10. After that date, all seats are $300. For tickets, reservations, or more information, visitwww.baypath.eduor call (413) 565-1066 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (413) 565-1066      end_of_the_skype_highlighting or (800) 782-7284, ext. 1066.

Diverse Speakers

Keynote speaker Soledad O’Brien is an anchor and special correspondent for CNN: Special Investigations Unit. Her work, which has included documentaries and in-depth series on ongoing and breaking news stories, has earned O’Brien numerous awards. They include the Soledad O’Brien Freedom’s Voice Award, created in her honor by Community Voices at the Morehouse School of Medicine, which she will receive this month for her accomplishments, commitment to cover challenging stories, and willingness to be a voice for people unable to speak for themselves.

O’Brien will discuss the conflict between paying attention to her own career and meeting her mother’s expectations, which all revolved around family. “She will discuss the pressure to be everything to everyone,” Hobin said. “It will be nice for women to know they can hold up a mirror and say, ‘her story is a reflection of my life.’”

Lunchtime speakers will be Leigh Anne Tuohy and her daughter, Collins Tuohy, who will share their inspiring story about adoption, made famous by the book and movie The Blind Side.

The story chronicles their meeting and eventual adoption of Michael Oher, a homeless and traumatized boy who became an All-American football player and first-round NFL draft pick. Hobin said the Tuohys will share their experience and discuss how their personal definition of community has changed since the adoption.

Afternoon keynote speakers will be Nicholas Kristof, a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the New York Times, and Somaly Mam, a Cambodian human-rights activist and founder of the Somaly Mam Foundation. They will discuss their work in the global community and provide concrete ways for women to make a difference.

Mam, who has won many awards and was touted by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential women in the world in 2009, has written a book titled The Road of Lost Innocence.

Hobin calls her story “unbelievable.”

“She was sold to a brothel when she was a young teen by a man who posed as her grandfather,” she said. “Her story is so similar to that of other young girls, especially those in Southeast Asia.”

Kristof has also won many awards, including his first Pulitzer for coverage of China’s Tiananmen Square democracy movement and his second for a series of columns which focused on genocide in Darfur.

Breaking Out

The day will include morning and afternoon breakout sessions focused on skill- building. Syndicated national columnist and best selling author Alexandra Levit will lead a program called “They Don’t Teach Corporate in College/Millennial Tweet.”

Levit will discuss what women need to know about transitioning within the corporate culture. “She will address pitfalls that can cause young people to fail, which range from dress to protocol to hiereracy,” Hobin said.

Visael (Bobby) Rodriguez, chief diversity officer for Baystate Health, will speak on “Creating an Inclusive Work Community.” His seminar will address assumptions people make about diversity and how to be more sensitive when communicating with others.

Diane Holman, vice president and chief learning officer for Raytheon Leadership and Innovative Learning, will focus on “Political Savvy at Work: How to Get Noticed by Executives Looking to Identify Rising Talent.”

Hobin said this talk will be meaningful to any woman who has reached a plateau in her career or is frustrated at work. The presentation will lead women to self-examination and behaviors that may have stalled their own advancement within the workplace. “Diane will take things to the next level and talk about how women can institute changes in their behavior.”

There will also be a panel discussion on “Work, Education, and Family Life.”

Hobin said the day’s theme was inspired by lessons learned during Bay Path’s involvement with the ABC television show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, which uses volunteers and donated materials to do complete makeovers or rebuilds of homes for selected, deserving families across the nation.

Following that model, she explained, the conference will allow women to become involved without making a major time commitment so they can make a difference in a meaningful way that realistically fits into their busy lives.

Departments

The following building permits were issued during the month of March 2009.

AGAWAM

Lambert & Pryor LLC
847 Springfield St.
$100,000 — Interior alteration and partial vestibule addition

Light Tower — SBA
850 South Westfield St.
$12,000 — Add three antennas to existing cell tower

Six Flags New England
1623 Main St.
$15,000 — Form and pour concrete columns for two new flame cannons at the Superman ride

Six Flags New England
1623 Main St.
$15,000 — Form and pour concrete pads on existing slab for new Slingshot ride

Westfield Bank
241 South Westfield St.
$340,000 — Interior fit-out for bank

AMHERST

Hills House LLC
20 Gray St.
$175,000 — Total renovation

Slobody Development Corp.
101 University Dr.
$163,000 — Build-out of office space for Mass. Dept. of Agriculture

CHICOPEE

Prospects Enterprises, LLC
1600 Memorial Dr.
$409,000 — Install membrane roofing

EASTHAMPTON

City of Easthampton
Pleasant St.
$96,000 — Construct new band shell structure at Lower Mill Pond Park

John Moriarty
67-75 Main St.
$36,000 — Repair rear fire escape and construct egress balconies to connect to new egress stairs

JPS Acquisition Elastomerics Company
412 Main St.
$69,500 — Install two new interior columns

EAST LONGMEADOW

Girl Scouts of America
40 Harkness Ave.
$9,100 — Interior alterations

GREENFIELD

Franklin Medical Center
48 Sanderson St.
$107,500 — New roof

Greenfield Health Camp Inc.
Leyden Road
$31,000 — Construct a 60’x 34’ accessory structure for performing arts

J. Terry LLC
30-44 Federal St.
$22,000 — Construction of new bar in dining area

Stephen Haggerty
332 Main St.
$150,000 — Install an internal elevator for three floors

Timothy F. Washburn
19 Congress St.
$5,900 — Installation of a fire alarm system

HOLYOKE

Awkal Oussama
395 Maple St.
$10,000 — New roof

Bell Real Estate Company, LLC
15 Samosett St.
$646,000 — Erect 9,600-square-foot steel and masonry addition

 

LONGMEADOW

Pocket Wireless
73 Pondside Road
$12,000 — Add three antennas to existing cell tower

LUDLOW

Crown Atlantic Corporation
145 Carmelinas Circle
$12,000 — Antennas for cell towers

Manuel Palatino
319 East St.
$30,000 — Commercial alterations

NORTHAMPTON

Cooley Dickinson Hospital Inc.
30 Locust St.
$448,000 — Emergency room renovation

ES Realty Corporation
34 Bridge St.
$50,000 — Renovation of Liberty Mutual Insurance – Unit 2

Lesser, Newan, Nassar, LLC
33 Main St.
$49,000 — New roof

Nonotuck Mills LLC
296 Nonotuck St.
$41,000 – Create space for personal fitness trainer

PALMER

Allen Block LLC
1003 Church St.
$300,000 – Construction of two new apartments and up to four commercial spaces

American Tower
400 Peterson Road
$29,000 – Add 6 antennas on existing tower

SPRINGFIELD

Biskit LLC
189 Brookdale Dr.
$3,500 – Remove two walls and add partitions

Carlo Rovelli
1 Allen St.
$16,000 – Construct two new accessible toilet rooms

Pearson-Cooley Development
1334 Liberty St.
$34,000 – Interior renovations

Ralph A. Bruno, Jr.
58 Wilkes St.
$658,000 – Construction of a single story church

Subway
3640 Main St.
$51,000 – Build-out of Subway restaurant

WEST SPRINGFIELD

Paul Shields
1305 Riverdale St.
$6,500 – Replace commercial kitchen exhaust hood

Richard & Randy Rindels
20C River St.
$2,500 – Reoccupy existing space as a convenience store

WESTFIELD

City of Westfield
177 Montgomery Road
$10,000 – Change computer room into classroom at WHS

Cover Story
Historical architect draws from past experience
March 17, 2008 Cover

March 17, 2008 Cover

The act of giving old buildings new life is a discipline that requires endless study and research, but also creative thinking for architects who’ve chosen to focus on this aspect of their field. Stephen Jablonski is one such professional, whose work can be seen across the Pioneer Valley and beyond. He says many think his line of work is staid and stuffy, but his portfolio of projects in Western Mass. shows that it is anything but.

Architect Stephen Jablonski works out of one of the oldest homes in Springfield, the Alexander House, built in 1811.

It was recently moved to accommodate the new federal courthouse on State Street, and some feared that the building wouldn’t make it to its destination. But with nary a crack in sight, it stands — original columns, windows, and elliptical, cantilevered staircase intact.

“This building is in line with the work that I do,” said Jablonski, who has focused on a specialty known as historical architecture, a specific niche within the industry, for the majority of his career. “A lot of architects want to knock things down to show what they can really do, but I slow down and explain what a building like this is made of, and why it’s important.”

The Alexander House’s spiral staircase, for instance, is unique because it uses no supports — the design alone makes it sturdy — and because it’s the only known elliptical, cantilevered staircase in the city.

It’s also just one of many examples of intriguing design that Jablonski can offer when discussing historical architecture. His is a discipline that draws from countless architectural styles and implements an equally large number of methods, but still, Jablonski said his field is one that has taken some hard knocks.

“The perception is that historical architects are not cutting-edge,” he said, “or that we’re frumpy and boring and wear bow ties. While I do have a large collection of bow ties, the perception is not accurate. There is an innate creativity associated with historical work, and there are plenty of craftsmen to recreate historical structures.”

And while historical architecture is often seen as a specialty that recreates the past but shies away from devising anything new, Jablonski said this, too, is a fallacy. The field is broad, including historical restoration and renovation, but also the design of, additions to, and replacements of buildings. It’s never the same, he said, and every job is a new challenge that opens up a world of possibilities.

“When creating something new, most of society tends to go in a banal direction,” he said. “It may be new, but often, new buildings are designed to look more like everything else, not less.”

What’s more, Jablonski’s specialty sometimes makes him an anomaly within his own profession.

“As an architect, everything you do is focused on change, but how things change is really the essence of historical architecture,” he said. “Building standards vary from property to property; some are broad-brushed, and some are very strict. The guidelines are necessary, especially because historical renovation or replication can be very expensive. That’s where the real creativity comes in.”

The Nuts and Bolts

As an historical architect, Jablonski has a set of specific concerns that he must consider with every project. There’s considerable research to do before even setting pencil to plans, for instance, and it’s aimed at developing a keen understanding of how a building was constructed, what it’s been used for in the past, and how many changes have taken place within its walls since they were erected.

“You have to appreciate what a building was designed for,” he said, “and look for any changes in use. You also need to make a good record of what’s there; often, existing drawings are incomplete, and in any case, you don’t want to confuse the map for the territory.”

Further, properties that have been placed on the National Register of Historic Places offer their own design challenges, including standards set forth by the Secretary of the Interior. These center on preserving the historical integrity of a building by requiring the use of ‘in-kind’ materials, for example (a copper roof can only be patched with copper; finding the right storm window can take months).

Jablonski attended the School of Architecture at Syracuse University and said that, even as a student, he had to forge his own path to study historical buildings and their design.

“Syracuse has a very modern program, so I more or less had to train myself,” he said. “We were discouraged, for instance, from using color when drafting plans, whereas I always wanted to use color in my designs. I never wanted to wrap a building in steel or something to make a statement. To me, there’s something about a patina of age that adds character that is real.”

His passion for history remained strong through college, and Jablonski began his career in Boston in the early 1980s, later relocating to Northampton in 1987 and practicing there until 1994, when he relocated again to Springfield. Today, Jablonski’s firm includes three employees, and works frequently with other architects, drafters, and craftsmen in the area. Their renovations and restorations can be seen across Western Mass., and the company is beginning to expand its reach toward the eastern part of the state and into Connecticut.

Jablonski’s first historical project in the area was at Holyoke’s Wistariahurst Museum, a National Historic Register property. The work began with restoration of the Bell Skinner bedroom, but over the past decade, his firm has completed interior and exterior restoration to the museum’s siding, paint schemes, roofs, and conservatory.

The Skinner bedroom renovation was followed by an interior renovation project at the Sacred Heart Church in Springfield, restoring floor patterns and long-faded color schemes. That led to a particular professional focus on places of worship for the firm.

“I’d never worked on a big church before, but I liked the approach,” he said. “The parish didn’t want to change their church, but rather embellish what it already had, and maintain its character.”

His work at Sacred Heart led to similar projects across the region, including the Holy Spirit Chapel at St. Michael’s Cathedral in Springfield, the Old First Church in Holyoke, First Congregational Church of South Hadley, and Worcester’s Hadwen Park Congregational Church.

Jablonski’s calling card can be found in many other locales, too. His portfolio includes the Latino Professional Building in Holyoke, the Barney Carriage House at Forest Park, the Brennan and Admissions buildings at Springfield College, and the Museum of Fine Arts at the Springfield Museums.

In all of these projects, said Jablonski, close attention was paid to the use of lasting and traditional materials, natural light, custom woodwork, well-thought-out circulation, and blending old with new. Energy efficiency, affordability, and the ability to stand up to wear and tear are also important considerations, as in any architectural endeavor, which brings Jablonski to another defense of his trade: the intrinsic green qualities of historical construction.

“The big thing now in the building industry is going green, and in my mind there’s nothing greener than preserving what you already have,” he said.

A City of Stories

Others are beginning to understand this, and while the surge in interest regarding historical architecture of late is helping to expand Jablonski’s radius of influence, he said Springfield provides plenty of work.

“There aren’t too many cities like Springfield, of this size with world-class buildings,” he said. “It looks the way it does because of the people who came here, often to manufacture things. There is no predominant architectural style because of the multitude of periods of growth — we see Greek revival, neoclassic, arts and crafts … my job includes not just architecture, but making sure people understand the region’s resources, especially when they’re feeling down on their luck.”

Jablonski said that in Springfield, as in many urban centers attempting to spur a rebirth, the first instinct of many is to raze older buildings that are long past their heydays.

“People don’t see these properties with the eyes that I see with,” he said. “Does Springfield have some dust on it? Yes, but I urge people to understand that once a building is gone, it’s next to impossible to recreate what we once had.

“There’s a lot of talk about this city as a glass that’s either half-full or half-empty,” he continued. “I see many of the same problems other people cite, but from my point of view, the glass is more than half-full, and it’s a beautiful glass.”

Currently, he’s in the middle of a project that speaks to that belief, designing what will be the newest addition to the Springfield Quadrangle — the Museum of Springfield History. Slated to open in 2009, the facility will be located in the former telephone operating building on the corner of Edwards and Chestnut streets, and will house such firsts for the city as the GeeBee plane, a Silver Shadow Rolls Royce, and an original Indian motocycle.

“This project is the type of work I love to do,” said Jablonski. “But it’s also the first time that the museums have expanded outside of the perimeter of the Quad, and the first new museum to be constructed since the Depression.”

He added that the project includes both renovation aspects and new construction.

“We’re finalizing drawings for an addition now, and renovation to the existing building is about 50% completed,” he said. “We’re adding a lot of vertical space and not a lot of square footage, but this will still be the largest exhibit space at the Quad.”

He noted that the Museum of Springfield History will also offer a new type of museum experience to the city, its residents, and, most importantly, visitors to the region.

“This is going to be totally different, because it will attract the male population,” Jablonski explained. “The museums do an excellent job catering to many different groups, but they’re pretty much maxed out on women and kids. With the cars, airplanes, and guns that are part of Springfield’s history on display, the missing population can be drawn in, as we showcase what has also been a missing part of Springfield’s story.”

A New Way of Seeing Things

For Jablonski, the project couples an important mission with a rewarding architectural challenge, creating the perfect kind of historical project.

“It’s a combination of the architecture I love and the opportunity to do something important in the city where I make my home,” he said.

He can see the project from his second-floor window at the Alexander House as well, in addition to a handful of others he’s completed, and a few at which he’d like to try his hand.

“I think I have a quality product in historical renovation,” he said, “and I have a constantly broadening scope. One thing I don’t want to ever become is isolated, working on plans in the proverbial ivory tower of a locked-up office. Inspiration is critical.”

To that end, Jablonski can sometimes be seen strolling the streets of Springfield, pausing at a building and perhaps asking passersby, “what do you see?”

Jaclyn Stevenson can be reached at

[email protected]

Sections Supplements
Noted Photojournalist Diana Mara Henry’s B&B Offers a Snapshot of Springfield
Diana Mara Henry

Diana Mara Henry stands at the entrance to her bed and breakfast in the Forest Park section of Springfield.

A bloodhound named Holly recently stole Diana Mara Henry’s heart.

The dog arrived at Henry’s bed and breakfast, Lathrop House in the Forest Park section of Springfield, on a clear summer day with her trainer and a British film crew, which was following Holly on her trek from West Virginia to Massachusetts, where she would make an attempt at becoming a K-9 with the State Police.

“It was our first celebrity canine,” said Henry, an acclaimed photojournalist by trade, whose photos are housed in both the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian.

As a photographer, Henry said her eye is trained to find beauty in unexpected places, just as she did in Holly’s droopy, forlorn face.

She also found it in a large home on Sumner Avenue with peeling paint, and within the beleaguered city in which it stands.

Henry said her daughter was readying to attend Miss Hall’s boarding school in Pittsfield, and she wanted to be close enough to see her on weekends and holidays. She was also drawn to Springfield’s vibrant Jewish community and the close proximity to Boston and New York, which would simplify business trips for her ongoing photography business.

“Springfield is a nicer, more cosmopolitan, open-minded city than any other in which I’ve lived, and I speak with some knowledge of other places,” said Henry.

Indeed, she has traveled to countless locales and has called California, Texas, and New York City home during different times in her life.

“When I first came to the area, I thought I might like to live here, and I asked where the bed and breakfasts were in Forest Park,” she added. “I was astounded to find out that there weren’t any. There are so many beautiful houses, and the idea that others might want to visit the area, as I did, spurred the renovations and the move to open a B&B.”

She said the business augments her photography practice, but more importantly allows her to thrive in Springfield, the city of her choosing.

New Beginnings

Henry easily recalls the date she moved into the Lathrop House: Sept. 10, 2001. She said she spent the bulk of that first year making gradual improvements, fixing an antiquated heating system, stripping windows, and refurbishing radiators, one task at a time.

In 2002, Henry moved on to the exterior of the landmark, replacing its roof and repainting in the original ‘painted lady’ shades of rose and cream. In the garden, new plantings were added and a seating area constructed where an above-ground pool once stood.

Work inside continued, including a full sanding and refinishing of the original hardwood floors, re-hanging of stained glass panels, and retiling of the fireplace, among many other tasks.

In December 2003, Henry welcomed her first guest to the newly established B&B, a father traveling from Virginia to Boston with his son, touring colleges. It was only when he was preparing to leave that he revealed he was actually U.S. Rep. Robert Goodlatte of Virginia, by quietly handing Henry his card. She has preserved it on page 1 of her now nearly filled guest book.

“I’m not one who’s prone to fainting,” she joked, “but when I realized who he was, I came close. What a great way to start.”

Since then, business has grown steadily at the Lathrop House. Henry said she’s seen about a 30% increase in bookings each year since she opened, and welcomes guests ranging from business travelers to visiting families to foreign tourists.

“I have a few antique dealers who stay during the Brimfield antique show,” she said, “and a few people who come for the Big E. I think many of our guests are indicative of aspects of Springfield’s economy — parents visiting college students, professors, people changing careers and looking for a fresh start. Some people rent the whole house for a group, attending reunions or graduations.”

Her guests are people (and sometimes pooches) looking for an alternative to more traditional hotel experiences.

“We have a more relaxed atmosphere,” Henry said. “People can come to breakfast in their PJs or stretch out on the couch with a movie and some popcorn … all things you wouldn’t do in a hotel. That’s especially nice for those people who travel a lot —hotels are hard on them. They can make life feel artificial.”

There are modern amenities available at Lathrop House, including wireless Internet access, fax and copy services, in-room refrigerators stocked with soft drinks and snacks, and cable television, but it’s the homespun touches that make it unique.

The Little Things …

Breakfast is served family-style at a rectangular table in the salon. Fresh fruit, yogurt, cereal, juice, tea, and coffee dominate the menu. Guests are welcome to invite friends, family, or business associates to the B&B to enjoy breakfast with them at no cost, and also to take advantage of the garden and backyard for small gatherings.

Two short-haired cats, Bobbie and Toesey, serve as concierges, leading guests to their rooms (if they are so inclined). Robes are given as gifts to visitors, and children and pets are welcome (the latter with a few restrictions). The B&B is also kosher.

Each of the rooms is decorated differently, featuring antiques and eclectic pieces, including a number of one-of-a-kind pieces of art from Henry’s collection.

Several of her own photographs — Bella Abzug on the wall, Andy Warhol on the bookcase — grace the common rooms and bedrooms, and French impressionistic originals hang along with flea market finds, gifts from friends and colleagues, and family heirlooms — including a portrait of Henry’s mother that hangs stoically over a twin bed.

“Many bed and breakfasts are taking the posh route, becoming more like boutique hotels,” she said. “This is truly a homestyle B&B with interesting art and Victorian surroundings, but not pretentious. Guests can feel free to order a pizza.”

The house itself also has an intriguing history. Built in 1899, its original owner was real estate developer F.W. Lathrop, who oversaw its construction. The design resembles Southern Colonial most closely, including a double veranda and four two-story-high columns that frame the home’s oak vestibule.

The vestibule opens into the house’s main room, revealing twin staircases that lead to the second and third floors.

Throughout the 20th century, the Lathrop House served as the first home of Temple Sinai, now located on Dickinson Street in Longmeadow, and later as the Lubbavitch Yeshiva Academy.

An art school operated from the house for a time as well, and that artistic feel was maintained when Patrick and Frances Griffin, its immediate past owners, bought the house and lent their own talents to the décor of the home.

Patrick painted murals on the ceiling of a front room called the morning room — big, bulbous clouds on a pale blue sky — and a water and forest scene in the downstairs washroom, and Frances stenciled the kitchen, hallway, and an upstairs billiard room. Those decorations remain today, often serving as conversation pieces among overnight guests.

As the establishment becomes more well-known, Henry said she’d like to increase ‘day use,’ welcoming corporate meetings or retreats and cultural events, such as poetry readings. She’ll continue to blend some modern touches into the house, setting her sights next on installing some flat-screen televisions, but said she will remain true to the home’s unique look, in part by cultivating the spreading garden and sitting area outside.

It’s a good blending of tradition with technology; Henry is able to market her B&B as a slice of history, while still taking advantage of the hospitality industry’s many Web-based tools for exposure. Her Web site,www.dianamarahenry.com/lathrop, includes a directory of things to do in Western Mass. sponsored by the Mass. Office of Travel and Tourism, and many restaurants and attractions have placed reciprocal links on their sites.

In addition, guests can now book directly through travel sitesexpedia.comandhotels.com.

“Relaxation is a part of the draw, but when they’re booking, people still want it done quickly,” Henry said of the developments.

The Big Picture

Guests like Holly, the big, lumbering bloodhound, who trotted quickly to Lathrop House’s front door and settled in easily once she’d checked into her room.

She, too, turned her visit to Springfield into a new life, passing the State Police exam and joining its ranks. There are others in Henry’s guestbook who have done the same, finding new careers and choosing to stay in the area.

Once, the B&B was a sprawling estate with an overgrown backyard. But today, it’s a home away from home.

And for Henry, it’s just home.

Jaclyn Stevenson can be reached at[email protected]

Sections Supplements
Federal Courthouse Project Throws Some Curves at Those Building It
Joe Cocco

Senior Project Manager Joe Cocco

Designed by Moshe Safdie, the new, $55 million federal courthouse building taking shape on State Street will be a stunning addition to the landscape in downtown Springfield. For Daniel O’Connell’s Sons, the Holyoke-based firm that is managing construction of the 265,000-square-foot facility, the project presents an intriguing set of challenges and a worthy addition to a portfolio that includes Boston’s Rowes Wharf, Monarch Place, and Springfield’s Memorial Bridge.

They call it the “tree fort.”

That’s the name given by workers at Daniel O’Connell’s Sons to a small, glass-walled room, or enclosure, that will sit at the end of a winding staircase within the new, $53 million federal courthouse taking shape on State Street in Springfield. One of many unique architectural twists to the 265,000 facility, the balcony (that’s its formal name) will sit about 45 feet in the air and offer stunning views of the surrounding area, including two century-old trees that have in many ways helped shape this latest addition to Springfield’s skyline — literally and figuratively.

Indeed, the trees, said to be among the oldest in the city, are almost cradled within the exterior of the building, which is shaped somewhat like a script ‘C.’ Maneuvering around the trees — there were three, but one was determined to be diseased and taken down — has been one of many challenges facing O’Connell and the subcontractors that have handled specific aspects of the work, said Joe Cocco, senior project manager.

Others include the curvature of the building, something most subcontractors do not have much experience with; sometimes-unique design specifications, including areas that must be blast-proof or “ballistic resistant” (and there are degrees of both); the federal government’s use of metric measurements; and building U.S. District Court Judge Michael Ponsor’s courtroom, and its many sightlines, to his specifications.

Overall, the courthouse assignment has been an intriguing addition to the O’Connell, or DOC, portfolio, said Cocco, noting that the project is large and quite visible, but not so big that it becomes difficult to manage.

“This is the perfect size project for O’Connell,” he explained. “It’s a big job, but it’s not one of those mammoth projects that’s impossible to control.”

As he gave BusinessWest a hardhat tour of the courthouse — due to be completed late this fall — Cocco talked about its many unique characteristics and how they make the building special … and somewhat difficult to take from blueprints to reality.

Round Numbers

When the tour reached Ponsor’s courtroom, one of three in the facility, Cocco referenced lines drawn on the floor to indicate where the judge’s bench will sit. He then pointed to the spot on one wall where the jury box will be located, and also to where the witness stand and other components of the room, now being fabricated for assembly later this year, will be placed. All this was done with considerable input from the judge.

“He’s been here on an almost weekly basis and has had input on many levels,” said Cocco. “We’ve done a number of mock-ups for him for sightline verification; he wants to be sure that, when he’s sitting at his bench, his line of sight to the jury and the witness box are right.”

There is similar attention to detail at every level of this project, which has been nearly a decade in the making, and will house the federal court and several other tenants, including U.S. Marshals, the U.S. Attorney’s office, and U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, who secured funding for the initiative.

The project actually consists of several components — the sweeping, glass-walled façade; the main courthouse building, which includes offices for several tenants, including Neal; and the so-called Chamber Building (connected to the main structure by glass walkways), which will house offices for the judges and other court personnel, and the U.S. Marshals.

Fashioned from Indiana limestone and pre-cast concrete (some 9,000 cubic yards of it), the courthouse complex is the latest landmark project for the 129-year-old O’Connell company, started by Daniel J. O’Connell the day after he was fired from his job as superintendent of streets in Holyoke for refusing to replace workers with the mayor’s hand-picked crew. The largest construction company in Western Mass., O’Connell has built several commercial and institutional buildings in the region and well beyond, and has also handled infrastructure work ranging from bridges and dams to a portion of the Big Dig.

The list of local projects includes Monarch Place, Tower Square, the Yankee Candle corporate headquarters in South Deerfield, Village Commons in South Hadley, the Massachusetts Venture Center in Hadley, and the 330 Whitney Ave. office park in Holyoke. Outside Western Mass., perhaps the company’s best-known work is Rowes Wharf, the 665,000-square-foot mixed-use development built largely on piles in Boston Harbor. O’Connell worked with Beacon Construction on the joint-venture project, which was honored with the prestigious Build America award by the Associated General Contractors of America.

The company won a second Build America award for its work in the early ’90s to reconstruct the Memorial Bridge — a structure the company helped build 70 years earlier. The lengthy project was made exceedingly challenging by a demanding schedule, logistical constraints, officials’ insistence that the bridge had to remain open, brutal winters, and even flood waters.

The courthouse project hasn’t been nearly as daunting, said Cocco, who played a lead role on the bridge work, but it has posed some challenges for O’Connell and the 20-odd subcontractors that have worked on the initiative. The trees — a Copper Beech and a Linden — have presented more than a few hurdles, for example. Perhaps the biggest was the need to redesign a portion of the basement and move some mechanical equipment to the roof because the trees’ root structures would have made the process of excavation for that section of basement cost-prohibitive.

But most of the challenges have come simply from meeting demanding specifications set down by Moshe Safdie, the Canadian-born architect perhaps best known for his award-winning work on Habitat ’67, the striking housing complex located on the St. Lawrence River in Montreal that was based on Safdie’s master’s thesis at McGill University and built as part of Expo ’67. The once-affordable housing — the architectural cachet has since made the units quite expensive — is a complex of modular, interlocking concrete forms.

Some of the Springfield courthouse’s unique design features were incorporated for security reasons, said Cocco, noting that the building has blast protection designed into it, for example, and the structural steel has been designed using progressive-collapse analysis, meaning that if one of the perimeter columns fails, those surrounding it would absorb the load. Also, the U.S. Marshals have some exacting requirements with regard to the ballistic-resistant qualities of their offices.
But many of the design challenges are aesthetic in nature, he told BusinessWest, using the words ‘clean’ and ‘flush’ to describe how the structure’s various parts come together.

“The real challenge with this building is the intricacy of the design,” he said. “The architect’s standard design details are very difficult; it requires a tremendous amount of effort on our part to coordinate all the parts and pieces so they fit together the way the architect intends.

“Some of these details are not what would be considered standard, and many of the subcontractors are not used to doing things this way,” he continued.

Typically, we build what the architect draws, but in this case, because the details are so difficult, it requires quite a bit more intervention on our part to make sure everything fits right.”

As examples, he cited the windows and skylights, which appear flush with the walls and ceilings around them, almost without interruption, in the form of frames or, in the case of the windows, the aluminum mullions.

“This architect likes everything flush,” he explained. “If you look at the roof surface, the glass and the skylights are flush with that roof surface. It’s the same with the windows; you don’t see the mullions — they’re hidden behind those structural elements, so you get a very clean look.”

“Even with the wood trim inside the building, everything is flush,” he continued. “Those details are challenging — in terms of the sequence of how pieces come together, but also for the tradespeople who have to make sure everything is aligned properly.”

The curvature of the building itself poses other challenges, especially for the tradespeople working on the job, said Cocco, noting that the radius of the front façade is 34,025 millimeters, or 112’8” — at DOC’s request, the architect is using both metric and English measurements.

“They’re used to pulling out a tape measure and putting it between two places … when it’s on a curve, they can’t do that,” he explained. “So our engineering staff has done more layout on this job than it would do ordinarily to maintain proper control of location of walls and other components to make sure it all comes together properly.”

Courting History

Thus far, everything has come together as Safdie and his company have intended, including the tree fort, said Cocco.

Much work remains, but most of the serious challenges have been met and overcome. And the trees — protected by a chain link fence — have survived the rigors of construction.

That was just one of the many priorities on a project that has been demanding on several levels — and has thrown DOC and its subcontractors a number of curves.

George O’Brien can be reached at[email protected]

Sections Supplements
Habitat Post and Beam Offers Form and Function
Huckle, right, and Peter May

Huckle, right, and Peter May

Whether supplying the necessary materials for a home, a business, or an addition to either of the two, Habitat Post and Beam in South Deerfield has been adhering to strict standards for quality since 1972. Those standards have led to success in the niche post-and-beam market, culminating recently with a workload that is steady and growing.

On a two-lane roadway with industrial overtones, Mann Orchards wanted its new location in Methuen, Mass. to stand out from the rest of the big-box franchises and convenience stores. It did so by commissioning a massive post and beam facility from Habitat Post and Beam in South Deerfield, thus creating a warm, family feel in a sea of concrete.

And on Dog Island in Florida, the owners of a new, contemporary post-and-beam house watched safely from inside as their boathouse washed away in a hurricane; their home, thankfully, suffered little damage.

These are just two of the stories Huckle May, vice president of Habitat, likes to tell to illustrate the draw of post-and-beam homes (spaced columns and beams for structure), which Habitat has been pre-fabricating, designing, selling, and delivering to locales across the country since 1972.

“It’s a style of home that I think a lot of people like, but in the past, didn’t know a lot about,” said May. “But post-and-beam homes are only increasing in popularity, and I think the industry is going to keep expanding considerably.”

Habitat’s current book of business could be proof of that upswing in awareness of post-and-beam homes, additions, and commercial properties, all of which are part of the company’s suite of services. Over the past 10 years, Habitat has seen consistent growth, averaging about 10% over the previous year annually in revenue, and last year recording $5 million in sales.

“We are a manageable size and have a history of quality,” said May, noting that Habitat employs 15 people, five of whom work in the company’s shop manufacturing post-and-beam components, and the remainder in sales and administration, design, and engineering. “Some of our clients have been with us since the 1970s; it’s definitely a business that will last longer that the people now running it.

“But as things stand now, I think the best way to put it is we would welcome a steadying of business,” said May. “We’re a very streamlined operation, and very process-oriented. But we’re also constantly swamped, and that’s a unique challenge.”

The First Cut

Habitat was one of the early purveyors of so-called ‘kit homes’ — a term that sometimes carries a negative connotation, said May, but still best describes the types of pre-fabricated lumber and materials that create a Habitat Post and Beam structure.

May explained that his father, Peter, a former contractor, bought the business 15 years ago from Edgeco Inc., and remains its president today; five years after that, his son entered the business with the initial idea that it would be a temporary gig.

But with a decade under his belt, Huckle May said his job has since become permanent, and the brisk rate of business has also kept it interesting.

Habitat’s strong sales record, for instance, has necessitated an expansion to its Elm Street manufacturing facility, to be built on an adjacent piece of property.

“The expansion is extremely important, as it will allow us to improve quality and maintain a competitive advantage,” said May, who added that, while the post-and-beam industry is subject to the same economic cycles that affect other building sectors, Habitat has seen steady, constant improvement, and the reasons why are varied.

First, Habitat can design and provide materials for a myriad of projects, from various sizes of homes to additions to commercial and specialty projects, including the Yankee Candle flagship store’s main building in South Deerfield, Gledhill Nursery and Landscape Center in West Hartford, Conn., and the Church of the Messiah in Chester, N.J.

“It goes up and down,” said May. “We typically handle one major commercial project a year, and, depending on the market, homes and additions alternate in frequency. Currently, about a third of our jobs are additions; when the value of residential homes is stable, people tend to add on.”

Lean and Green

In more general terms, post-and-beam homes appeal to an environmentally conscious audience and fit well into the current trend toward ‘green building.’

“Post-and-beam homes are generally more green,” said May, adding that Habitat also procures its lumber from a family-managed forest in the Pacific Northwest, which provides Douglas fir through sustainable logging practices.

“They will last for generations, are very thermally efficient, and are built tighter — often better than conventional framing. Owners also tend to use less carpeting and wood finishes, to maintain that natural look.”

But beyond being environmentally sound, post-and-beam homes also satisfy a wide range of aesthetic tastes.

“Post-and-beam homes use space more efficiently, in general,” said May. “They have a good layout, usually with a common room with a high ceiling surrounded by cozy areas everywhere else. They lend themselves to one-level living.”

That’s a benefit that appeals to Baby Boomers, a group that is now leading the ‘aging in place’ home building and design phenomenon, and also younger homeowners, who may want to expand their property at a later date.

“It’s always cheaper to build up instead of out,” May said, “and building lots are increasingly scarce, especially in the Northeast.”

May noted that post-and-beam homes are actually a very small fraction of the entire construction market, similar to other niche offerings like log or timber-frame homes. But they are sturdy, quality structures that age well, and an increasingly savvy consumer base is turning its attention to them, in part with the help of the World Wide Web.

“Customers are more educated about their home-building options,” he said. “Once, we got 1,000 calls from people just looking for more information, before we were contacted by a real, potential client. But now, the Internet does a lot of that work for us, and people call us much more prepared.”

Still, May said the biggest draw of a post-and-beam home is one that has been a strength of the design since its early years as a building option — its characteristic cathedral ceilings and wide, open spaces carry a certain cache, and often translate into one’s dream home.

“We have a largely high-end clientele,” he said, “and we send most post-and-beam homes to areas that already have great views; places with lakes, rivers, and mountains. They fit very well into natural landscapes, but post-and-beam homes can also be designed to look very contemporary.”

Station Identification

To illustrate that point, Habitat added model rooms to its Elm Street location in spring 2004, constructing one that represents more traditional post-and-beam design, and another that is more modern, with soaring windows and curved track lighting.

Touring the space the company dubbed ‘Habitat Station,’ in part for the exterior’s resemblance to train platform, Peter May told BusinessWest that the rooms often help clients decide which design they prefer, or create a hybrid of the two.

“It’s funny; often, a husband and wife will come in, and one will go to one room and say, ‘this is exactly what I was thinking,’ while the other goes to the second room and says the same thing. They definitely help people visualize, but they also help people see where the compromises can be made.”

The showrooms also effectively translate the quality and versatility of post-and-beam homes, without overwhelming a client with the particulars of the design-and-build process, which is a detailed one.

“It has worked out really well for me because I love process and project design work,” said Huckle May, “ and I get to do a lot of that here. But it is a long, technologically-based process.”

Indeed, as a business that manufactures not one component of a building project, but rather the entire project itself, there are plenty of steps to be taken. May explained that a job usually begins with an initial idea or vision from a potential client, and continues to develop with the help of an independent architect or by matching needs, wants, and budget to one of Habitat’s in-house designs.

From there, three-dimensional drawings and floor plans are created by members of the Habitat design team, and a ‘virtual tour’ is created with the help of software programs. Once the engineering plans necessary to secure a building permit are completed, final plans and contracts are drafted.

Most components of a Habitat home are cut and prepared at the South Deerfield facility, including walls, floors, and roofs. Once a foundation is poured at the construction site, a delivery is made — everything from walls, roof, and floors to the necessary fasteners — via a tractor-trailer dispatched from Western Mass. to anywhere in the country.

The homeowner can then contract with a builder to complete the project, and can opt to work with some of the suppliers that partner with Habitat, such as Anderson windows, or to handle some or all of the details themselves.

May said that about 70% of Habitat’s clients hail from the Northeast, and the remainder are scattered across the country.

“The Berkshires are very strong, and we’re seeing more and more interest in the Pioneer Valley,” he said. “I think that’s because we can handle such a wide range of projects. People do all sorts of things; we’ve had people approach us to build an entire post-and-beam house and add it on to an existing house, or just for a 12 x 12 room.”

The Kit and Caboodle

Even as such a small part of the building sector, post-and-beam homes are beginning to make a name for themselves as a sought-after design scheme with limitless possibilities, said May, and that is creating a firm foundation for Habitat.

“Over the years, more people have realized that post-and-beam homes are one solution to designing a home that fits their various needs,” he said.

And whether that need is to stand out from the crowd or simply stand the test of time, somehow, the term ‘kit home’ seems to no longer apply.

Jaclyn Stevenson can be reached at[email protected]