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Daily News

BOSTON — State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg, chair of the Mass. School Building Authority (MSBA), and MSBA Executive Director Jack McCarthy announced the 2015 “My Ideal School” contest. The goal of the contest is to promote discussion among students and teachers about how thoughtful design and construction of schools in Massachusetts support student learning.

The contest is open to all first-grade students currently attending a Massachusetts public school. Regional winners will receive a prize donated by Santander Bank. One grand-prize winner will have his or her “My Ideal School” contest picture featured on the cover of the MSBA annual report. All winners will be honored at an awards ceremony at the Massachusetts State House on May 27. Contest submissions must be postmarked by April 24 for consideration. More information can be found on the MSBA website at www.massschoolbuildings.org.

The Mass. School Building Authority partners with Massachusetts communities to support the design and construction of educationally appropriate, flexible, sustainable, and cost-effective public-school facilities. Since its 2004 inception, the authority has made more than 1,500 site visits to more than 250 school districts as part of its due-diligence process, and has made more than $11.2 billion in reimbursements for school-construction projects.

Daily News

WEST SPRINGFIELD — The original Western Massachusetts Home & Garden Show will take place March 26-29 at the Eastern States Exposition, in the Better Living Center and the Young Building, showcasing the latest trends from local home-improvement businesses, including Boilard Lumber, Baystate Rug & Flooring, Hampden Zimmerman Lighting Design Showroom, Ondrick Natural Earth, Serv-U Locksmiths, and Yankee Mattress Factory.

The Home & Garden Show is the region’s premier show for preparing consumers and construction professionals for the upcoming building season. From first-time homeowners and weekend-warrior renovation enthusiasts to lawn and garden experts and contractors, the Home & Garden Show offers home-improvement and commercial-building solutions for a wide audience.

The days and hours are Thursday, March 26, 2 to 9 p.m.; Friday, March 27, 1 to 9 p.m.; Saturday, March 28, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday, March 29, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. General admission is $10 per person. Children under 12 are free. Active military and veterans get free admission on Thursday with valid ID. Visit the Home & Garden Show website, westernmasshomeshow.com, for reduced-admission coupons.

Cover Story
Roca Is Relentless in Efforts to Give Young People a Fresh Start

Christine Judd, director of Roca’s Springfield facility, with Kadeem Batchelor

Christine Judd, director of Roca’s Springfield facility, with Kadeem Batchelor, one of the “young people” now in phase 1 of the agency’s intense intervention program.

It’s called Roca — that’s Spanish for rock, as in rock solid. And it’s an apt name for an organization, created in 1988, that helps very high-risk individuals — those who have been incarcerated, are in gangs, have substance-abuse issues, and have dropped out of school — somehow get their lives on a much better track. Now four years old, Roca’s Springfield office is enjoying success with this daunting task by being, in a word, relentless.

David Rios says that, in the weeks and months after he entered the Roca program in Springfield last summer, “the street,” as he called it, kept trying to lure him back to a lifestyle that eventually landed him in the Hampden County Correctional Facility in Ludlow, and he was often tempted — very tempted.

And it’s easy to see why.

Indeed, the money he could make selling drugs was almost exponentially higher than what he earned shoveling snow, clearing fire hydrants, mowing lawns, and cleaning alleyways in downtown Holyoke — just some of the many assignments parceled out as part of Roca’s transitional employment efforts.

But what kept him from returning to the streets was something far more important — and powerful — than money.

“I’m the father of six now, and I saw myself either looking at them through glass and explaining to them why I was there, or being out with them,” he told BusinessWest. “I put my mind in a place where I wanted to be home and be able to see my kids and hug my kids.”

Helping all the “young people” — that’s the term this organization uses in reference to those it works with — who come through the doors find such a place is the unofficial mission statement for Roca, which was founded in Chelsea in 1988 and expanded into Springfield in 2010 and later into Boston.

Hampden County Sheriff Michael Ashe

Hampden County Sheriff Michael Ashe

The official mission is to “disrupt the cycle of incarceration and poverty by helping young people transform their lives,” and it carries out this mission through a four-year program that all those involved, from Christine Judd, director of the Springfield facility, to Hampden County Sheriff Michael Ashe, to people like Rios, described with the word intense.

“And it needs to be because of the people we’re working with,” said Judd, noting that Roca — which translates into ‘rock’ in Spanish — was designed specifically for individuals (in Springfield, males ages 17-24) who are seriously at risk, meaning they’ve been incarcerated, have no real work history, dropped out of school, and usually needed to be dragged into this program kicking and screaming.

She calls them “Roca kids.”

Ashe, sheriff for more than 40 years now, needed a few more words to describe this constituency. “In every urban area in America today, there is a population of young people who are over a cliff,” he said. “And what we’re trying to do is set up a safety net at the bottom. Roca is that net; no other nonprofit, no other education center has been able to connect with this population and get them to consider changing their ways.”

David Rios

David Rios says he found it tempting to return to the street, but he’s been steeled by a desire not to view his children through the glass wall of a prison visiting center.

The intensity it takes to make this connection and get people into, and then to stay with, the program is only heightened by the fact that the organization’s efforts are funded through what’s known as a ‘pay for success’ (PFS) model, which, as the name suggests, only pays for Roca’s services if and when better outcomes are achieved and days of incarcerations are avoided, thus reducing the burden to the taxpayers.

A year into the unique PFS initiative, Roca is hitting its numbers and actually exceeding them, said Lili Elkins, the agency’s chief strategy officer, noting that, of the young men retained in Roca’s model 24 months or longer, 92% had no new arrests, 98% had no new technical violations, and 89% retained employment for at least 90 days.

While still in its relative infancy, at least when compared with the facility in Chelsea, Roca Springfield is making major contributions to that success record. Last December, the operation honored its first ‘graduates,’ those who had successfully completed the four-year program and moved on to permanent employment.

Trevor Gayle was one of them.

He’s now a full-time employee of Chase Management, a Springfield-based property-management company for which he handles a variety of duties ranging from painting to maintenance to apartment-turnover work. He has his own place now and has been able to put the street in his rear-view mirror.

When asked if he thought such a fate was possible when he came to Roca, somewhat reluctantly, in the summer of 2011 — after spending six months in jail for sitting in the seat next to a friend who shot and wounded an individual as he approached their vehicle — he paused a minute and shook his head.

“No … I never thought I’d be here,” he said as he sat at what amounts to the conference room at Chase’s office, explaining that he didn’t find Roca — it found him. “Every day, I think about how many times I could have been put away or put in the dirt, just because of me hanging out there. I’m really lucky.”

For this issue, BusinessWest takes an in-depth look at Roca and how it manages to help people Gayle turn their lives around, stay out of prison, and beat the street.

Coming to Terms

Kadeem Batchelor said that, when he first arrived at Roca six months ago after spending four years at the Ludlow jail for “being young and following,” which translates into drug and gun crimes, he didn’t get the concept, or big picture, as he put it.

Suffice it to say, he gets it now.

“I was used to everything happening overnight,” he said. “Once I realized the concept that things don’t happen overnight, and once I calmed down and started listening, my outlook changed. Before I came here, I was ignorant and didn’t care; I’m much more mature now. Here, they show you how to face reality, stand up to your problems, just be a man about your situation and not try to take the easy way out.”

Such an attitudinal change is what Molly Baldwin had in mind when she founded Roca in 1988. The concept, as summed up in the marketing slogan ‘less jail, more future,’ was simple — use street outreach, data-driven case management, stage-based education, and employment training to reduce individuals’ involvement in crime, keep them out of jail, and help them get jobs.

Carrying out that mission has been anything but simple, but Roca has succeeded through partnerships — with constituencies ranging from law-enforcement officials to private business owners — that essentially involve the entire community in the work to keep young people on a path to success. “We’ve always operated with the attitude that everyone matters in life,” Baldwin told BusinessWest. “Today, many young people are having a lot of difficulties, but they, too, can make the changes to turn their lives around, and it’s a privilege to do this work.”

Roca’s success in Chelsea eventually caught the attention of Ashe, who, over the years, had created or adopted a number of programs to transition individuals from incarceration to the workforce, but needed a program that specifically focused on that ultra-high-risk constituency, which, as he said, was over a cliff, and possessed the requisite intensity to achieve results.

“We really liked the model,” he explained. “There is a relentless pursuit, or unyielding pursuit, of these people, and we knew that it took this kind of intensity, this kind of focus, to get young people away from a pursuit of drugs, violence, and gangs. Roca had the passion, the commitment, and the dedication to connect with this population.”

From the beginning, all those who became involved locally, at Ashe’s behest, understood the agency’s importance, its mission, and the many challenges to carrying it out.

Frank Fitzgerald, principal with Fitzgerald Attorneys at Law and a member of the original advisory board for Roca Springfield, said the City of Homes — like other major urban centers — has changed considerably since he grew up there.

“When I was a kid, we’d hang out on the corner; the cruiser would pull up, and the officer would crook a finger at us and put us in the back seat,” he recalled. “We’d say, ‘I didn’t do anything,’ and they’d say, ‘it’s not what you did, it’s what you’re thinking about doing.’ We’d be driven home to our parents, and the activities for the evening would be substantially curtailed.

“Today, in our core cities, it’s not like that — it’s serious crime,” he went on. “And this [Roca] is what we need; we need people out bringing these guys in, putting them through the program, and putting them to work. The economic benefit of someone who’s productive in society, as opposed to someone in jail, at the taxpayer’s expense, is huge.”

Trevor Gayle, a recent graduate of Roca

Trevor Gayle, a recent graduate of Roca, is now a full-time employee of Chase Management Service, whose owner, Sheryl Chase, saw an opportunity to help young men in the program.

The challenging demographic with which Roca works, as described by Judd, Ashe, and Fitzgerald, is captured in these statistics, supplied by Elkins: In FY 2014, the Springfield site served 140 young men in its intervention model, 97% of whom were Hispanic/Latino, African-American, or biracial; 97% had a history of arrests; 83% had prior convictions; 86% had dropped out of high school; 83% had a substance-abuse history; 81% were gang-involved; and 49% were young fathers.

Beyond these characteristics, many of the participants didn’t want anything to do with Roca — initially, at least — and that’s the way the agency wants it.

“If you want to be in, we don’t want you,” said Elkins, as she talked about all three Roca operations. “We’re an interesting program because we are truly focused on the highest-risk young men and the ones who are not able to engage in traditional programming. We joke with people and say, ‘if you’re able to show up for programming on your own, without us needing to harass you and drag you in, we’ll send you somewhere else because you’re too high-functioning, and you don’t need our services.’”

Judd agreed. “If you’re high-risk enough, and I’ve had a conversation with you and I deem you a Roca kid, we own you,” she said. “At which point, we’re relentless and we’ll stay on you, whether you want us to or not. Our outreach workers are constantly knocking on doors, and sometimes they’re slammed in their face; it’s a four-year program, and for that first six months, it’s about being relentless and building that relationship of trust.”

The Springfield program began with 50 such individuals and a staff of three. Things got started in a few rooms donated to the cause by Ashe, and the operation later moved into a small building on School Street. Its first day there, a tornado roared through the South End, just a few blocks away.

Since then, Roca has been an equally powerful force.

Work in Progress

Judd said the agency’s four-year program has three phases: the first six months (and there’s actually a phase within that phase); months six through 24, when transitional employment initiatives take place; and then the final two years, when the young people move on to outside placement with a number of area employers, including Beacon Management, Lenox American Saw, F.L. Roberts, Steven A. Roberts Landscape Architecture & Construction, and others.

Actually, work sometimes begins while someone is still incarcerated, so that when they reach Roca’s door, they know what the program is about and can, in some ways, hit the ground running, she explainedJudd added that, through that pay-for-success initiative, referrals come to Roca from probation departments, parole offices, the Department of Corrections, and the Department of Youth Services.

“We’ll go behind the wall in those facilities to meet with those young people and build those relationships before they get out,” she explained. “When they get out, we find their address, and we maintain contact; our whole goal is to get them into our building, and when they’re here, it’s very rare that they walk out without some sense of camaraderie, a sense of belonging, or a sense of family.”

Gayle recalls that he hadn’t been out of jail long after that shooting episode before those at Roca started looking for him. Actually, they went to his younger brother first, hoping he might be an intermediary and convince him to take part. Those plans didn’t go according to the script.

Christian Vasquez

Christian Vasquez, who arrived at Roca last summer, is working toward his GED and driver’s license, and possesses what he called a “new attitude.”

“My brother told me, ‘Trevor, you don’t want to do this — it’s the police after you again; what are they talking about, getting you a job? Don’t do it,’” he recalled, adding that, thankfully, he didn’t heed that advice. “I went down to Roca and decided to give it a shot; I didn’t want to keep getting incarcerated for things I didn’t do and wasn’t involved in, because that’s what it seemed like to me.”

But he admitted that it was difficult in the beginning. Indeed, like Rios, he said the street kept beckoning, and it was hard not to listen. Meanwhile, he didn’t take to the Roca way quickly or easily.

“In the early stages, I was being real belligerent, and they were telling me stuff that I couldn’t do, and I was upset because I couldn’t do it,” he recalled. “I was still in that phase where, if you tell me not to do something, I’m still going to do it anyway.”

Judd said such struggles are commonplace, and, as she talked about phase 1 of the program, she drew a comparison to the TV show The Biggest Loser and the beginning of those contestants’ experiences.

“That’s when you see the biggest behavioral change,” she explained. “The first time a young man walks into our door, his pants are down around his knees, he’s got his colors on, he’s representing his set. And his language and decorum are way off — he doesn’t look you in the eye, there’s no handshake … that’s the first 60 days.”


Transition Game

By the time those two months are over, there is usually recognizable change, she said, adding that the first phase of the program is dedicated to assessing an individual, achieving some measure of buy-in, and building the relationships and trust that will certainly be needed to get through phases 2 and 3.

The former involves transitional employment, she noted, adding that this takes place between months six and 24 and involves work four days a week for a host of employers, including the cities of Springfield, Holyoke, and Chicopee, as well as a few property-management companies, including Chase. The fifth day, Wednesday, is “development day,” said Judd, during which the young people work on everything from financial literacy to mock interviews to what she called “fatherhood class.”

The move from phase 2 to phase 3 equates to shifting from basic training to advanced programming, said Judd, adding that those who make this transition — and some make it more easily than others — become essentially temporary employees for several area companies, including the property-management businesses, F.L. Roberts, Lenox American Saw, and others.

“They either have a job or they’re still looking for a job, or whatever, but we’re working hard over the next two years to get them placed, get them in housing, or get them in school,” she explained. “This is where we say, ‘it’s time to put your big-boy pants on and do it. You still have our support; however, it’s time to grow up.’”

For phases 2 and 3 to meet their missions, and for participants to move on to graduation and permanent employment, Roca needs partners in the form of area employers willing to step forward and assist this still-high-risk demographic, Judd said.

Sheryl Chase became one willingly because she recognized the need, had some opportunities to help, and saw a responsibility to assist a constituency that many would prefer to ignore or designate as someone else’s problem.

“Roca is a great program, and its work is really important to the community,” said Chase, who now has a diverse portfolio that includes everything from single-family homes to a 50-unit apartment complex and manages 10 full-time employees.

She first became involved with the transitional-employment phase of the Roca program, using participants to help clear properties of the heavy snows last winter, before taking things to a higher level by hiring two men, one of them Gayle, full time.

The other hire didn’t work out, she said, an indication of how difficult it is for some to make the transition from the street to the workforce. “It’s tough going from making $1,000 a week selling drugs to making $12 an hour busting your butt; it’s a whole different mentality, and you have to answer to people in ways you’ve never had to answer to them before.”

Gayle is faring much better with the transition, said Chase, adding that the company is being supportive in any way it can. Indeed, while employees are required to have cars so they can get from site to site easily, that policy has been waived for Gayle, who either works with a partner or stays at one site all day.

“We understand the challenges he’s facing,” said Chase, “and are trying to help him succeed.”

Street Smarts

What Roca has been able to provide for both graduates and those still involved in its various phases is a sense of hope that they can leave the street behind and find something better, if not inherently more lucrative financially. It’s also provided both a desire to set goals and an attitude that they can, indeed, be met.

Gayle, 24, soon to be 25, calls them “power moves,” or big steps toward being successful in life. Getting a job was simply the first, he said, adding that he wants to eventually go back to school, become a great father to his son, own a home, and, most importantly, become a role model for his child.

“I feel like, if I can change everything around now, then when he gets older, when he starts acting up, because every kid goes through it … when he sees that and he sees how his father did it, he can definitely follow suit and do the same thing.”

As for Rios, he has three and half years to go before he graduates, but already he sees significant light at the of the tunnel.

“I see myself doing good; I see a lot of doors opening that I couldn’t imagine opening for me,” he said. “I’ve learned a lot, including stuff I didn’t even know that I could do.”

Christian Vasquez, like Batchelor, Gayle, and most others, was hard-headed when he arrived at Roca last summer after a short stint in prison that was nonetheless long enough to make him pledge never to go back.

But his stance eventually softened during that six-month period of transition Judd described. He’s working toward his GED and his driver’s license, is exploring possible paths to a career as a graphic artist, and has developed what he described as a new attitude.

“I’m carrying myself the right way, and I’m looking forward, not back at everything that happened,” he told BusinessWest. “I’ve changed a lot — I’m not the same person I used to be. I’m more calm, and I’m just striving for my goals like I’m supposed to. I’ve got stuff I’m looking forward to.”

Batchelor, meanwhile, is currently enrolled at Springfield Technical Community College, with designs on majoring in business, while also looking toward getting into comedy — he recently did a one-man show at Roca — or acting.

“Whatever you put your dream to, they’re here to support you,” he said of the staff and volunteers at Roca. “They can help you change your life.”

With that, he spoke for everyone who has somehow made it to and through Roca’s door.

George O’Brien can be reached at [email protected]

Opinion
Boston, Bay State Don’t Need the Olympics

Under most all circumstances, a business magazine like this one would support any effort that would bring people, dollars, and attention to this state and, when possible, this region.

But in the case of 2024 Olympics, we’ll make an exception. Now that Boston has been selected as this country’s entry, or candidate, for those games, speculation has run rampant, expectations are soaring, and political officials, including many from this area code, are seeing dollar signs and a chance to showcase their communities.

We can’t end all that, and we certainly won’t, but maybe we can add a few much-needed doses of reality to this equation, starting with what some might consider a bold pronouncement: Boston and Massachusetts don’t need the Olympics!

That’s right. We don’t. Those who think we do, or are quite sure we do, are focused on three, perhaps four things: money, exposure, prestige, and jobs. And it’s really all about the first item on that list.

The money comes from building the infrastructure and facilities that would be required to host an Olympics, and perhaps from the spectators who would come to watch them and the media who would come to cover it. Revenue is always welcome, but there must be easier ways to amass it and more effective means to spread that wealth.

As for exposure and prestige, first we have to debate whether the Olympics actually supply those things, and if so, what does it amount to? Did Athens gain any real exposure in 2004, and did it gain any prestige? How about Moscow in 1980? Los Angeles in 1984? Atlanta in 1996? Or London in 2012? The answer in each case is ‘no.’

As for Massachusetts, it has always been known around the world for its institutions of higher learning, its hospitals and medical centers, and its noted vacation spots — Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, and the Berkshires (and none of those locales would be hosting any Olympic events). What is there to gain?

How does a few weeks’ worth of 45-second aerial shots of Boston and its suburbs at the start of each Olympics broadcast help put the Bay State on the map? It’s already on the map in every way that it needs to be.

As for jobs, yes, there will be some of those — mostly construction jobs, and those are important to that industry. But the benefit will be concentrated to a few huge firms and for a relatively short period of time. And a city doesn’t host the Olympics to gain a few thousand construction jobs — or, at least, it shouldn’t.

No, a city hosts the Olympics to do what Barcelona did in 1992 and, to a lesser extent, what Beijing did in 2008, and what Rio de Janeiro hopes to do in 2016 — announce its presence and make a statement.

Barcelona was an industrial backwater into the late ’80s, granted one with stunning architecture, great weather, and one of the best harbors in the world. It used the Olympics to showcase itself and make itself into one of the top tourist destinations in Europe, if not the world.

Boston in 2014 (let alone 2024) is not Barcelona in 1983. Cranes fill the skies in the Hub, and there are more than 15 million square feet of new buildings under construction. Boston doesn’t have to tell the world it has arrived any more than London did in 2012.

Overall, we see the Olympics as an unneeded extravagance. Worse, it is a distraction at a time when the state and individual communities need to be focused on other, more pertinent matters, such as creating viable, long-term sources of jobs. Instead, the mayor of Fall River is trying to get the rowing competition on Watuppa Pond, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno is trying to bring the basketball competition to the city where the game was invented (good luck with that one), and Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse is pushing hard to bring Olympic volleyball to his city, where that sport was conceived (where they would host those matches, we don’t know).

As we said, this is a distraction, one this state just doesn’t need for the next nine years.

Manufacturing Sections
Excel Dryer Gains Market Share by Touting Green Benefits

Denis (left) and Bill Gagnon show off XLERATOR

Denis (left) and Bill Gagnon show off XLERATOR models branded with company logos, one of the product’s aesthetic selling points.

If there’s one statistic that drives Excel Dryer, it’s this one: 85%.

That’s the percentage of commercial restrooms in the U.S. that eschew hand dryers for paper towels. That represents significant — and attainable — opportunities, said William Gagnon, vice president of marketing for the East Longmeadow-based company started by his father, Denis, in 1999. After all, when Excel launched its signature product, the XLERATOR, in 2001, that number was 90%. And it continues to shrink.

“Excel Dryer works with all commercial facilities because all businesses have restrooms,” he told BusinessWest, listing some segments that purchase the most hand dryers, including schools; the hospitality industry — including restaurants, hotels, resorts, casinos, and amusement parks — assembly areas like stadiums, convention centers, and concert venues; healthcare; government; retail stores; and transportation facilities like airports, DOTs, and public-transit centers. “We are very successful with all facilities that focus on saving time, money, and the environment.”

The challenge is educating people about the benefits of using high-speed, energy-efficient hand dryers, which improve the user experience compared to older dryers, he said, adding that the XLERATOR dries hands three times faster than conventional hand dryers.

But the education efforts are working, and so is word of mouth.

“Since this new category of hand dryers has become available, hand dryers have gained significant traction versus paper towels,” Gagnon said, citing a report from Dodge Data and Analytics that Excel Dryer products are now listed among the specifications in more than half of new commercial construction projects that include hand dryers. “This means that architects and interior designers working in the commercial-restroom field prefer Excel Dryer models to any others on the market.”

Indeed, the XLERATOR’s initial success — it burst onto the market with a 700% increase in sales between 2001 and 2008 — was no fluke; the company continues to record double-digit growth each year, and 2014 was the best year in Excel’s history.

In fact, Gagnon says Excel has done nothing less than revolutionize the hand-dryer industry, changing the environment in commercial restrooms in more ways than one.

Heating Up

Environmental concerns are, in fact, at the top of Excel’s marketing strategy, but Gagnon said it’s fighting a messaging war with paper-towel manufacturers.

Specifically, he noted that paper-industry giants fund studies claiming that recycled paper towels must be better for the environment than electric hand dryers. “That couldn’t be further from the truth,” he added, claiming that Excel’s high-powered dryers actually represent a 70% reduction in carbon footprint compared to recycled paper towels.

“The paper industry also likes to say that paper towels are more sanitary,” he went on, “but independent, third-party studies from leading academic and research organizations debunk this myth time and time again.”

He cited a study from the Mayo Clinic that found no difference between paper towels and hand dryers in removing bacteria from washed hands. However, another study published in the American Journal of Infection Control found 17 species of bacteria on unused, recycled paper towels, and noted that this may have implications in industrial and clinical settings, like hospitals, which house immunocompromised individuals. “When a leading publication about infection control warns against using paper towels in healthcare settings,” Gagnon said, “that’s a pretty strong statement.”

To further emphasize the company’s dual emphases on cleanliness and ecological impact, Excel Dryer recently launched a new product, the XLERATOReco, which uses what Gagnon calls “no-heat technology” to dry hands quickly using only 500 watts.

“It offers all the same features and benefits of the original XLERATOR hand dryer, except for the heating element,” he explained. “This hand dryer significantly reduces energy consumption and is the best choice for facilities looking to reduce costs and energy usage.” He added that it’s also an attractive choice for facilities in warmer climates where the heating element is not as beneficial.

Even the original XLERATOR, because it dries hands so quickly, uses 80% less energy than conventional hand dryers, Gagnon said, and provide a 95% cost savings versus paper towels, once the initial cost of installation is recouped — typically, within one year. Add it up, and the Excel team believes it has a winning formula for continued growth, and not just domestically.

“Approximately 25% to 30% percent of our sales are exported outside of the United States, and we are experiencing tremendous growth in international markets,” he told BusinessWest. “For example, the European adoption rate of energy-efficient technology is significantly higher than here in the U.S. They have much stricter energy restrictions and less room in landfills for waste, so high-speed, energy-efficient hand-dryer technology is much more prevalent there.”

In fact, he added, the ratio of hand dryers to paper towels in commercial restrooms in Europe is three to one, a stark reversal of the U.S. model. “As awareness for energy conservation increases, environmentally friendly, energy-efficient hand-dryer adoption rates will increase on a global scale. The United States is not as far down the path of adopting sustainable solutions, but the demand in European markets is a good indication that energy-efficient technology is the way of the future.”

At the same time, Gagnon said, Excel has managed to keep its manufacturing base in East Longmeadow, using Kaizen Cell procedures to become more efficient instead of cutting costs by moving operations overseas, like others in its industry have done. In doing so, Excel continues to add manufacturing jobs locally.

Giving a Hand

Despite its continued growth, Excel isn’t resting on its success. It has added adjustable speed and sound control for sound-sensitive areas, and a HEPA filtration system and Microban anti-microbial wall guards to support hygienic standards. Excel also recently unveiled a sixth-generation motor for longer lifespan. Now, the control assembly features error codes to make maintenance easier.

On the aesthetic side, the device’s custom digital image covers can feature corporate colors, logos, images, and taglines. “You can see our custom covers here locally at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and all across the globe,” Gagnon noted.

“Big brands like Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Coca-Cola, and even the New England Patriots have them in Gillette Stadium,” he added. “It’s great to see companies support sustainable solutions and co-brand the XLERATOR hand-dryer models with their unique style. It says a lot when an organization like the Patriots believes in your brand enough to put their logo on your product.”

The covers can also feature sustainable messaging, including statistics from the EPA, explaining why hand dryers are a better choice for the environment than paper towels, Gagnon said, adding that customers have increasingly come to appreciate the green appeal of the product.

In fact, Excel is the first hand-dryer company to become affiliated with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), which hosts the largest green-building trade show, and is the force behind LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification for environmentally friendly buildings. “We don’t just talk the talk; we walk the walk,” Gagnon added. “Our latest Excel Dryer corporate office expansion was LEED Gold-certified.”

In addition, the company touts its membership in the Green Building Initiative and the Sustainable Buildings Industry Council, and endorsements by the Green Restaurant and Green Hotels Assoc. and a listing on the GreenSpec guide to ecologically conscious building products.

“According to the EPA, one ton of paper towels requires 17 trees, pollutes 7,000 gallons of water, and takes up 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space,” Gagnon noted. “This is just too taxing on our environment. We need to find better, sustainable solutions. Going green is no longer just a movement; it’s becoming the expectation, and we are proud to be a catalyst for positive change.”

In addition, Excel is an original seed sponsor of the Green Apple Day of Service, a program of Green Apple, a cause-marketing initiative of the USGBC Center for Green Schools.

“Three years ago, they launched a national day of service, challenging school officials to improve education facilities and promote a safer, healthier, and more sustainable place to learn,” he explained, adding that Excel has participated each year by donating custom-covered Green Apple XLERATOR hand dryers to schools around the world. The Green Apple dryers are available for any facility to purchase, and a part of the proceeds goes back to support the Green Apple initiative. The next day of service is scheduled for Sept. 25.

“As awareness of green industry has grown, so has our business,” he said, “and we look forward to continue partnering with green-industry thought leaders and organizations to continue building momentum.”

(Rest)room for Growth

To that end, Gagnon anticipates sharing more developments in the coming year, from a hand-dryer model compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act to a new, integrated sink system that features the latest XLERATOR technology.

“We continue to focus on innovative solutions for the industry,” he told BusinessWest. And with so many commercial spaces still dependent on paper, he knows there are plenty of minds left to change.


Joseph Bednar can be reached at [email protected]

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

BUCKLAND

48 Prospect St.
Buckland, MA 01338
Amount: $120,000
Buyer: Grinnell Real Estate LLC
Seller: Barry L. Nye
Date: 02/04/15

DEERFIELD

32 Sawmill Plain Road
Deerfield, MA 01373
Amount: $280,000
Buyer: Thaddeus W. Jarowski
Seller: David A. Degon
Date: 02/05/15

GREENFIELD

182 Chapman St.
Greenfield, MA 01301
Amount: $127,000
Buyer: Sherlene N. Taylor
Seller: Paula D. Drown
Date: 02/04/15

280 Deerfield St.
Greenfield, MA 01301
Amount: $235,000
Buyer: Patrick S. Fields
Seller: Keith D. Ranney
Date: 01/29/15

48 Elm St.
Greenfield, MA 01301
Amount: $160,000
Buyer: Gavin R. Lofland
Seller: Shawn A. Coates
Date: 01/30/15

20 Pine St.
Greenfield, MA 01301
Amount: $142,000
Buyer: Douglas T. Patterson
Seller: Joan Ward
Date: 01/30/15

22 Rockland Road
Greenfield, MA 01301
Amount: $265,000
Buyer: Shawn A. Coates
Seller: Cromack, Clayton D., (Estate)
Date: 01/30/15

161 School St.
Greenfield, MA 01301
Amount: $152,000
Buyer: Scott M. Lehman
Seller: Jean P. Migeon
Date: 01/30/15

119 Shelburne Road
Greenfield, MA 01301
Amount: $213,000
Buyer: Faith Kaemmerlen
Seller: Matthew D. Parody
Date: 01/29/15

123 Shelburne Road
Greenfield, MA 01301
Amount: $213,000
Buyer: Faith Kaemmerlen
Seller: Matthew D. Parody
Date: 01/29/15

HAWLEY

49 East Road
Hawley, MA 01339
Amount: $380,000
Buyer: James R. Schaefer
Seller: Edwin J. Berliner
Date: 01/26/15

LEYDEN

92 Simon Keets Road
Leyden, MA 01337
Amount: $220,500
Buyer: Erica L. Jensen
Seller: Peter S. Apostoles
Date: 01/30/15

MONTAGUE

58 Central St.
Montague, MA 01349
Amount: $165,000
Buyer: Allen Fowler
Seller: John W. Doran
Date: 02/03/15

10 Federal St.
Montague, MA 01349
Amount: $155,000
Buyer: Kimberly R. Niedzwiedz
Seller: Corrine E. Sysun
Date: 01/30/15

7-9 Franklin St.
Montague, MA 01349
Amount: $135,500
Buyer: Angela Smith-Laclaire
Seller: Toby A. Holmes
Date: 01/28/15

59 Hillside Road
Montague, MA 01351
Amount: $153,000
Buyer: American General Home Equity
Seller: Scott B. Walsh
Date: 01/26/15

54 Turnpike Road
Montague, MA 01376
Amount: $140,000
Buyer: Jean Walden
Seller: Patrick McCoy
Date: 01/28/15

NORTHFIELD

37 Pine St.
Northfield, MA 01360
Amount: $290,000
Buyer: Suzan J. Smith
Seller: William Labombard
Date: 01/30/15

ORANGE

24 Johnson Road
Orange, MA 01364
Amount: $138,000
Buyer: John D. Carey
Seller: Hometown Bank
Date: 02/05/15

47 Shelter St.
Orange, MA 01364
Amount: $155,000
Buyer: Joseph A. Easton
Seller: Workers Credit Union
Date: 02/03/15

SHELBURNE

Smead Hill Road
Shelburne, MA 01370
Amount: $162,000
Buyer: Rae Properties LLC
Seller: Susie L. Gribbell
Date: 02/06/15

SHUTESBURY

109 Pratt Corner Road
Shutesbury, MA 01072
Amount: $220,000
Buyer: Adam G. Black
Seller: Anjali B. Dziadzio
Date: 01/26/15

SUNDERLAND

85 Old Amherst Road
Sunderland, MA 01375
Amount: $239,700
Buyer: Joseph J. Delaney
Seller: Walter G. Bielunis
Date: 01/30/15

201 Plumtree Road
Sunderland, MA 01375
Amount: $362,000
Buyer: Edward H. Kaplan
Seller: William W. Wells
Date: 01/30/15

HAMPDEN COUNTY

AGAWAM

26 Hearthstone Dr.
Agawam, MA 01001
Amount: $298,000
Buyer: David Bolio
Seller: Barry J. Lafoe
Date: 02/03/15

62 Ramah Circle North
Agawam, MA 01001
Amount: $320,000
Buyer: Joseph F. Dempsey
Seller: Andra L. Fountain
Date: 01/30/15

38-40 River St.
Agawam, MA 01001
Amount: $155,000
Buyer: Eugeniu E. Corja
Seller: Raymond J. Nardi
Date: 01/30/15

632-634 Springfield St.
Agawam, MA 01030
Amount: $250,000
Buyer: Hemal K. Batteriwala
Seller: Pravin J. Patel
Date: 02/04/15

709 Suffield St.
Agawam, MA 01001
Amount: $177,000
Buyer: Rouhana C. Boulos
Seller: Michael A. Torcia
Date: 02/06/15

10 Woodside Dr.
Agawam, MA 01001
Amount: $250,000
Buyer: Carole J. Calabrese
Seller: Charles A. Calabrese
Date: 01/30/15

CHICOPEE

261 Arcade St.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Amount: $181,000
Buyer: Allan P. Cote
Seller: Ryan T. Matlasz
Date: 02/05/15

27 Baltic Ave.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Amount: $130,000
Buyer: Bradley T. Boulanger
Seller: Patricia A. Boulanger
Date: 02/04/15

179 Carew St.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Amount: $212,000
Buyer: Paul G. Beauchemin
Seller: Robert J. Axner
Date: 01/29/15

16 Chateaugay St.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Amount: $185,000
Buyer: Wieslaw Macko
Seller: Marlin Investments LLC
Date: 01/30/15

16 Davenport St.
Chicopee, MA 01013
Amount: $150,000
Buyer: Aimee Perreault
Seller: Barbara A. Claffey
Date: 02/06/15

4 Dobek Ave.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Amount: $219,020
Buyer: Household Finance Corp. 2
Seller: Eugene J. Gay
Date: 02/04/15

21 Dorrance St.
Chicopee, MA 01013
Amount: $127,000
Buyer: Robert Laquerre
Seller: Jamison Quist
Date: 02/03/15

10 Harvey St.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Amount: $242,300
Buyer: Robert Baron
Seller: Gary S. Toth
Date: 01/29/15

15 Henry St.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Amount: $122,000
Buyer: Justin A. Bergeron
Seller: Tara M. Abramowicz
Date: 01/30/15

21 Lyman Road
Chicopee, MA 01013
Amount: $172,000
Buyer: Robert F. Majkowski
Seller: Michael W. Dziekan
Date: 02/06/15

68 Marion St.
Chicopee, MA 01013
Amount: $175,000
Seller: Dorothy B. Swidrak
Date: 01/30/15

48 Mary St.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Amount: $176,900
Buyer: Carlton F. Crudup
Seller: Martyn Green
Date: 01/30/15

81 Mount Royal St.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Amount: $245,000
Buyer: Yvette Owusu
Seller: Darrel H. Seal
Date: 02/06/15

35 Parkwood Dr.
Chicopee, MA 01013
Amount: $145,000
Buyer: Jason M. Saletnik
Seller: Gregory S. Schlagel
Date: 01/30/15

91 Sherman Ave.
Chicopee, MA 01013
Amount: $182,000
Buyer: Elian A. Marquez
Seller: Yazmin Diaz
Date: 02/04/15

Willimansett Terrace
Chicopee, MA 01020
Amount: $142,000
Buyer: Taras Levchyk
Seller: Marilyn Crevier
Date: 02/06/15

EAST LONGMEADOW

56 Avery St.
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Amount: $284,500
Buyer: John W. Foster
Seller: Nu Way Homes Inc.
Date: 01/30/15

80 Braeburn Road
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Amount: $165,000
Buyer: Danielle Geoffrion
Seller: Heather J. Champagne
Date: 01/30/15

9 Capri Dr.
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Amount: $318,006
Buyer: Dino A. Isotti
Seller: Kent Pecoy & Sons Construction
Date: 02/05/15

11 Donamor Lane
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Amount: $219,500
Buyer: Gabrielle D. Ploss
Seller: Michael D. Smith
Date: 01/28/15

28 Edmund St.
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Amount: $125,000
Buyer: Nu Way Homes Inc.
Seller: Joyce A. Sibley
Date: 02/05/15

60 Highlandview Ave.
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Amount: $292,500
Buyer: Sean E. Roseburg
Seller: Michael Torcia
Date: 02/06/15

655 North Main St.
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Amount: $185,000
Buyer: Ambrose I. Mwea
Seller: Christensen, Ruth E., (Estate)
Date: 02/06/15

499 Somers Road
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Amount: $135,000
Buyer: Michael J. Germain
Seller: Shirley J. Hahn
Date: 01/28/15

GRANVILLE

241 North Lane
Granville, MA 01034
Amount: $245,000
Buyer: Adrian R. Bosley
Seller: Holly N. Doran
Date: 01/30/15

HAMPDEN

12 Andrew Circle
Hampden, MA 01036
Amount: $377,000
Buyer: Gary C. Roy
Seller: Stanley Czaplicki
Date: 01/29/15

HOLLAND

3 Lakeridge Dr.
Holland, MA 01521
Amount: $200,000
Buyer: Robert L. Jones
Seller: Daniel G. Lanza
Date: 02/06/15

HOLYOKE

42 Berkshire St.
Holyoke, MA 01040
Amount: $117,000
Buyer: Josue Arroyo
Seller: Rafael Arroyo
Date: 01/30/15

73 Brookline Ave.
Holyoke, MA 01040
Amount: $125,500
Buyer: Lindsey G. Brynjolfsson
Seller: Lee A. Bourdon
Date: 01/30/15

3-9 Brown Ave.
Holyoke, MA 01040
Amount: $700,000
Buyer: Makkah LLC
Seller: BDMG LLC
Date: 01/30/15

379 Linden St.
Holyoke, MA 01040
Amount: $225,000
Buyer: Debra Stosz
Seller: Michael M. Powell
Date: 02/06/15

45 Sterling Road
Holyoke, MA 01040
Amount: $260,000
Buyer: Thomas Drohan
Seller: Robert T. Clayton
Date: 01/30/15

32 Valley Hts.
Holyoke, MA 01040
Amount: $142,800
Buyer: Melissa S. Stearns
Seller: Thomas J. Ginley
Date: 01/30/15

LONGMEADOW

113 Albemarle Road
Longmeadow, MA 01106
Amount: $180,000
Buyer: David M. Morneau
Seller: Allen Sommer
Date: 01/30/15

9 Caravelle Dr.
Longmeadow, MA 01106
Amount: $275,000
Buyer: Charlotte Zeller
Seller: Shuo Xu
Date: 02/04/15

38 Chiswick St.
Longmeadow, MA 01106
Amount: $182,500
Buyer: Scott Humble
Seller: Howes, Arlene H., (Estate)
Date: 02/03/15

45 Exeter Ave.
Longmeadow, MA 01106
Amount: $470,000
Buyer: Jonathan R. Shayne
Seller: Wilson C. Mertens
Date: 01/30/15

45 Harwich Road
Longmeadow, MA 01106
Amount: $405,000
Buyer: Matthew B. Woodfield
Seller: Daniel L. Landry
Date: 01/29/15

61 Pinewood Dr.
Longmeadow, MA 01106
Amount: $440,000
Buyer: Sotiris Stamou
Seller: Anne S. Robinson
Date: 02/05/15

249 Redfern Dr.
Longmeadow, MA 01106
Buyer: Karl Schuhlen
Seller: Brian M. Axler
Date: 01/29/15

40 Sunset Lane
Longmeadow, MA 01106
Amount: $145,000
Buyer: FNMA
Seller: Clifford L. Lagassie
Date: 01/28/15

36 Warwick St.
Longmeadow, MA 01106
Amount: $288,000
Buyer: John M. Beattie
Seller: Katherine T. Lavallee
Date: 02/05/15

LUDLOW

19 Barre Dr.
Ludlow, MA 01056
Amount: $219,000
Buyer: Stephane L. Cloutier
Seller: Vestal, Concepcion, (Estate)
Date: 01/30/15

1623 Center St.
Ludlow, MA 01056
Amount: $273,000
Buyer: Edwin Torres
Seller: Stephen E. Alspach
Date: 02/05/15

483 Chapin St.
Ludlow, MA 01056
Amount: $200,000
Buyer: Eric R. Pollander
Seller: AMP Real Estate Group LLC
Date: 02/06/15

211 Holyoke St.
Ludlow, MA 01056
Amount: $178,000
Buyer: Laura J. Howland
Seller: Lori A. Braga
Date: 01/29/15

88 Kirkland Ave.
Ludlow, MA 01056
Amount: $176,700
Buyer: Karen Szlosek-Welch
Seller: Kirkland RT
Date: 01/30/15

48 Lehigh St.
Ludlow, MA 01056
Amount: $172,000
Buyer: Victoria C. Baines
Seller: Manuel C. Vitorino
Date: 02/06/15

250 Miller St.
Ludlow, MA 01056
Amount: $147,000
Buyer: Nicole V. Libiszewski
Seller: Bruschi, Karen M., (Estate)
Date: 01/28/15

126 Reynolds St.
Ludlow, MA 01056
Amount: $218,000
Buyer: Matthew D. Wrisley
Seller: Christopher C. Gregoire
Date: 02/04/15

133 Shawinigan Dr.
Ludlow, MA 01056
Amount: $120,000
Buyer: Windsor Locks FCU
Seller: Laura M. Castoe
Date: 02/03/15

153 Whitney St.
Ludlow, MA 01056
Amount: $170,000
Buyer: Kristie L. Learned
Seller: Paula L. Moretti
Date: 01/28/15

MONSON

23-1/2 Mechanic St.
Monson, MA 01057
Amount: $135,000
Buyer: Deborah F. McGorry
Seller: Keith L. Sisco
Date: 01/30/15

51 Wales Road
Monson, MA 01057
Amount: $185,000
Buyer: Andrew P. Beaulieu
Seller: Darryl R. Smart
Date: 01/28/15

MONTGOMERY

1 Jason Road
Montgomery, MA 01085
Amount: $284,000
Buyer: Matthew W. Freniere
Seller: Jeremy Horning
Date: 01/30/15

PALMER

2141 Baptist Hill Road
Palmer, MA 01069
Amount: $305,000
Buyer: Richard D. Carey
Seller: John B. Foley
Date: 01/30/15

12 Peterson Road
Palmer, MA 01069
Amount: $286,000
Buyer: Erik T. Kaiser
Seller: Stone Bear LLC
Date: 01/30/15

RUSSELL

51 Highland Ave.
Russell, MA 01071
Amount: $206,000
Buyer: Lee M. Kozikowski
Seller: Duane P. Desilets
Date: 01/30/15

SPRINGFIELD

350 Abbott St.
Springfield, MA 01118
Amount: $171,500
Buyer: Octavia D. Peterson
Seller: Ryan L. Mayhew
Date: 01/28/15

1237-1239 Berkshire Ave.
Springfield, MA 01151
Amount: $150,000
Buyer: Yellowbrick Property LLC
Seller: Yellowbrick Property LLC
Date: 02/03/15

130 Berkshire St.
Springfield, MA 01151
Amount: $185,000
Buyer: Northeast Center For Youth
Seller: Roger A. Gallagher
Date: 02/04/15

123 Bronson Terrace
Springfield, MA 01108
Amount: $170,000
Buyer: Rana Morton
Seller: Janet A. Crosier
Date: 01/30/15

113 Canton St.
Springfield, MA 01104
Amount: $115,000
Buyer: Beverly R. Mulvaney
Seller: David Cross
Date: 02/04/15

851 Carew St.
Springfield, MA 01104
Amount: $165,000
Buyer: Gary W. Keefe
Seller: Greenleaf Holdings Inc.
Date: 01/26/15

336 Central St.
Springfield, MA 01105
Amount: $155,000
Buyer: Karla Iborty
Seller: Viva Development LLC
Date: 01/30/15

84-86 Chapin Terrace
Springfield, MA 01107
Amount: $320,000
Buyer: Caraballo Realty LLC
Seller: Jose E. Llorens
Date: 02/04/15

40 Delmore St.
Springfield, MA 01109
Amount: $126,000
Buyer: John A. Lawton
Seller: Andre Houle
Date: 01/29/15

18 Denver St.
Springfield, MA 01109
Amount: $150,000
Buyer: Brandie L. Seymour
Seller: Tyrome M. Witherspoon
Date: 01/30/15

1157-1169 East Columbus Ave.
Springfield, MA 01105
Amount: $267,000
Buyer: 180 Redevelopment LLC
Seller: Theresa Dangelantonio
Date: 02/03/15

961 East Columbus Ave.
Springfield, MA 01105
Amount: $130,000
Buyer: Robert D. Ober
Seller: Sandon Realty LLC
Date: 02/05/15

43-45 Eagle St.
Springfield, MA 01107
Amount: $144,000
Buyer: Steven Al-Husseini
Seller: Little Eagle LLC
Date: 02/06/15

8 Fenway Dr.
Springfield, MA 01119
Amount: $144,900
Buyer: Kenneth Fontanez
Seller: Taylor McDonald
Date: 02/02/15

28 Freeman Terrace
Springfield, MA 01104
Amount: $118,466
Buyer: Bayview Loan Servicing
Seller: Herminio Perez
Date: 01/26/15

33 Homestead Ave.
Springfield, MA 01151
Amount: $145,000
Buyer: Daniel Delaney
Seller: Tatyana N. Bocharnikova
Date: 01/30/15

49 Lexington St.
Springfield, MA 01107
Amount: $175,403
Buyer: FNMA
Seller: Jose A. Rodriguez
Date: 02/02/15

79 Linnell St.
Springfield, MA 01104
Amount: $152,400
Buyer: David J. Abbott
Seller: Tammy E. Robinson
Date: 02/05/15

164 Lumae St.
Springfield, MA 01119
Amount: $153,900
Buyer: Steven F. Desantis
Seller: Theodore H. Knee
Date: 01/30/15

816-828 Main St.
Springfield, MA 01105
Amount: $228,000
Buyer: 816 Main Street RT
Seller: James F. Fenton
Date: 02/05/15

45 Malden St.
Springfield, MA 01108
Amount: $121,035
Buyer: AHAP LLC
Seller: JJS Capital Investment
Date: 01/26/15

90-92 Marlborough St.
Springfield, MA 01109
Amount: $124,900
Buyer: A To Z Property Mgmt. & Renovation
Seller: Hallerin Realty LLP
Date: 01/30/15

117 Middle St.
Springfield, MA 01104
Amount: $120,000
Buyer: Jovany Pinto
Seller: John H. Westcott
Date: 01/30/15

67-69 Norfolk St.
Springfield, MA 01109
Amount: $145,000
Buyer: Tessa T. Innis
Seller: CTL Realty LLC
Date: 01/28/15

15 Oakhurst St.
Springfield, MA 01104
Amount: $125,000
Buyer: Angel M. Bermudez
Seller: Milton B. Curry
Date: 01/30/15

33 Redden St.
Springfield, MA 01119
Amount: $135,000
Buyer: Ruth Roldan
Seller: Anne K. Ambrose
Date: 01/28/15

17 Spruceland Ave.
Springfield, MA 01108
Amount: $165,000
Buyer: Michael J. Fleming
Seller: Terrence O’Connell
Date: 02/03/15

51 Stratford Terrace
Springfield, MA 01108
Amount: $179,900
Buyer: Luis D. Burgos
Seller: William Raleigh
Date: 01/29/15

795 Sumner Ave.
Springfield, MA 01108
Amount: $157,000
Buyer: Veronica R. Garcia
Seller: William A. Dowell
Date: 01/30/15

50 Warehouse St.
Springfield, MA 01118
Amount: $800,000
Buyer: Electro Term Inc.
Seller: Center For Human Development Inc.
Date: 02/03/15

49 Washington Road
Springfield, MA 01108
Amount: $193,250
Buyer: Rosa M. Lopez
Seller: Stephen G. Smith
Date: 01/30/15

18 Wesson St.
Springfield, MA 01108
Amount: $118,000
Buyer: David Assarian
Seller: William P. Shamleffer
Date: 01/30/15

65 Westbrook Dr.
Springfield, MA 01129
Amount: $143,000
Buyer: Brenda I. Morales
Seller: Raco, Shirley E., (Estate)
Date: 02/04/15

77 Wilcox St.
Springfield, MA 01105
Amount: $133,000
Buyer: 180 Redevelopment LLC
Seller: Theresa Dangelantonio
Date: 02/03/15

138-140 Yale St.
Springfield, MA 01109
Amount: $125,000
Buyer: Tamara A. Williams
Seller: SAW Construction LLC
Date: 02/02/15

SOUTHWICK

168 College Hwy.
Southwick, MA 01077
Amount: $148,000
Buyer: Keith J. Hebig
Seller: Giuseppe Scuderi
Date: 02/04/15

22 Ferrin Dr.
Southwick, MA 01077
Amount: $324,200
Buyer: Charles J. Allessio
Seller: Kenneth Haar
Date: 01/29/15

69 Lakeview St.
Southwick, MA 01077
Amount: $142,000
Buyer: Ana Banari
Seller: US Bank
Date: 01/26/15

51 Mort Vining Road
Southwick, MA 01077
Amount: $459,000
Buyer: Brian M. Iserman
Seller: Urban J. Janssen
Date: 02/06/15

WALES

163 Monson Road
Wales, MA 01081
Amount: $226,706
Seller: Joseph W. Keifer
Date: 01/26/15

WEST SPRINGFIELD

181 Doty Circle
West Springfield, MA 01089
Amount: $307,500
Buyer: Gill Brothers LLC
Seller: Sergei Starosielski
Date: 02/03/15

28 Lombra Road
West Springfield, MA 01089
Amount: $168,000
Buyer: Livingstone LLC
Seller: Cella, Yvonne F., (Estate)

72 Lower Mass Ave.
West Springfield, MA 01089
Amount: $217,000
Buyer: Laura Scutt-Drohan
Seller: Ronald Raffenetti
Date: 01/30/15

346 Morgan Road
West Springfield, MA 01089
Amount: $149,000
Buyer: Mykola Mevshyy
Seller: Lesli McCellan
Date: 02/02/15

535 Piper Road
West Springfield, MA 01089
Amount: $135,000
Buyer: Sergey F. Gavel
Seller: Kozak, Robert C., (Estate)
Date: 02/03/15

WESTFIELD

23 Bush St.
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $150,000
Buyer: George Alvarez
Seller: Jason D. Desclos
Date: 01/28/15

48 Court St.
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $290,000
Buyer: Liquori Realty LLC
Seller: Douglas Clinic Inc.
Date: 01/28/15

95 Court St.
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $135,000
Buyer: T&S Holdings LLC
Seller: Cynthia E. Doel
Date: 01/30/15

560 East Main St.
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $2,300,000
Buyer: Westfield Bank
Seller: WBGLA Of Westfield MA LLC
Date: 02/06/15

587 East Main St.
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $2,300,000
Buyer: Westfield Bank
Seller: WBGLA Of Westfield MA LLC
Date: 02/06/15

31 Floral Ave.
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $129,000
Buyer: Tyler E. Hildack
Seller: FNMA
Date: 01/30/15

172 Holyoke Road
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $223,000
Buyer: Adam E. Abramowicz
Seller: Michelle Meyer
Date: 01/30/15

31 Kellogg St.
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $132,500
Buyer: Maria Malancea
Seller: Craig Filiault
Date: 01/30/15

78 Laura Dr.
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $205,000
Buyer: James A. Drost
Seller: James K. Mayne
Date: 01/30/15

26 Montgomery St.
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $132,300
Buyer: Ralph A. Mastello
Seller: Foucher, Elaine V., (Estate)
Date: 01/30/15

14 Southgate Ave.
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $218,000
Buyer: Lorraine M. Almeida
Seller: Home Run Properties LLC
Date: 02/03/15

20 Tekoa Terrace
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $155,000
Buyer: Timothy K. Derrig
Seller: Deirdre Johnson
Date: 01/30/15

43 Willow Brook Lane
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $323,000
Buyer: Duane P. Desilets
Seller: Lee M. Kozikowski
Date: 01/30/15

WILBRAHAM

41 Brainard Road
Wilbraham, MA 01095
Amount: $227,650
Buyer: Sara M. Bronner
Seller: Justin Kochanowski
Date: 02/06/15

75 Cherry Dr.
Wilbraham, MA 01095
Amount: $340,240
Buyer: Neil W. Bennett
Seller: 2301 Boston Road LLC
Date: 01/30/15

2 Cliffside Dr.
Wilbraham, MA 01095
Amount: $195,000
Buyer: Kaitlin S. Romaniak
Seller: O’Neil, Agnes T., (Estate)
Date: 01/29/15

2 Leemond St.
Wilbraham, MA 01095
Amount: $240,000
Buyer: Michael S. Larson
Seller: Robert F. Pabis
Date: 01/26/15

444 Soule Road
Wilbraham, MA 01095
Amount: $179,000
Buyer: Carianne E. Haluch
Seller: Tamsey, Dorothy M., (Estate)
Date: 01/30/15

553 Springfield St.
Wilbraham, MA 01095
Amount: $265,000
Buyer: Scott J. Beeman
Seller: Leslie P. Lohnes
Date: 01/30/15

4 Webster Lane
Wilbraham, MA 01095
Amount: $615,000
Buyer: Daniel Chalifour
Seller: Michael J. Thompson
Date: 01/30/15

HAMPSHIRE COUNTY

AMHERST

1260 Bay Road
Amherst, MA 01002
Amount: $152,500
Buyer: Renata Smith
Seller: Bank Of America
Date: 02/04/15

245 East Hadley Road
Amherst, MA 01002
Amount: $185,000
Buyer: Edwin E. Cruz
Seller: Mary E. Dizek
Date: 01/30/15

East Leverett Road
Amherst, MA 01002
Amount: $240,000
Buyer: MKM Investments LLC
Seller: Barry L. Roberts
Date: 01/30/15

27 Greenleaves Dr.
Amherst, MA 01002
Amount: $214,200
Buyer: Sarah J. Emans
Seller: Amhad Development Corp.
Date: 01/26/15

BELCHERTOWN

248 Amherst Road
Belchertown, MA 01007
Amount: $129,000
Buyer: Jason Gagnon
Seller: FNMA
Date: 01/30/15

240 Barton Ave.
Belchertown, MA 01007
Amount: $377,500
Buyer: Oscar A. Martinez
Seller: Christopher M. Buell
Date: 02/06/15

16 Emily Lane
Belchertown, MA 01002
Amount: $421,509
Buyer: Renee E. Drysdale
Seller: JP Builders Inc.
Date: 01/28/15

North Liberty St.
Belchertown, MA 01007
Amount: $130,000
Buyer: Pioneer Valley Custom Homes
Seller: Dudek, Sebastian E., (Estate)
Date: 02/06/15

369 State St.
Belchertown, MA 01007
Amount: $210,810
Buyer: Bradley M. Marszalkowski
Seller: Scott A. Anderson
Date: 02/02/15

CUMMINGTON

Berkshire Trail
Cummington, MA 01026
Amount: $700,000
Buyer: T&J Stone Properties LLC
Seller: MJW Properties LLC
Date: 01/28/15

EASTHAMPTON

18-20 Arlington St.
Easthampton, MA 01027
Amount: $194,400
Buyer: FHLM
Seller: Edwin J. Jeliciano
Date: 02/02/15

22 Hannum Brook Dr.
Easthampton, MA 01027
Amount: $258,000
Buyer: Stephanie E. Flaherty
Seller: Richard S. Lyman
Date: 02/03/15

55 Holyoke St.
Easthampton, MA 01027
Amount: $167,547
Buyer: US Bank
Seller: Rebecca L. Skubiszewski
Date: 01/30/15

295 Main St.
Easthampton, MA 01027
Amount: $190,000
Buyer: Martha L. Smith
Seller: Lewis, Barbara B., (Estate)
Date: 02/04/15

28 Paul St.
Easthampton, MA 01027
Amount: $335,500
Buyer: Margaret Kennedy-Nelson
Seller: David Garstka Builders
Date: 01/30/15

75 West St.
Easthampton, MA 01027
Amount: $149,500
Buyer: Kyle R. Kazunas
Seller: Eleanor J. Lussier
Date: 01/29/15

17 Westview Terrace
Easthampton, MA 01027
Amount: $230,000
Buyer: Sigmond A. Wernik LT
Seller: Craig, Jeffrey D., (Estate)
Date: 01/29/15

HADLEY

121 Rocky Hill Road
Hadley, MA 01035
Amount: $329,000
Buyer: Pamela A. Mandler
Seller: Jeanne E. Ammon
Date: 01/26/15

NORTHAMPTON

406 Acrebrook Dr.
Northampton, MA 01062
Amount: $210,000
Buyer: Jeffrey D. Maciborski
Seller: James F. Natale
Date: 01/28/15

39 Fair St.
Northampton, MA 01060
Amount: $225,000
Buyer: Stella Pang
Seller: Zewski, Stanley V., (Estate)
Date: 01/30/15

5 Garfield Ave.
Northampton, MA 01062
Amount: $116,660
Buyer: Christopher A. Wolcott
Seller: Pioneer Valley Habitat
Date: 01/29/15

591 Kennedy Road
Northampton, MA 01053
Amount: $386,000
Buyer: Jacqueline M. Urbanovic
Seller: Maureen F. Dwyer
Date: 01/30/15

103 Moser St.
Northampton, MA 01060
Amount: $404,815
Buyer: Johanna F. Silva
Seller: Kent Pecoy & Sons Construction
Date: 02/06/15

202 North Main St.
Northampton, MA 01062
Amount: $125,000
Buyer: Joslad & Associates PC
Seller: Robert G. Cromley
Date: 02/06/15

1163 Westhampton Road
Amount: $155,000
Buyer: Michael Baffaro
Seller: Hamelin, Kathryn J., (Estate)
Date: 01/30/15

33 Wilson Ave.
Northampton, MA 01060
Amount: $610,000
Buyer: Kathryn M. Reagan-Talbot
Seller: Aquadro FT
Date: 01/30/15

SOUTH HADLEY

18 Central Ave.
South Hadley, MA 01075
Amount: $152,250
Buyer: Blaney Y. Sabbs
Seller: Karen L. Szlosek-Welch
Date: 01/30/15

55 Chestnut Hill Road
South Hadley, MA 01075
Amount: $330,000
Buyer: Timothy J. Parsons
Seller: Richard D. Tufo
Date: 01/30/15

4 Pershing Ave.
South Hadley, MA 01075
Amount: $233,000
Buyer: Kerry L. Hussey
Seller: Sheri L. Parsons
Date: 01/30/15

15 Richview Ave.
South Hadley, MA 01075
Amount: $159,000
Buyer: Stephen A. Foster
Seller: Jonathan L. Burdick
Date: 01/30/15

14 Riverlodge Road
South Hadley, MA 01075
Amount: $351,300
Buyer: Daniel J. Pawlowski
Seller: Patrick J. Spring
Date: 02/03/15

SOUTHAMPTON

4 Belanger Road
Southampton, MA 01073
Amount: $155,500
Buyer: Joseph Gebo
Seller: Kennedy, James F., (Estate)
Date: 01/29/15

46 Coleman Road
Southampton, MA 01073
Amount: $120,000
Buyer: Berkshire Omega Corp.
Seller: John J. Marcyoniak
Date: 02/05/15

362 College Hwy.
Southampton, MA 01073
Amount: $140,000
Buyer: Matthew R. Boulanger
Seller: Daniel Canning
Date: 01/30/15

7 Nicholas Lane
Southampton, MA 01085
Amount: $142,000
Buyer: Anne M. Polatol
Seller: Czelusniak Custom Homes
Date: 02/03/15

Nicholas Lane #6
Southampton, MA 01073
Amount: $610,436
Buyer: Stanislav Adzigirey
Seller: James F. Boyle
Date: 02/06/15

104 Pomeroy Meadow Road
Southampton, MA 01073
Amount: $245,000
Buyer: Stacy L. Moran
Seller: Patricia R. Hagelstein

WARE

31 West Main St.
Ware, MA 01082
Amount: $135,900
Buyer: Sarah M. Desroches
Seller: Christiansen FT
Date: 01/29/15

WESTHAMPTON

212 Northwest Road
Westhampton, MA 01027
Amount: $385,000
Buyer: Garth Stevenson
Seller: Jane A. Lattes
Date: 01/26/15

WORTHINGTON

50 River Road
Worthington, MA 01098
Amount: $513,000
Buyer: Lisa A. Ouellet
Seller: Mary A. Raynor
Date: 01/26/15

Briefcase Departments

Cathedral High School, Holyoke Catholic to Merge
SPRINGFIELD — Cathedral High School and Holyoke Catholic High School will be merged into a new, regional Catholic High School under a plan announced yesterday by Mitchell Rozanski, bishop of the Diocese of Springfield. While the site of the merged school has not been determined, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno and other Cathedral supporters are still pushing for the school to be rebuilt on the tornado-damaged Surrey Road location where Cathedral had been located. “No concepts other than a new regional school have been decided,” Rozanski said, noting that Surrey Road is one of several options that will be investigated. The bishop wants the two schools’ students to be merged in a temporary location by the fall of 2016, and for a permanent school to be completed by the fall of 2017, adding that insurance money from the tornado, plus $29 million in Federal Emergency Emergency Management Agency aid, will fund the construction. “The city of Springfield has supported Cathedral at its temporary home in Wilbraham by providing over $1 million of support in busing as well as assisting with locations for athletic practices and events. We will continue to support Cathedral as long as rebuilding on Surrey Road remains the plan,” Sarno said. “I am hopeful that Bishop Rozanski and the diocese will live up to their commitment made by Bishop [Timothy] McDonnell to rebuild Cathedral, where it belongs, on Surrey Road. The extended Cathedral family and neighborhood deserve nothing less.” Since the June 1, 2011, tornado severely damaged Cathedral, its 400 students were relocated to the former Memorial School in Wilbraham, where the diocese has been renting space; enrollment has since declined to just over 200. Meanwhile, Holyoke Catholic was forced to move from its namesake city in 2002 when its building was declared unsafe. After setting up at the former St. Hyacinth College and Seminary in Granby for four years, the school, which has about 250 students, moved into the former Assumption School on Springfield Street in Chicopee, opposite Elms College, in 2006.

Governor Announces New Panel on Opioids
BOSTON — As the number of deaths from opioid-related overdoses rises, Gov. Charlie Baker is taking is appointing a 16-member working group assigned the task of putting together “specific, targeted, and tangible recommendations” by May to stem the tide. The group will be led by Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Healey, and include individuals working in government, law enforcement, and addiction treatment. As he made the announcement, Baker stood in front of a display bearing alarming statistics, including the 978 deaths attributed to opioid-related overdoses in 2013, a 46% increase from the year before. Baker, who pledged to provide quarterly data on overdoses, said the 2014 death toll would be available in April. The working group will hold public meetings, assess the resources devoted to the problem, and make specific recommendations.

MGM Announces Parking-lot Closings
SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield Business Improvement District (SBID) issued a reminder that changes are coming as MGM closes several downtown parking lots. These parking-lot closures, which monthly parkers were notified of six weeks ago, will require downtown workers to seek alternative parking solutions. “We understand this is not convenient for some,” said Chris Russell, SBID executive director, “but we are working very hard to make sure solutions are available. To that end, we will have SBID ambassadors on hand Monday to direct parkers to alternative lots. In addition, we are working alongside the Springfield Parking Authority, ProPark, Valet Park of America, Executive Parking, various private lots, and the mayor’s office to make sure all needs are accommodated.” Also, he went on, “the Springfield Business Improvement District is trying to work on organizing a shuttle from alternative lots outside of downtown.” In the meantime, in an effort to make this process as easy as possible, MGM Springfield has agreed to keep a few select lots open for a while longer as details are sorted out. The SBID is encouraging all individuals who are monthly parkers in downtown to not wait, but rather look for new parking as soon as possible. For continued updates on the shuttle and other related downtown news, visit the Springfield Business Improvement District’s website at www.springfielddowntown.com or follow the SBID on Facebook.
 
ACCGS Releases Legislative Agenda
SPRINGFIELD — The Affiliated Chamber of Commerce of Greater Springfield (ACCGS) has released its 2015 legislative agenda, addressing the major legislative issues intended to strengthen business competitiveness, lower business costs, and stimulate growth in the Greater Springfield region. The agenda touches upon key issues in the areas of tax policy, workplace ethics, healthcare, and workforce development. The ACCGS will continue to update the legislative agenda throughout the session so to stay current with the evolving nature of the region. With revenues growing at a 4.5% rate, the chamber will focus on how those revenues are prioritized and spent in the areas of Gateway Cities, infrastructure, and local aid. The chamber continues to work hard in making the region competitive when it comes to the costs of doing business, and is addressing issues in the workplace with a focus on mandated sick leave, unemployment insurance, treble damage, and non-compete legislation. Healthcare costs are a major priority in this session’s agenda and remain a point of concern for the chamber and its members. The chamber will focus its efforts on addressing the federal Affordable Care Act, mandated benefits, and insurance disbursements. With more than 6,000 pieces of legislation filed at the commencement of the session on Jan. 1, the ACCGS will be monitoring the progress of these bills to better assert its position throughout the 2015-16 legislative session.

UMass Researcher Teams with Chinese Inventor on New Antibiotics
AMHERST — Margaret Riley, an evolutionary biologist at UMass Amherst and pioneer in fighting antibiotic-resistant bacteria, announced this week that she is partnering with a Chinese scientist to develop a new drug platform, pheromonicins. The Chinese government is committing $400 million per year to support the newly created Pheromonicin Institute of Beijing. Riley plans to open a sister institute in the Amherst area. “At this point, I will be doing the work in Beijing,” Riley says. “Later, as we sort out details and opportunities for U.S. funding support, we may be able to bring some of the work to the Pioneer Valley.” After trying unsuccessfully for years to find funding to study and develop a more effective method of treating catheter-related urinary-tract infections (UTIs) that are resistant to current antibiotics, she was contacted by Dr. Xiao-Qing Qiu, the inventor of pheromonicins, who asked if she was interested in collaborating with his government-supported lab. Riley now plans to collaborate with Xiu to develop his powerful new drugs there instead of in the U.S. “I want to solve the problem, and if I have to fly to Beijing to do my animal trials, that’s what I’ll have to do,” she said. The short-term goal is to focus on a new treatment for UTI, but the ultimate goal is to increase the number of effective therapeutic drugs and strategies to combat drug resistance in quickly evolving diseases such as HIV, TB, malaria, cancer, and cystic fibrosis. “One of the things that people don’t realize is how significant drug resistance is in the disease process. It’s only in the past 10 or 15 years we have begun to understand the way drug resistance arises at the molecular level,” Riley noted. “Drug resistance is at the core of many of these diseases, and their ability to stay ahead of and stymie our efforts at eradicating them is extremely serious.” Antibiotics are the primary weapons against harmful bacteria like those that cause strep throat, but they have become less effective in recent years because the bacteria can evolve into ‘superbugs,’ new strains resistant to most antibiotics. A recent pledge announced by President Obama to give $1.2 billion across a half-dozen agencies to classify and monitor antibiotic-resistant bacteria, discover new antibiotics, and improve prescribing methods highlights the importance of such efforts. “I think the president’s initiative is phenomenal and long overdue,” Riley said, adding that the biggest chunk of money allotted to the effort as part of the 2016 budget proposal, nearly $1 billion, will go to the Department of Health and Human Services, which will effectively double the agency’s funding over 2015 levels, she notes. Many observers in recent years thought that new antibiotics would be discovered in time so doctors wouldn’t need to worry about resistance, Riley acknowledges. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that antibiotic-resistant bacteria now cause 2 million illnesses and 23,000 deaths a year in the U.S. Riley feels that’s a conservative estimate, and the real number of deaths is likely double or triple that. The economic price is high as well, she added, as much as $20 billion a year in healthcare costs and $35 billion in lost worker productivity. Further, the antibiotics doctors employ now use a “shotgun approach,” she explained, that targets healthy as well as harmful bacteria. “With this method, when people take antibiotics, the drugs also kill beneficial bacteria in our bodies that we need for good health. This can do more harm than good, especially for children who take antibiotics while young and may carry long-term damage to their microbiome.”

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — MGM Resorts International announced that Brian Packer has been named vice president of Development and Construction for MGM Springfield. Additionally, MGM Springfield is inviting contractors in mass excavation; underground mechanical, electrical, plumbing (MEPs), and site utilities; and foundation and waterproofing services to attend meetings to learn more about contractor opportunities for early work.

This heightened activity was announced a day before the Massachusetts Gaming Commission is scheduled to meet in Springfield to get a more detailed construction update from the company, and as the MGM Springfield team makes preparations for a March 24 groundbreaking event.

As part of the MGM Resorts development team, which provides oversight and construction management on all regional and international integrated-resort projects, Packer will provide executive oversight for all aspects of construction and program-management activities at MGM Springfield.

He has been an owner’s representative for MGM Resorts for more than 10 years, specializing in large, complex design and construction projects. He most recently served as director of Design and Construction. While in this role, he assembled the team that helped open ARIA Resort & Casino, one of the largest private developments of its kind.

“Our team designs and delivers the most distinct hospitality properties in the world,” said Michael Mathis, MGM Springfield president. “Brian is the right person to assist in developing MGM Springfield, the largest development in Springfield and one of the largest in the region’s history.”

Added Packer, “I was thrilled to have been asked to come to Springfield on behalf of MGM. Our company has been abuzz about the revolutionary and integrated downtown design and what we hope to accomplish for the Western Massachusetts region. I look forward to working together with our local partners to achieve this new vision for Springfield.”

The construction of MGM Springfield will offer opportunities in a wide range of property components, such as early work and off-site work for the garage, casino, hotel tower, and retail plaza. Each component will allow for various bid opportunities for local contractors, in both prime and sub roles. MGM has and will continue to advertise additional opportunities for future construction packages as they become available. Interested bidders will learn about the scope of work, how to participate in the pre-qualification process, and MGM Springfield’s policy on minority contractors, vendors, and purchasing.

“As certain aspects of the construction phase become the next priority, we will roll out this meeting process to get the right people for each piece of this design,” Mathis said. “Every introductory meeting has the potential to put workers on site and bring new life in the South End of Springfield. We want to have as many conversations as possible.”

The upcoming information appointments will take place at the MGM Springfield Community Office located at 1441 Main St. Contractors must schedule an appointment ahead of time to avail a 30-minute slot. Walk-in appointments are discouraged. Mass excavation appointments will be scheduled for Thursday, March 12; underground MEPs and site-utilities appointments will be scheduled for Thursday, March 19; and foundation and waterproofing appointments will be scheduled for Thursday, March 26. Call the MGM Springfield Community Office at (413) 735-3000 to make an appointment or for additional information regarding these opportunities. The first wave of construction at MGM Springfield will begin soon after the groundbreaking.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno and the Office of Planning & Economic Development have officially announced the establishment of the Casino Liaison Office.

In order to meet the requirements of the Gaming Act found under Section 96 of Chapter 194 of the Acts of 2011, a host community is required to take action to help coordinate and expedite local permitting of a gaming facility. The Casino Liaison Office will act similar to a local permitting ombudsman to help coordinate and expedite local permitting of the development. The role of this office is to work with MGM Springfield and its construction-management team to resolve the myriad issues likely to occur during the construction period and to help streamline city permitting.

This office will be in existence for a short time covering the period of construction and the first year of operation, with an expected span of 39 months. It will be overseen by Kevin Kennedy, the city’s chief development officer, and will be staffed by Al Chwalek, retired director of the Department of Public Works, and attorney James Hannifan.

The Casino Liaison Office will coordinate the efforts of the various city departments involved in the development and construction of the casino project and serve as an information resource for the developer and as a representative and facilitator for developer in the processing of its permitting, licensing, and regulatory approvals.

“Due to the size and complexity of this multi-million-dollar project, it is imperative that the city provide a direct point of contact as we move forward with the realization of this tremendous economic-development project for the city of Springfield,” said Sarno. “Both Al and Jim have direct knowledge of the development process and will be instrumental in making sure that, when issues arise, they can be dealt with directly and in a timely manner to ensure this project stays on track.”

In addition to the Casino Liaison Office staff, Sarno will also be bringing together a number of key departments as part of a casino-development team. This team will include the Office of Planning & Economic Development, Department of Public Works, Law Department, Building Department, Police Department, Fire Department, Water & Sewer Commission, and Office of Administration and Finance.

As part of this team, the city will also be re-engaging the services of a number of outside casino-related consultants. These include Fuss & O’Neil, a local traffic-engineering consultant; the Chicago Consultants Studio Inc., a Chicago-based planning firm, which will review site-planning-related issues; and Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP, formerly Shefsky & Froelich Ltd., for its expertise concerning legal matters relating to the gaming industry.

The city will fund the office staff through payments received in conjunction with the host-community agreement. Outside consultants used for their expertise will be funded pursuant to the terms of the agreement, which obligate the developer to pay development process cost fees.

“As we did during the casino-review process, the city wants to ensure that we have a transparent and open process and that we also have the most qualified people to help guide one of the largest development projects in the city’s history,” Kennedy said. “This team of city departments and consultants, which will also be fully available to the City Council as part of their review, will help to play a major role in the permitting process and provide much-needed input as we look forward in anticipation of the casino’s opening in 2017.”

Community Spotlight Features
In Amherst, Public, Private Investments Bear Fruit

John Musante

John Musante says development projects that include incubator space bode well for the town’s future.

Town Manager John Musante says a plan to position downtown Amherst as a center for innovation is gaining momentum.

“One of the keys is to make it an attractive place where people can live, play, and start and grow a business,” he told BusinessWest, adding that the town is doing all it can to redevelop its downtown and strengthen its relationships with UMass Amherst, Amherst College, and Hampshire College.

A recently released report from the 24-member Town Gown Steering Committee, titled “The UMass/Town of Amherst Housing and Economic Development Plan,” outlines strategies, interventions, and recommendations to enhance the overall desirability and affordability of living and working in Amherst. The report is based on an analysis conducted by consultant U3 Advisors that cites the need for an increase in quality housing for UMass students, faculty, and staff that will lead to a stable balance and strengthen neighborhoods, as well as an expansion of the tax base, which could be achieved by encouraging entrepreneurial and research endeavors and targeting opportunities to support the business sector.

The special committee formed by UMass Amherst and the town of Amherst to address the common housing and economic-development opportunities delivered its final recommendations only two months ago. But a number of significant public and private investments over the past year have already led to change that will help bring the plan to fruition.

“Overall, 2014 was a breakthrough year for Amherst,” Musante said, citing examples of how public funding and private investment have worked together to pave a pathway to success.

Last October, the town was awarded a $1.5 million MassWorks Economic Development Grant to bury the utility lines in the north end of its downtown, which will allow investors maximum use of any available property.

Meanwhile, Archipelago Investments LLC in Amherst has become a major player in that neighborhood and has ambitious plans to build two major, mixed-use, LEED-certified buildings there. The first is a five-story structure called Kendrick Place, which is under construction on a vacant lot on the corner of Triangle and East Pleasant streets across from Kendrick Park.

The ground floor will contain commercial space and a café, while the upper stories will house 36 luxury apartments with floor-to-ceiling glass, white-oak hardwood floors, stainless-steel appliances, and views of UMass and Amherst College. “We are tremendously excited about Kendrick Place,” Musante said.

The project is expected to be complete in August and is the second of its kind in Amherst by developers Kyle Wilson and David Williams, who invested $4 million into Boltwood Place, which opened in 2012 in the back of Judie’s Restaurant, featuring 12 loft apartments in a LEED-certified, award-winning, mixed-use building with 650 square feet of retail space on the ground floor.

Two months ago, Archipelago received approval from the planning board to build a third mixed-use, five-story building called One East Pleasant near Kendrick Place, on the site of the old Carriage Shops, which have been deteriorating for some time.

Plans call for demolition of the 52-year-old structure originally built as a motel before it was converted into shops in the 1970s, along with two additional buildings that house the Loose Goose Cafe and the law offices of Seewald, Jankowski & Spencer.

One East Pleasant will contain commercial and retail space on the ground floor and about 80 apartments on the upper stories. “The permits for the building have been approved. There is one ongoing appeal which will result in a short delay, but the goal is to have it built and occupied by 2017,” Musante said.

Both Kendrick Place and One East Pleasant will contain incubator and maker space on their ground floors.

“It’s an exciting component, and the developer is working with the town, the university, and the Business Improvement District to attract research and development spinoffs,” Musante said, adding that the report generated by the Town Gown Steering Committee shows UMass spent $194 million on research in FY 2013, and although 24 patents and 21 license and option agreements were issued, little of this potential was realized locally. Reasons cited include Amherst’s lack of space for startups, along with a lack of community among those that do exist.

Musante believes having incubator space close to the UMass campus in buildings where people can also live and play has real potential for the town, and free wi-fi and Internet service available downtown will also help to position it as an innovation district.

Sarah la Cour agreed. “Combining business and social space will make it easier for spinoffs coming out of the university,” said the executive director of the BID, as she explained that the business community is doing its part to promote downtown as a walkable, livable center.

Variety of Undertakings

The town adopted an innovative master plan in 2010, and Musante said one of its primary focuses is to concentrate on development downtown and in the village centers of North Amherst, East Amherst, Pomeroy, and Atkins Corner. “The plan contains an anti-sprawl, smart-growth strategy.”

La Cour concurred, saying this is important because the town wants to preserve its farmland.

“We want to balance and protect our natural resources while creating more density downtown and in our village centers, and the types of projects envisioned in the Town Gown report follow the same principles as the master plan,” she noted. “And we are seeing that vision begin to take shape. Things have really moved forward in the last year or two, and since zoning was passed in 2012 to increase density downtown, we’ve seen private investment that will create incredible opportunities for an innovation district on the doorstep of the Commonwealth’s flagship campus.”

Private investment is also occurring in North Amherst, and W.D. Cowls Kamins and Jones Group Realtors have been seeking partners to build what they are calling the ‘Mill District’ in a one-block radius on the commercially zoned 10-acre former sawmill and Trolley Depot site in hopes that it will become a center for arts and entertainment.

Developer Cinda Jones built and opened the Trolley Barn there in December. It contains retail space on the ground floor and four large apartments above.

“The commercial space is completely occupied, and a salon and breakfast place in the Trolley Barn have become part of the village,” Musante said. “Jones Library has a branch in the Mill District, and there is a recreation area within walking distance. As a result, more and more people are becoming excited about its potential as a gathering place for families and young people.”

He added that Atkins Farm Market plans to open a satellite location in the former Cow Barn there this summer after it finishes renovating the formerly vacant structure. “There are also other opportunities available within the footprint.”

But ultimately, Amherst is a college town, he continued. In addition to UMass, it is also home to Amherst College and Hampshire College, and Musante said they are all making investments in the future, which include the two new science buildings UMass has put up over the past five years. “There has been a lot of positive momentum under the leadership of Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy, and the university has been working collaboratively with the town,” he said. “Amherst College, which sits at the edge of town, has also been active in the BID and is an incredibly ambitious partner. They are planning to build a $200 million state-of-the-art science center and have some residential housing under construction.”

In addition, Hampshire College President Jonathan Lash is an internationally recognized expert on practical solutions to global sustainability, climate change, and development challenges. “He has really been positioning the college as a leader in environmental education and sustainability,” Musante said.

Hampshire’s R.W. Kern Center, which is under construction, is one of only a handful of buildings in the country that meet the rigorous requirements of the Living Building Challenge. “Jonathan is re-imaging the campus, and this will become the portal building,” said Musante, noting that it will house the admissions office.

The 50-year-old Hitchcock Center for the Environment in Amherst is also active in town and is in the middle of a capital campaign to build a new facility on the Hampshire College campus, which will be another Living Building.

Solid Ground

Musante said the development projects that were a dream when the master plan was created five years ago are beginning to be realized.

“Two studies completed in 2013-14 show pent-up demand for housing, and the new projects by Archipelago Investments will meet that demand,” he told BusinessWest. “Kendrick Place will become the gateway to our downtown, and we are expecting a wide range of tenants: college and university faculty and staff members, young retirees, and some students. We are a college town, so having more residential units in the center is key to strengthening the entire BID, as it will increase foot traffic downtown.”

The Town Gown Steering Committee recommended creating a University-Town of Amherst Collaborative to continue their combined efforts, and also suggested the town would benefit from hiring an economic-development director.

Musante said he and Subbaswamy will announce the next steps they will take in the weeks ahead, and he included funds to pay for an economic-development director in his budget recommendation.

“We are working to build relationships and strengthen our partnerships and have all the permitting processes we need to bring great concepts and ideas to reality,” Musante said in conclusion. “Amherst and its downtown are really on the way to becoming an innovation hub. We plan to leverage the research and development spinoffs from UMass, and we have a road map for the town to reach its full potential. The momentum here is palpable; it’s a tremendously exciting time.”

Amherst at a glance

Year Incorporated: 1759
Population: 37,819 (2010)

Area: 27.8 square miles

County: Hampshire

Residential Tax Rate: $20.54
Commercial Tax Rate: $20.54
Median Household Income: $53,191
Family Household Income: $96,733
Type of government: Select Board, Town Meeting
Largest Employers: UMass Amherst; Amherst College; Delivery Express; Hampshire College
* Latest information available

Employment Sections
NLRB’s Joint-employer Campaign Provides Some Food for Thought

By PETER VICKERY

Is a franchisor liable for the labor practices of a franchisee? Are they joint employers? No, not according to the law. The franchisee is the employer, not the franchisor. But you would never guess that from the attitude of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Together, these two agencies are trying to foist labor-practices liability onto parties whose business models are predicated on its absence.

Peter Vickery

Peter Vickery

The joint-employer concept is a creature of the common law, which is a flexible thing, evolving on a case-by-case basis to meet society’s changing needs. But some areas of law achieve a certain degree of stability, which makes life in general (and business in particular) more predictable. One such area of settled law is the relationship between franchisees and the people they employ.

For more than three decades, the NLRB and the courts have applied the principle that the franchisee — not the franchisor — is the employer of the individuals who work in the franchisee’s place of business. If a franchisor actually exercised significant control over the terms and conditions of employment — such as hiring and firing decisions, rates of pay, day-to-day supervision, and scheduling — the story would be different. In the absence of that control, franchisees and franchisors are not joint employers.

But now, the NLRB is pursuing charges against franchisors for the alleged labor practices of franchisees, asserting that they are joint employers.

Certainly, a franchisor has to involve itself in aspects of a franchisee’s operations in order to police and protect the brand. Depending on the provisions of the intellectual-property agreement, this can entail monitoring and instructing a franchisee’s employees with regard to quality control. But that kind of involvement, no matter how deep, does not constitute significant control over labor relations. Nevertheless, the NLRB asserts that it does.

The first targets in the board’s crosshairs are McDonald’s and Browning-Ferris Industries. The goal is to make it easier for unions to organize fast-food employees and temporary workers hired by staffing agencies.

Just to be clear, the law has not changed. In 1982 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit articulated the sufficient-control standard, and two recent rulings from California reiterated the point that franchisors and franchisees are not joint employers. The rules governing how the NLRB defines the term ‘joint employer’ are the same as well. What has changed, however, is the identity of the NLRB’s general counsel. In November 2013, President Obama appointed Richard Griffin, formerly general counsel to the International Union of Operating Engineers, which represents not only workers in construction and petrochemicals, but also in service industries. As the NLRB’s legal chief, Griffin made the decision to go after McDonald’s Corp.

Those who agree argue that the NLRB board is doing no more than meeting its “responsibility to adapt the [National Labor Relations] Act to the changing patterns of industrial life,” as Supreme Court Justice Brennan put it in the 1975 case of NLRB v. Weingarten. There is no doubt that Justice Brennan, the champion of the ‘living Constitution,’ wrote those words. What is in serious doubt is whether Congress can delegate to an executive agency the power to ‘adapt’ a statute. The Constitution vests the legislative power exclusively in the legislative branch. If Congress wants to adapt a statute to the changing patterns of industrial life, it — and it alone — is free to do so.

By launching complaints against franchisors on the basis of joint-employer status in the face of settled law, the NLRB is taking a tack similar to the one some commentators have described as the sue-and-settle approach. Rather than go through the cumbersome process of adopting new rules and regulations, some agencies and their allies in the economic areas they regulate (their de facto constituents) prefer a faster route.

The sue-and-settle approach involves agencies collaborating with advocacy groups to achieve a policy objective by leaning on businesses until they agree to the group’s demands, bypassing the rule-making process. Together, the advocacy group and the agency accomplish via a consent decree what they could not have accomplished through the statutorily mandated regulatory route, replete with notice, review, public input, and political accountability.

What the NLRB is engaged in with its joint-employer campaign is a variant on sue-and-settle. While Mr. Griffin embarked on the case against Browning-Ferris, but without pausing, the board invited public comment on its new definition of joint employer. One of the supportive comments came from the EEOC, which seems to welcome the prospect of expanding the range of potential defendants subject to its jurisdiction in discrimination cases. If the NLRB and EEOC succeed, the ramifications will extend well beyond the fast-food and staffing sectors.


Peter Vickery practices law in Amherst; (413) 549-9933; www.petervickery.com

Commercial Real Estate Sections
Former Auto Dealership Is Transformed into a Unique Retail Facility

architect’s rendering

This architect’s rendering shows current initiatives as well as future plans for the former Balise Ford dealership on Route 20 in Westfield.

The Balise Ford dealership on Route 20 in Westfield closed its doors in 2007, and as the years went by, it remained vacant, becoming somewhat of an eyesore in the city, visible to everyone traveling along that busy thoroughfare.

But while most saw a troubled property beset with challenges when it comes to reuse, Nabil Hannoush developed a far different view. The Westfield resident, vice president of the Hannoush Jewelers chain and serial entrepreneur, saw it as an ideal location for a retail plaza and home to many separate but nonetheless synergistic businesses that he and his wife, Julie, had created or were planning.

Today, thanks to that vision and a determination to make it reality, the 11-acre property is being transformed into a center that now houses several retail enterprises, many of them health-related, including a restaurant, a baseball-and-softball training center called Extra Innings, and fitness facilities. And there could be many more added in the years to come as the Hannoushes advance plans to expand the plaza through new construction.

“I drove by the property every day for years and always thought it was a great location,” said Nabil, adding that it is positioned at the gateway to the city near the border with West Springfield and is easily accessible.

Talk about the property turned to action last year when the Hannoushes closed on the former dealership. They soon relocated the Extra Innings franchise they had acquired in Agawam into the facility and commenced buildout for an eatery they would call ShortStop Bar & Grill, which opened late last fall. The couple is also renovating space in the building to house Expert Fitness Health Club, which they acquired three years ago and is currently located further west on Route 20, and has plans to move still another business they own, East Longmeadow-based All Team Apparel, onto the site.

The various enterprises will support one another, and in some cases they already are, said Nabil, noting that sports teams and family members coming to watch them train are supporting the restaurant, and those teams will likely patronize All Team Apparel. And this base of retail establishments should attract other businesses to that location for other phases of its development.

Overall, Hannoush envisions five phases, with two, Shortstop and Extra Innings, already completed. Phase 3 is the new Expert Fitness, while phase 4 will involve erecting a new, 6,000-square-foot retail center on the east side of the property, while phase 5 will see another 18,000-square-foot retail facility on the west side of the site, plans that have been approved by the city.

Hannoush hopes phases 4 and 5 will include health- and wellness-related businesses and possibly a bank branch.

For now, though, the Hannoushes are focused on driving business to the existing enterprises and continuing to find imaginative ways to repurpose the space that once housed a showroom, service bays, a parts department, and other features of an automobile dealership.

Indeed, the existing building held some unusual challenges, including a dozen oversized garage doors, built to allow vehicles to enter and exit the auto dealership and repair bays.

Hannoush’s original plans were to gut the interior, remove the doors, and fill in the space. “But one night, I thought, if kept them, we could have an indoor-outdoor facility that would allow people to walk through the building and enjoy the outdoors,” he said. “Teens and young people playing baseball or softball could enjoy the breeze when the doors were open or go outside and play catch or practice.”

Nabil Hannoush, seen here with his daughter, Monica

Nabil Hannoush, seen here with his daughter, Monica, the executive chef of ShortStop Bar & Grill, says the facility is not a typical sports bar.

So the garage doors remain, and last summer, parents were able to watch their children practice while they waited outside.

“My hope was to build something that Westfield and Western Mass. can be proud of,” said Hannoush. “But I had to keep thinking outside the box because I wanted to create something that is different.”

Driving Force

Barry Wadsworth, director of operations for the complex and general manager of ShortStop Bar and Grill on the property, said the project is an exciting venture that compelled him to get involved.

The founder of the Holyoke Blue Sox met Hannoush after selling 51% of the team, and was captivated by his plans.

“Nabil’s vision is very exciting because he wants to make this a place the entire community can enjoy,” Wadsworth said, adding that it was the ideal location for the Hannoush family to expand its health-related businesses.

“Expert Fitness has more than 2,500 members; they needed a bigger location, and this building is a perfect fit,” he explained. “It allowed them to consolidate the gym, batting cages, and sporting-goods store associated with Extra Innings into one location.”

The new, 10,000-square-foot Expert Fitness has been under construction for some time on the west side of the building and is expected to open March 1. However, the Cage, a facility housing programs that fall into the category of extreme fitness, is already operational in a different area of the building, and a protein-shake bar is being built outside the indoor entrance to the gym, a few steps away from the entrance to the restaurant.

“The Cage holds hardcore classes that include indoor and outdoor boot camps, spinning, and group fitness,” Hannoush said. “It is one of the first of its kind in the country, and from April to November, we have what we are calling ‘Muscle Beach Westfield,’ a weightlifting station outside.

“It’s something different,” he went on, as he alluded again to his efforts to “think outside the box.”

That phrase can certainly be used in conjunction with ShortStop, which opened Dec. 19. It is technically a sports bar, but one with a decidedly different look and feel.

A fireplace burns brightly as diners relax in a cheerful room with rich, mahogany furniture and three walls of enormous windows. And although 36 flatscreen TVs are placed strategically above the tables in the bar and dining area, Nabil said Julie designed it to be welcoming to women.

“Typical sports bars are not doing well throughout the country because they are not female-friendly; they are often too loud,” Nabil explained, adding that the décor was carefully chosen and the atmosphere is suitable for families. The menu, meanwhile, includes everything from filet mignon to burgers to a wide array of healthy choices, including different types of salads, along with gourmet desserts created by executive chef Monica Hannoush, the owners’ daughter.

The sound of bats striking baseballs and softballs can be heard within ShortStop, at least when the doors are open, because it is separated from Extra Innings by a 2,000-square-foot area known informally as Ball Park Seating.

It contains a 10-by-15-foot flatscreen TV with eight speakers, smaller flatscreens on another walls, and tables that overlook the batting-cage tunnels. Some families choose to eat there and watch their children practice, and it is the setting for live entertainment on Friday nights.

“The area was packed on Super Bowl Sunday,” said Wadsworth. “Groups of 10 and 12 came here to watch the game.”

Barry Wadsworth

Barry Wadsworth says Extra Innings offers a wide array of sporting goods for baseball and softball players.

ShortStop opened with little fanfare, and it has not done any advertising, but word has spread quickly, and business is brisk.

“Parents come here while their children are practicing and have lunch or order food to take home,” said Wadsworth, adding that Extra Innings provides a fairly steady stream of customers, and the new Expert Fitness is expected to do the same. “Many are here so frequently, we know their names.”

The sports bar features a bump-out with an 1,300 additional square feet that was added to the building to create the dining room. Garage doors that remain will open onto the patio, which is surrounded by a wrought-iron fence.

A new, 1,800-square-foot banquet room is also under construction to accommodate requests from teams. One side features the oversized doors, which will allow the room to be opened to the outdoors in the summer.

“We plan to use every inch of the 38,000 square feet in the building and have added an additional 2,500 square feet in the restaurant and patio,” Wadsworth said.

All Team Apparel will soon move into the building, creating more synergy, he noted. “Teams who come here to practice will be able to get shirts and uniforms. This will become almost a one-stop shop for youth leagues due to the sporting-goods shop associated with Extra Innings.”

Gearing Up

One of the primary goals the Hannoushes have set is to have the property become a gathering place for the community, a setting for everything from more big games like the Super Bowl to fund-raising events; from youth birthday parties to summer concerts that can take place on a stage being built in the ShortStop’s patio area.

And Wadsworth believes it can and will become just that.

“I want the community to think of this place first when they are trying to raise money for a good cause; we want to use the facility to help people, and the sheer numbers that drive by on Route 20 are huge,” he said. “Everyone who comes here has a really good time. It’s a lot of fun, and people meet each other when they are using the batting cages or eating in the restaurant. It’s becoming a destination.”

Not many people could have imagined such a fate for the old Ford dealership, but the Hannoushes certainly did.

And their vision has become not only reality, but an inspiration.

Commercial Real Estate Sections
Renovation of Former Federal Building Creates Momentum Downtown

Jonathan Weaver, Zach Greene, and Richard Henderson

From left, Jonathan Weaver, Zach Greene, and Richard Henderson say the renovation of 1550 Main St. has spurred investment and economic development downtown.

In 2006, prospects for the federal building at 1550 Main St. in Springfield were grim.

A new federal courthouse was under construction on State Street, and many people were afraid that the prominent building in the central business district of the city would become a vacant eyesore after the court and other tenants vacated.

“The market for office space was very weak at the time, and it was feared that the building could become a blank in the downtown fabric,” said Richard Henderson, executive vice president of real estate for MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development authority, which eventually assumed ownership of the property. “No one in the private sector seemed to have any interest in it, and owners of other buildings thought it should be closed. It was never attractive to begin with and looked worse after jersey barriers were installed in front of the plaza after 9/11. Plus, it was in poor shape, and the bricks on the exterior were falling off.”

Zach Greene agreed, and told BusinessWest the jersey barriers had been painted an unsightly brick orange, and although flower boxes had been stationed on top of them, the effect was far from pleasing.

“The building was not only unattractive, it was uninviting. It had a flimsy canvas awning outside, and when people entered the doors, they were greeted by metal detectors,” said Greene, MassDevelopment’s senior vice president of asset management, adding that, to make matters worse, visitors who parked in the Columbus Center garage behind the building had to walk down Bridge Street in inclement weather to get to the entrance because the back doors were locked for security reasons.

However, at the behest of city leaders, the Urban Land Institute, a national organization that disseminates experts to study challenging real-estate and land issues, sent a panel to Springfield for five days to determine, among other things, the best use of the property.

“They did extensive interviews with city officials, business leaders, and people in the neighborhoods, and concluded the building was key to downtown revitalization and should be made a priority,” said Henderson, noting that it had been built in 1980 and was one of a handful of newer office buildings downtown.

In 2007, MassDevelopment partnered with city administrators and the Finance Control Board, which was running Springfield at the time, and began what would become an $11 million acquisition and renovation of the building’s public spaces, which would take four years to complete.

However, the agency’s first step was to determine how to use it. After homeless and veterans’ groups, who had the first option on the building, failed to express interest, other possibilities were explored.

“We considered moving the police headquarters into it as well as using it as a place for higher education, similar to the new UMass facility that recently opened in Tower Square,” Henderson said.

But after a few years, the city, the Commonwealth, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, and Baystate Medical Center put together a plan that included pre-leasing the building to private and public tenants. The Springfield School Department would occupy 56,989 square feet on the first and second floors, Baystate agreed to bring support staff into downtown for the first time and lease the entire fifth floor, and a number of federal agencies would remain in their space on the fourth floor.

“The School Department really needed to move; they didn’t have any air conditioning in their building and were way over capacity,” Henderson said, explaining that the move, which was strongly defended by Mayor Domenic Sarno, incited controversy in the City Council.

1550-main-before

1550 Main St

The property at 1550 Main St. before its makeover, left, and after it, right.

But in the end, the commitment by the School Department and Baystate made the project possible, and thanks to help from Neal and Kevin Kennedy, who was a member of his staff at that time, MassDevelopment purchased the building for $2.5 million in September 2009 from the GSA and renamed it “1550 Main.”

Its redevelopment has become a success story on many levels, and, according to some, an inspiration for more initiatives downtown, such as the UMass project.

“After we made our commitment, the Dennis Group purchased and renovated the Fuller Block across the street, and radio station WFCR has moved in,” Henderson said, as he listed a number of new downtown ventures.

“The Morgan Square Apartment block down the street has been acquired by a group from New York and is undergoing a major renovation and will become the Silver Brick Lofts,” he went on. “UMass has a new facility in Tower Square, and new investment is taking place in the surrounding area, with more to come. One thing builds on another, and what could have been a negative or a poorly redeveloped building has led to a lot of positive consequences.”

Complex Undertaking

Renovating 1550 Main was no simple feat, but the School Department did its own work and moved into the space in June 2010, which allowed MassDevelopment to focus on the plaza and exterior of the building.

“We wanted the tenants to be able to use the outside areas, but a large portion of the plaza was over an underground parking deck, which made removing and redoing it very tricky,” Henderson said.

The jersey barriers were removed in the fall of 2009, and high planter walls that blocked views from the street were taken down in the spring of 2010, making way for new landscaping.

Outdated glazed-brick flooring and planters in the atrium were also removed, along with an extra stairway inside the lobby that connected the first and second floors.

“Taking out the stairway allowed us to create a public walkway that people could use to get to CityStage and the parking garage,” Henderson said, noting that a $3 million Growth Districts Initiative Grant, secured with the help of the city, was used to make improvements to the public plaza, building entrance, and atrium.

All of the elevators were also replaced, and although there was not enough money to gut the bathrooms, the tiling was sanded, and new lighting and plumbing fixtures were installed. “We had to do the work in a way that didn’t disturb the tenants who had remained in the building. The Internal Revenue Service office was on the first floor, and we pulled up the entire floor of the lobby while they were working,” Henderson said.

Cosmetic improvements were also made on every floor, including new lighting and paint. “Many of the walls were painted an antiseptic green that had been offset by fluorescent pink lighting, so it really made a difference,” Greene said.

Since the federal offices were on the fourth floor, officials agreed that the metal detectors could be relocated there, which allowed MassDevelopment to install an attractive security desk in the entrance of the building.

“The back doors no longer had to be locked, so people who parked in the garage were able to come directly into the building without going outside,” Greene said. “We also installed a security system to make sure people who rented the space felt comfortable in the building.”

Baystate moved into the renovated space in May 2011, and since that time, the building’s 128,000 square feet of rentable space has been close to capacity, Henderson said. “Baystate has renewed its lease, and at present, the building is 98% occupied.”

Michael Moran, vice president of Clinical, Facility and Guest Services for Baystate Medical Center, said the healthcare provider has enjoyed being part of the redevelopment.

“Baystate Health is fully invested in carrying out its charitable mission of not only supporting the health and well-being of the community, but its economic viability as well,” he explained. “Our commitment to renting space for information-technology staff on the fifth floor of the former federal courthouse building back in 2009 was designed to help spur the city’s economy and brought a further presence for Baystate Health in downtown Springfield.”

Although some of the federal agencies have moved out since that time, new tenants were found to take their place, and the fourth floor is now home to offices for U.S. Sens. Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren, as well as a law firm that occupies 4,100 square feet. In addition, private tenants have taken advantage of the first-floor space formerly used as military recruiting stations.

Since the time the building reopened, Greene said, it has been a source of pride. “Visitors have said they can’t believe the transformation, and the building has earned a number of awards,” including Outstanding Building of the Year in 2012 and 2013 by the Building Owners and Managers Assoc., and its Middle Atlantic Award Winner in 2013 in the Government Building category. In addition, in April 2013, the building earned the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star Certification.

New Lease on Life

Today, 1550 Main St. hosts a series of lunchtime concerts held outside on the plaza in the spring and summer, and its lobby is used to showcase public and private art exhibits.

The new entrance has become an inviting gateway to the public atrium, which is open to the public and used for a variety of gatherings, including appreciation events held by Springfield School Department.

Overall, the property’s transformation has become one of many positive developments downtown and a gleaming example of a public-private partnership that has created momentum and additional success stories.

“My mother grew up in Springfield, and it’s been rewarding to help bring life back downtown and renew the vitality that existed there years ago,” said Greene. “We are happy to help it get back on track.”

Departments Real Estate

The following real estate transactions (latest avail¬able) 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

BUCKLAND

10 Dungarvin Dr.
Buckland, MA 01338
Amount: $315,550
Buyer: Susan A. Schriber TR
Seller: Leah A. Teece
Date: 01/15/15

CHARLEMONT

80 Warner Hill Road
Charlemont, MA 01339
Amount: $235,000
Buyer: Norman Starr
Seller: Brian C. Rose
Date: 01/23/15

CONWAY

2300 Main Poland Road
Conway, MA 01341
Amount: $235,000
Buyer: Jeffrey D. Golay
Seller: Thomas P. Coughlin
Date: 01/16/15

238 Warger Road
Conway, MA 01341
Amount: $308,000
Buyer: Ann C. Kitson
Seller: Greenfield Savings Bank
Date: 01/15/15

DEERFIELD

266 Conway Road
Deerfield, MA 01373
Amount: $229,000
Buyer: Jason A. Dion
Seller: Deana B. Muzyka
Date: 01/15/15

111 Lee Road
Deerfield, MA 01373
Amount: $246,250
Buyer: Deana B. Muzyka
Seller: Karen A. Spear
Date: 01/15/15

GREENFIELD

53-55 Congress St.
Greenfield, MA 01301
Amount: $930,000
Buyer: Dennis G. Wade
Seller: John F. Merrigan
Date: 01/12/15

443 Green River Road
Greenfield, MA 01301
Amount: $115,000
Buyer: Jerry A. Markoski
Seller: Paul B. Markoski
Date: 01/16/15

100 Mohawk Trail
Greenfield, MA 01301
Amount: $700,000
Buyer: L&S LP
Seller: Mackin, Helen L., (Estate)
Date: 01/21/15

144-1/2 School St.
Greenfield, MA 01301
Amount: $147,644
Buyer: FNMA
Seller: Robert Palomares
Date: 01/21/15

23 Smith St.
Greenfield, MA 01301
Amount: $173,000
Buyer: Kelly M. Wallace
Seller: Jason H. Turner
Date: 01/13/15

36 Sunset Square
Greenfield, MA 01301
Amount: $270,000
Buyer: Matthew D. Parody
Seller: Byron D. Caplice
Date: 01/21/15

118 Wildwood Ave.
Greenfield, MA 01301
Amount: $165,500
Buyer: Gary H. Keel
Seller: Lawrence, Leland R., (Estate)
Date: 01/20/15

LEVERETT

7 Jackson Hill Road
Leverett, MA 01054
Amount: $229,000
Buyer: Kurt H. Wilkins
Seller: Steven M. Bergin
Date: 01/23/15

MONTAGUE

64-66 Avenue A
Montague, MA 01376
Amount: $200,000
Buyer: Derwicki LLC
Seller: Kacy Corp. Inc.
Date: 01/22/15

172 Millers Falls Road
Montague, MA 01376
Amount: $174,900
Buyer: Michelle C. Eddy
Seller: Matthew J. Sheridan
Date: 01/22/15

NORTHFIELD

12 East St.
Northfield, MA 01360
Amount: $172,000
Buyer: Britney E. Turner
Seller: Jennifer L. Minckler
Date: 01/23/15

459 Millers Falls Road
Northfield, MA 01360
Amount: $235,000
Buyer: Jason Turner
Seller: Beth M. Reynolds
Date: 01/13/15

Old Bernardston Road
Northfield, MA 01360
Amount: $170,000
Buyer: Connecticut River Realty
Seller: Lane Construction Corp.
Date: 01/16/15

SHELBURNE

30 Colrain Shelburne Road
Shelburne, MA 01370
Amount: $197,000
Buyer: Jonathan Jessop
Seller: Laurie E. Frazer
Date: 01/21/15

WHATELY

315 Long Plain Road
Whately, MA 01093
Amount: $261,500
Buyer: Jacob Schrader
Seller: Judith E. Hunter
Date: 01/23/15

54 State Road
Whately, MA 01093
Amount: $160,000
Buyer: Megan C. West
Seller: Anne H. Monchamp
Date: 01/23/15

HAMPDEN COUNTY

AGAWAM

29 Edgewater Road
Agawam, MA 01001
Amount: $201,000
Buyer: Hilltop Child & Adult Services
Seller: Domus Inc.
Date: 01/12/15

37 Kensington St.
Agawam, MA 01030
Amount: $165,500
Buyer: Gregory J. Garvin
Seller: Ellen Kupiec
Date: 01/23/15

46 Kensington St.
Agawam, MA 01030
Amount: $159,900
Buyer: Ronald A. Boudreau
Seller: Glenn O. Sweet
Date: 01/15/15

139 Line St.
Agawam, MA 01030
Amount: $161,000
Buyer: Frank P. Fossa
Seller: Andrew G. Ouimet
Date: 01/16/15

1092 Main St.
Agawam, MA 01001
Amount: $235,000
Buyer: Reginald R. Megit
Seller: Donna M. Flores
Date: 01/16/15

30 Memorial Park
Agawam, MA 01030
Amount: $242,000
Buyer: Lee M. Racine
Seller: Henry A. Dumas
Date: 01/15/15

92-1/2 Paul Revere Dr.
Agawam, MA 01030
Amount: $219,500
Buyer: Michael D. Staropoli
Seller: Vadim P. Babinov
Date: 01/16/15

873 Springfield St.
Amount: $1,470,000
Buyer: Niloufar RT
Seller: Robert R. Koziol
Date: 01/15/15

1036 Suffield St.
Agawam, MA 01001
Amount: $350,000
Buyer: DHR Enterprises LLC
Seller: Breglio Realty LLC
Date: 01/20/15

CHESTER

11 Johnson Hill Road
Chester, MA 01011
Amount: $580,000
Buyer: James R. Hathaway
Seller: Hope I. Mauran
Date: 01/23/15

CHICOPEE

99 7th Ave.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Amount: $170,000
Buyer: Mary A. Bail
Seller: Kathie J. Genereux
Date: 01/16/15

34 Beauchamp Terrace
Chicopee, MA 01020
Amount: $142,000
Buyer: Christopher Tergliafera
Seller: Joann H. Millard
Date: 01/14/15

159 Casey Dr.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Amount: $174,100
Buyer: Scott L. Molnar
Seller: Michael E. Fregeau
Date: 01/22/15

42 Chatham St.
Chicopee, MA 01013
Amount: $198,500
Buyer: Chris Sanford
Seller: Jason R. Labarre
Date: 01/23/15

24 Dewey St.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Amount: $122,500
Buyer: Homes For Rent Inc.
Seller: US Bank
Date: 01/16/15

560 East St.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Amount: $340,000
Buyer: RG East Street LLC
Seller: Sandri Realty Inc.
Date: 01/14/15

18 Edgewood Ave.
Chicopee, MA 01013
Amount: $180,000
Buyer: Miroslaw L. Laskowski
Seller: Viens, Matilda P., (Estate)
Date: 01/16/15

29 Frontenac St.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Amount: $122,550
Buyer: Ian W. Marshall
Seller: Alan G. Mathewson
Date: 01/12/15

20 Harding St.
Chicopee, MA 01013
Amount: $125,000
Buyer: Rene J. Iglesias
Seller: Mark J. Villamaino
Date: 01/14/15

33 Homer Ave.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Amount: $650,000
Buyer: Nottingham Place LLC
Seller: Estelle Sourdiffe
Date: 01/15/15

41 Homer Ave.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Amount: $650,000
Buyer: Nottingham Place LLC
Seller: Estelle Sourdiffe
Date: 01/15/15

80 Muzzy St.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Amount: $134,000
Buyer: Holly Sweatt
Seller: Wayne R. Roy
Date: 01/22/15

110 Southwick St.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Amount: $159,000
Buyer: Byron M. Garcia
Seller: Joshua J. Lamb
Date: 01/22/15

139 Summit Ave.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Amount: $135,000
Buyer: Andre P. Remillard
Seller: Donna Polwrek
Date: 01/12/15

23 Trafton St.
Chicopee, MA 01013
Amount: $125,000
Buyer: Lee A. Labbe
Seller: George J. Gajewski
Date: 01/15/15

EAST LONGMEADOW

84 East Circle Dr.
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Amount: $225,400
Buyer: David M. Disabito
Seller: John C. Kienzler
Date: 01/23/15

112 Pease Road
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Amount: $289,900
Buyer: Dustin E. Wilkinson
Seller: Christopher W. Hamylak
Date: 01/15/15

58 Tufts St.
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Amount: $320,000
Buyer: David C. Lopez
Seller: Robert J. Sinnema
Date: 01/21/15

109 Vineland Ave.
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Amount: $253,000
Buyer: Anthony M. Neffinger
Seller: Darrly S. Kelley
Date: 01/15/15

HAMPDEN

21 Middlefield Dr.
Hampden, MA 01036
Amount: $272,000
Buyer: Jerry McDonald
Seller: Sandra M. Turgeon
Date: 01/22/15

HOLLAND

4 Linder Road
Holland, MA 01521
Amount: $184,500
Buyer: Deborah J. Bycenski
Seller: Dream Property Management
Date: 01/22/15

351 Mashapaug Road
Holland, MA 01521
Amount: $290,000
Buyer: Weston Kruse
Seller: Jason C. Spratt
Date: 01/20/15

65 Union Road
Holland, MA 01521
Amount: $267,910
Buyer: FNMA
Seller: Todd Mayo
Date: 01/22/15

5 Waterfront Way
Holland, MA 01521
Amount: $270,000
Buyer: Mark Santore
Seller: Paul A. Sullivan
Date: 01/12/15

HOLYOKE

606 County Road
Holyoke, MA 01040
Amount: $190,000
Buyer: Bryce G. Menninga
Seller: Richard A. Houle
Date: 01/23/15

558-560 Dwight St.
Holyoke, MA 01040
Amount: $9,600,000
Buyer: Holyoke Health Center Inc.
Seller: Holyoke HC LLC
Date: 01/13/15

14 Field St.
Holyoke, MA 01040
Amount: $149,990
Buyer: US Bank
Seller: Martin E. Skuse
Date: 01/14/15

233-243 High St.
Holyoke, MA 01040
Amount: $9,600,000
Buyer: Holyoke Health Center Inc.
Seller: Holyoke HC LLC
Date: 01/13/15

56-A Jackson St.
Holyoke, MA 01040
Amount: $162,750
Buyer: J. Roman Enterprises LLC
Seller: Joseph J. Miller
Date: 01/14/15

230 Maple St.
Holyoke, MA 01040
Amount: $9,600,000
Buyer: Holyoke Health Center Inc.
Seller: Holyoke HC LLC
Date: 01/13/15

236-240 Maple St.
Holyoke, MA 01040
Amount: $9,600,000
Buyer: Holyoke Health Center Inc.
Seller: Holyoke HC LLC
Date: 01/13/15

Race St.
Holyoke, MA 01040
Amount: $162,750
Buyer: J. Roman Enterprises LLC
Seller: Joseph J. Miller
Date: 01/14/15

348 Southampton Road
Holyoke, MA 01040
Amount: $190,000
Buyer: Matthew Annis
Seller: Melissa A. Santerre
Date: 01/16/15

128 Sycamore St.
Holyoke, MA 01040
Amount: $127,000
Buyer: Jennifer L. Campbell
Seller: Miguel R. Figueroa
Date: 01/23/15

246 West Franklin St.
Holyoke, MA 01040
Amount: $133,000
Buyer: Esther Djumabaev
Seller: Maryann L. Hoag
Date: 01/23/15

LONGMEADOW

107 Albemarle Road
Longmeadow, MA 01106
Amount: $193,500
Buyer: Lawrence L. Goldberg
Seller: Scott H. Kittredge
Date: 01/22/15

129 Dover Road
Longmeadow, MA 01106
Amount: $550,000
Buyer: Daniel L. Landry
Seller: Francis D. Murray
Date: 01/20/15

102 Farmington Ave.
Longmeadow, MA 01106
Amount: $467,000
Buyer: William T. Bladen
Seller: Aaron D. Kugelmass
Date: 01/21/15

444 Frank Smith Road
Longmeadow, MA 01106
Amount: $266,000
Buyer: Edward A. Moses
Seller: David S. Pease
Date: 01/23/15

32 Lincoln Road
Longmeadow, MA 01106
Amount: $245,000
Buyer: Serghei Sleptov
Seller: Christopher M. Ardia
Date: 01/23/15

43 Meadowbrook Road
Longmeadow, MA 01106
Amount: $630,000
Buyer: Kyle W. Lewis
Seller: Debra M. Kaye
Date: 01/20/15

N/A
Longmeadow, MA 01106
Amount: $435,000
Buyer: Thomas K. Keyser
Seller: Linda A. Randall
Date: 01/21/15

511 Wolf Swamp Road
Longmeadow, MA 01106
Amount: $185,000
Buyer: CIG 2 LLC
Seller: Deutsche Bank
Date: 01/23/15

LUDLOW

52 Posner Circle
Ludlow, MA 01056
Amount: $145,960
Buyer: PNC Bank
Seller: Claudia C. Macznik
Date: 01/23/15

59 Prospect Gardens
Ludlow, MA 01056
Amount: $183,500
Buyer: Kristi L. Degrandpre
Seller: Paul J. Christie
Date: 01/15/15

202 Woodland Circle
Ludlow, MA 01056
Amount: $323,000
Buyer: Bank New York Mellon
Seller: William S. Belfar
Date: 01/14/15

MONSON

56 Cote Road
Monson, MA 01057
Amount: $175,000
Buyer: Michael E. Harrowfield
Seller: Eric S. Boyer
Date: 01/23/15

64 High St.
Monson, MA 01057
Amount: $135,000
Buyer: Peoples United Bank
Seller: James Brien
Date: 01/23/15

9 Lakeside Dr.
Monson, MA 01057
Amount: $250,000
Buyer: Lianne M. Pennington
Seller: Keith Richardson

PALMER

2136 Baptist Hill Road
Palmer, MA 01069
Amount: $283,500
Buyer: Deborah S. Kelder
Seller: Reginald R. Megit
Date: 01/16/15

29-35 Belanger St.
Palmer, MA 01080
Amount: $365,000
Buyer: Vieira Family Properties
Seller: J. Belanger Assocs.
Date: 01/15/15

37-43 Belanger St.
Palmer, MA 01080
Amount: $365,000
Buyer: Vieira Family Properties
Seller: J. Belanger Assocs.
Date: 01/15/15

339 Old Warren Road
Palmer, MA 01069
Amount: $265,000
Buyer: Aaron P. Swist
Seller: Burrill, Maureen A., (Estate)
Date: 01/21/15

21 Ruggles Court
Palmer, MA 01080
Amount: $161,000
Buyer: Michael A. Cust
Seller: Carole R. Brown
Date: 01/23/15

32 South High St.
Palmer, MA 01069
Amount: $156,000
Buyer: Rebecca Stmarie
Seller: Frederick W. Piechota
Date: 01/23/15

RUSSELL

131 Main St.
Russell, MA 01008
Amount: $199,000
Buyer: Thomas W. Ray
Seller: David L. Mosher
Date: 01/12/15

SPRINGFIELD

19 Abbott St.
Springfield, MA 01118
Amount: $144,900
Buyer: Ganga Thapa
Seller: Xiao T. Dong
Date: 01/23/15

51 Atwater Road
Springfield, MA 01107
Amount: $245,000
Buyer: Carlos Morales
Seller: Osvaldo Lopez
Date: 01/13/15

71 Blueberry Hill St.
Springfield, MA 01128
Amount: $124,000
Buyer: John A. Chigos
Seller: John Pedro
Date: 01/23/15

3 Canton St.
Springfield, MA 01104
Amount: $128,740
Buyer: US Bank
Seller: Deborah Wells
Date: 01/14/15

128 Hancock St.
Springfield, MA 01109
Amount: $160,000
Buyer: City View Property Services
Seller: SCMJ LLC
Date: 01/15/15

142 Hancock St.
Springfield, MA 01109
Amount: $160,000
Buyer: City View Property Svcs
Seller: SCMJ LLC
Date: 01/15/15

64 Jean Dr.
Springfield, MA 01104
Amount: $148,000
Buyer: Wilmington Savings Fund
Seller: Luis Martinez
Date: 01/23/15

52 Luden St.
Springfield, MA 01118
Amount: $116,325
Buyer: US Bank
Seller: Edward P. Springer
Date: 01/12/15

43 Lyons St.
Springfield, MA 01151
Amount: $120,000
Buyer: Tamara Feliciano
Seller: Kyle E. Koob
Date: 01/16/15

112 Maebeth St.
Springfield, MA 01119
Amount: $165,000
Buyer: James D. Dipinto
Seller: Jessie M. Hawley
Date: 01/15/15

250 Maple St.
Springfield, MA 01105
Amount: $160,000
Buyer: Carlos M. Gomez
Seller: Ildefonso L. Gomez
Date: 01/14/15

7 Nordica St.
Springfield, MA 01104
Amount: $216,000
Buyer: Matthew Fletcher
Seller: Kenney Sells Real Estate LLC
Date: 01/12/15

135 Parker St.
Springfield, MA 01151
Amount: $180,000
Buyer: Elsayed M. Elsafy
Seller: Luqman H. Mohammad
Date: 01/16/15

182 Pasco Road
Springfield, MA 01151
Amount: $157,404
Buyer: FNMA
Seller: Ivette Castellano
Date: 01/20/15

Pendleton Ave. (NS)
Springfield, MA 01101
Amount: $160,000
Buyer: City View Property Services
Seller: SCMJ LLC
Date: 01/15/15

24 Spear Road
Springfield, MA 01119
Amount: $150,000
Buyer: Juan M. Barrera
Seller: Charles E. Teasley
Date: 01/21/15

51 Stratford Terrace
Springfield, MA 01108
Amount: $135,000
Buyer: William Raleigh
Seller: Lana M. Murray-Harrington
Date: 01/15/15

540 Tiffany St.
Springfield, MA 01108
Amount: $115,000
Buyer: Richard K. McDonald
Seller: Linda M. Rivard
Date: 01/16/15

12 West Canton Circle
Springfield, MA 01104
Amount: $127,500
Buyer: Yanitza Quiles
Seller: US Bank
Date: 01/16/15

50 Woodruff St.
Springfield, MA 01109
Amount: $203,437
Buyer: FNMA
Seller: Moisies Ortiz
Date: 01/12/15

WEST SPRINGFIELD

94 Herrman St.
West Springfield, MA 01089
Amount: $160,000
Buyer: James S. Wachala
Seller: Mary P. Lagodich
Date: 01/22/15

102 Main St.
West Springfield, MA 01089
Amount: $185,000
Buyer: JWK Real Estate LLC
Seller: Kimberly J. Birkner
Date: 01/16/15

Massachusetts Ave.
West Springfield, MA 01089
Amount: $164,000
Seller: Wolk, Betty V. D., (Estate)
Date: 01/20/15

114 Pheasants Xing
West Springfield, MA 01089
Amount: $415,000
Buyer: Ming D. Zhang
Seller: Eric C. Parent
Date: 01/22/15

33 Terry Road
West Springfield, MA 01089
Amount: $237,000
Buyer: Julia R. Labarre
Seller: Kimberly A. Gage
Date: 01/23/15

107 Queen Ave.
West Springfield, MA 01089
Amount: $144,000
Buyer: Lori A. Picard
Seller: James W. Fiore
Date: 01/16/15

10 Salem St.
West Springfield, MA 01089
Amount: $284,900
Buyer: Anthony T. Sbalbi
Seller: Russell G. Finnie
Date: 01/16/15

1068 Stony Hill Road
Wilbraham, MA 01095
Amount: $196,750
Buyer: Molly A.McLaughlin
Seller: Judith K. Stewart
Date: 01/23/15

43 Windsor St.
West Springfield, MA 01089
Amount: $130,000
Buyer: Mustafa Gusenov
Seller: Wilbraham Trucking Corp.
Date: 01/13/15

WESTFIELD

36 Belleview Dr.
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $215,000
Buyer: Elizabeth A. Neylon
Seller: Gerald R. Lally
Date: 01/15/15

51 Broad St.
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $560,000
Buyer: Morizio Brothers Mgmt. LLC
Seller: John P. Morizio
Date: 01/23/15

25 Darby Dr.
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $215,000
Buyer: Kristina Budri
Seller: Kenneth M. Kent
Date: 01/15/15

27 Dickens Dr.
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $191,000
Buyer: Aliona Mokan
Seller: Josephine A. Cheika
Date: 01/20/15

76 East Silver St.
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $130,500
Buyer: Michael A. Ruffo
Seller: Kozak, Charles A., (Estate)
Date: 01/14/15

151 Pontoosic Road
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $189,900
Buyer: Seth C. Fleischmann
Seller: Tanya L. Wheeler
Date: 01/15/15

141 Sandy Hill Road
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $205,000
Buyer: Kimberly A. Gage
Seller: Carol A. Liucci
Date: 01/23/15

24 Scenic Road
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $305,000
Buyer: Richard Houle
Seller: Yong S. Bonardi
Date: 01/23/15

64 Whitaker Road
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $241,000
Buyer: Eric Staples
Seller: Gennadiy A. Lisitsin
Date: 01/16/15

30 White St.
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $179,000
Buyer: Deutsche Bank
Seller: Robert L. Herbele
Date: 01/21/15

10 Yale St.
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $275,000
Buyer: Morizio Brothers Mgmt. LLC
Seller: Michael A. Popovich
Date: 01/23/15

11 Yale St.
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $560,000
Buyer: Morizio Brothers Mgmt. LLC
Seller: John P. Morizio
Date: 01/23/15

5 Yale St.
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $560,000
Buyer: Morizio Brothers Mgmt. LLC
Seller: John P. Morizio
Date: 01/23/15

WILBRAHAM

8 Arbor Lane
Wilbraham, MA 01095
Amount: $256,000
Buyer: Paul M. Lafleur
Seller: James K. Russell
Date: 01/16/15

8 Daniele Dr.
Wilbraham, MA 01095
Amount: $369,900
Buyer: Darryl S. Kelley
Date: 01/15/15

33 Faculty St.
Wilbraham, MA 01095
Amount: $329,000
Buyer: Marylou Fabbo
Seller: Deborah S. Kelder
Date: 01/16/15

131 Stony Hill Road
Wilbraham, MA 01095
Amount: $188,500
Buyer: Luis A. Morales
Seller: Balise Automotive Realty
Date: 01/15/15

HAMPSHIRE COUNTY

AMHERST

35 Jeffrey Lane
Amherst, MA 01002
Amount: $240,000
Buyer: Bruce B. Conlin
Seller: Hongyu Duan
Date: 01/23/15

437 Main St.
Amherst, MA 01002
Amount: $505,000
Buyer: J. C. Shumway
Seller: John F. Edwards
Date: 01/12/15

571 Main St.
Amherst, MA 01002
Amount: $255,000
Buyer: GC Rental Properties LLC
Seller: Belinda Castro
Date: 01/14/15

N/A
Amherst, MA 01002
Amount: $685,000
Buyer: Sylvia A. Smith
Seller: Sawicki, Ernestine B., (Estate)
Date: 01/15/15

370 Pelham Road
Amherst, MA 01002
Amount: $165,000
Buyer: James Cherewatti
Seller: Caraker, Reece, (Estate)
Date: 01/21/15

11 South Whitney St.
Amherst, MA 01002
Amount: $140,000
Buyer: GC Rental Properties LLC
Seller: Christian Gomez-Castro
Date: 01/14/15

20 South Whitney St.
Amherst, MA 01002
Amount: $147,000
Buyer: GC Rental Properties LLC
Seller: Belinda Castro
Date: 01/14/15

BELCHERTOWN

Bardwell St.
Belchertown, MA 01007
Amount: $132,000
Buyer: Martin D. Denette
Seller: Dudek, Sebastian E., (Estate)
Date: 01/14/15

45 Depot St.
Belchertown, MA 01007
Amount: $125,000
Buyer: Celina I. Przybyla
Seller: Raymond J. Samson
Date: 01/16/15

546 Federal St.
Belchertown, MA 01007
Amount: $205,500
Buyer: Mark R. Plante
Seller: Catherine H. Burt
Date: 01/23/15

100 Metacomet St.
Belchertown, MA 01007
Amount: $280,000
Buyer: Li Jia
Seller: FHLM
Date: 01/21/15

South Washington St.
Belchertown, MA 01007
Amount: $132,000
Buyer: Martin D. Denette
Seller: Dudek, Sebastian E., (Estate)
Date: 01/14/15

EASTHAMPTON

2 Dartmouth St.
Easthampton, MA 01027
Amount: $349,000
Buyer: East Mountain Inc.
Seller: Campagnari Construction
Date: 01/15/15

10 East Chestnut St.
Easthampton, MA 01027
Amount: $167,101
Buyer: FNMA
Seller: Erik Abel
Date: 01/14/15

13 Fox Run
Easthampton, MA 01027
Amount: $525,000
Buyer: Dale W. Williams
Seller: D. A. Hardy Contractor LLC
Date: 01/20/15

58 Hendrick St.
Easthampton, MA 01027
Amount: $234,000
Buyer: Sherri A. Brown
Seller: Francis G. Perrier
Date: 01/23/15

14 Holyoke St.
Easthampton, MA 01027
Amount: $220,000
Buyer: Grace L. Sannino
Seller: Jennifer L. Campbell
Date: 01/23/15

138 Line St.
Easthampton, MA 01027
Amount: $192,500
Buyer: Chad D. Hallett
Date: 01/15/15

13 Pinebrook Dr.
Easthampton, MA 01027
Amount: $185,000
Buyer: Luigi Ottaviani
Seller: Francis P. Earley
Date: 01/15/15

31 Treehouse Circle
Easthampton, MA 01027
Amount: $335,031
Buyer: James Splain
Seller: EH Homeownership LLC
Date: 01/15/15

37 Westview Terrace
Easthampton, MA 01027
Amount: $263,000
Buyer: Ronald E. Desroches
Seller: Gordon H. Pilgrim
Date: 01/23/15

HADLEY

156 Rocky Hill Road
Hadley, MA 01035
Amount: $222,000
Buyer: Lynn C. McKenna
Seller: Maryellen Beturney
Date: 01/22/15

NORTHAMPTON

54 Burncolt Road
Northampton, MA 01062
Amount: $212,500
Buyer: Joan C. Payne
Seller: Denise A. Karuth
Date: 01/12/15

20 Day Ave.
Northampton, MA 01060
Amount: $324,000
Buyer: Gregory Schweitzer
Seller: P. G. Allen
Date: 01/16/15

66 Drewsen Dr.
Northampton, MA 01062
Amount: $190,500
Buyer: Jennifer H. McDonald
Seller: Kathleen A. Prindle
Date: 01/23/15

9-1/2 Market St.
Northampton, MA 01060
Amount: $780,000
Buyer: Market 95 LLC
Seller: Ridenour, Wilfred, (Estate)
Date: 01/14/15

93 Vernon St.
Northampton, MA 01060
Amount: $185,000
Buyer: Debra B. Truskinoff
Seller: Mehammed A. Mack
Date: 01/21/15

SOUTH HADLEY

16 Grandview St.
South Hadley, MA 01075
Amount: $196,500
Buyer: Jennifer Allard
Seller: Arthur L. Lloyd
Date: 01/20/15

16 Laurie Ave.
South Hadley, MA 01075
Amount: $144,000
Buyer: Kathleen R. Deady
Seller: Walter M. Zebrowski
Date: 01/23/15

SOUTHAMPTON

5 Old Harvest Road
Southampton, MA 01073
Amount: $129,900
Buyer: Magdalena M. Lech
Seller: Triple 7 LLC
Date: 01/21/15

123 Russellville Road
Southampton, MA 01073
Amount: $245,000
Buyer: Melissa R. Plourde
Seller: Joseph A. Yaple
Date: 01/14/15

WARE

26 Shoreline Dr.
Ware, MA 01082
Amount: $315,000
Buyer: Leonore A. Kelly
Seller: Thomas W. Ray
Date: 01/12/15

WILLIAMSBURG

45 Main St.
Williamsburg, MA 01096
Amount: $350,000
Buyer: Poverty Mountain LLP
Seller: Smith FT
Date: 01/16/15

DBA Certificates Departments

The following Business Certificates and Trade Names were issued or renewed during the months of January and February 2015.

AGAWAM

Auto Point Motors
1039 Springfield St.
Anthony Lafromboise

Beauties to Behold
238 Maple St.
Jasmine Brewer

Eileen Oak’s Supplies
430 Main St.
Eileen Perez

Patton Financial
15 Plumtree Way
Michael Pelletier

Professional Upholstery
1443 Main St.
Juan Ayala

Shye Ann Photography
159 Main St.
Shye Ann Brown

Therapeutic Behavioral Intervention
159 Main St.
Kristen Kocot

CHICOPEE

G & P Home Improvements
21 Forest St.
Alex Perevala

Fairview Pediatrics, LLC
1176 Memorial Dr.
James Bell

Hallmark Dental Laboratory
63 Main St.
Laura Gustafson

Heat Exchange Systems
278 Britton ST.
Howard Schwalm

Lucky Cheng’s Restaurant
920 C. Meadow St.
Ching Cheng

Millie’s Pierogi
129 Broadway
William Kerigan

Oquendo Driving School
527 Grattan St.
Jorge Oquendo

Naz Trucking
139 Nonotuck Ave.
Tomasz Nazim

Newark Paperboard Products
70 Better Way
Wayne Kelch

Prime Printing
46 Newbury St.
Marc Crescione

Rollin Rock Tavern
258 Exchange St.
Richard Ferus

St. Laurent Photography
195 Oiko Circle
Gregory St. Laurent

Tapp Construction
300 Schoolhouse Road
Jeffrey Tapp

GREENFIELD

Antonio’s Pizza
201 Main St.
Clayton Cardian

Brad’s Place
353 Main St.
Daniel Devine

Manna House
27 Bank Row
Dwight Zeager

HOLYOKE

Champ Law
330 High St.
Adam J. Basch

La Vega Grocery
518 High St.
Manuel A. Gomez

Nasty Habit Crossfit
68 Winter St.
David J. Vooris

Rendevouz
50 Holyoke St.
Chang H. Kim

PALMER

C & S Services
8 Crest St.
Marie A. Day

Friendly’s
1519 North Main St.
Catharine Senith

SPRINGFIELD

A.C. Services
657 Cooley St.
Alexa M. Cale

Aivir Value Consulting
23 Westernview St.
Joseph F. Otero

B & S Trucking Company
63 Stocker St.
Benito Santiago

Basics Plus Mini Mart
91 Main St.
Nadeem Saeed

Brian’s Barber Shop
346 Orange St.
Brian Miranda

C.R. Medical Management
405 Armory St.
Charity M. Robbins

Capuanomall.com
18 Edendale St.
Maria L. Capuano

CKG Designs
205 Tamarack Dr.
William Patrick

D2D Localtrepreneur
287 Walnut St.
Frankie J. Mozell

Desert Tales
45 Willow St.
Yassine Zian

Devine Designs Beauty Salon
428 Springfield St.
Micheline A. Martin

Doggy Dooz
1512 Allen St.
Paula L. Cox

Draintech
145 Porter Lake Dr.
Joshua M. Moses

Elegant Hair Design
473 Boston Road
Maureen Brown

WESTFIELD

A Touch of Vintage
71 Elm St.
Marilyn Arroyo

Daniel Rollend Electrician
28 Belleview Dr.
Daniel D. Rollend

Ezra’s Mercantile
34 Elm St.
Ezra’s Mercantile

Goodgoth
77 Mill St.
Marianne Deidolori

Michon Associates
102 Northridge Road
Sandra M. Michon

Ryan’s Package Store
31 Franklin St.
Anderson Family Enterprise’s

Veto Cleaning Services
15 Susan Dr.
Donald G. Veto

WEST SPRINGFIELD

Icarus Boutique
677 Westfield St.
Julian Toledo

James Maxwell Real Estate
776 Westfield St.
James Maxwell

Kristen Walters Photography
1346 Elm St.
Kristen Jeanne

Lilo’s Tire
2 Elizabeth St.
Angel Rivera-Torres

Lower Pioneer Valley Education
174 Brush Hill Ave.
Andrew Churchill

Marlene of Hair East
306 Westfield St.
Marlene Lohmeyer

Taco Bell
298 Memorial Ave.
Taco Bell of America

Welcome Inn
2041 Riverdale St.
Patel Pravinbhai

Briefcase Departments

Employer Confidence Hits 14-year High
BOSTON — Employers are more confident about the Massachusetts economy than they have been in 14 years. In the latest Business Confidence Index released by Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM), employer confidence in the Bay State economy surged 3.2 points to 59.3, on a 100-point scale, in January. Overall business confidence rose for the fifth consecutive month, to 58.1, while the U.S. Index of business conditions nationally rose 4.0 points to 54.1. “These are landmark figures,” said Katherine Kiel, professor of Economics at the College of the Holy Cross and a member of the AIM board of economic advisors. “The national indicator is at a level not seen since before the Great Recession, in August 2007, and its state counterpart had not been this high since before the previous recession, in December 2000. Business confidence in Massachusetts conditions, like total statewide employment, did not fully recover from that earlier downturn before the next one hit.” Added Richard Lord, AIM’s president and CEO, “our members rate conditions within the Commonwealth better than they have been in 14 years.” Lord noted that the January Business Confidence Index survey included a question asking employers how they saw Massachusetts as a place to do business in 2015. “Forty-two percent of respondents chose ‘the best’ or ‘very good,’ while only 8% went with ‘below par,’” he noted. “It’s a credit to our business community, our workforce, and our political leadership that employer perceptions are so positive. AIM’s Business Confidence Index has been issued monthly since July 1991 under the oversight of its board of economic advisors. Presented on a 100-point scale on which 50 is neutral, the index attained a historical high of 68.5 in 1997 and 1998; its all-time low was 33.3 in February 2009. Economists say rising confidence leads to economic growth. “When the Federal Reserve notes strong job growth and solid expansion, as it did in its assessment last week, it’s important to recognize that businesses are creating those jobs because they are feeling confident about the future,” said Raymond Torto, chair of AIM’s board of economic advisors (BEA) and lecturer at Harvard Graduate School of Design. The cheers for the economy were not, however, without reservation. The Current Index, tracking employers’ assessment of existing business conditions, edged off one-tenth to 56.1, while the Future Index, measuring expectations for the next six months, added 1.7 to 60.1. Meanwhile, the three sub-indices related to survey respondents’ own operations all weakened in January. The Company Index, in which employers assess the situations of their own operations, was down a point to 59.1; the Sales Index shed six-tenths to 60.7; and the Employment Index fell 2.8 to 53.9. “The sales and employment numbers are off for the second consecutive month,” noted Michael Goodman, associate professor of Public Policy and executive director of the Public Policy Center at UMass Dartmouth, and a BEA member. “However, respondents expect both sales and hiring to increase in the next six months. Over the past six months, respondents reporting adding new staff have outnumbered those reporting layoffs, 29% to 22%, while expectations for the next six months are much stronger, with 33% reporting plans to hire and 11% expecting staffing reductions.”

Massachusetts Ranks Fifth in Nation for LEED-certified Buildings
BOSTON — Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Matthew Beaton recently announced that Massachusetts has been ranked fifth in the nation for 2014 sustainable-building design, construction, and transformation by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). “This recognition is another example of Massachusetts’ commitment to strengthening our economy, shaping our energy future, and protecting our environment through clean-energy jobs and technology,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Matthew Beaton. “Designing and constructing our buildings with an awareness towards energy and the environment protects our natural resources while saving money for businesses, institutions, and residents.” Massachusetts added 99 new Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) certified projects in 2014, ranking behind only Illinois, Colorado, Maryland, and Virginia. The rankings are calculated by dividing square footage certified in 2014 by state population. Massachusetts has ranked in the top five for the past three years. “LEED has become an important benchmark in the transformation of the nation’s built environment,” said Rick Fedrizzi, CEO and founding chair of USGBC. “LEED-certified buildings and the innovations they have driven contribute substantially to our national economic growth, create jobs, and improve the quality of life in the communities where they are found. Massachusetts business and community leaders, policy makers, and green-building professionals understand how to create a healthier, more sustainable future.” Massachusetts remains a leader in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and economic benefits from the clean-energy industry. The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has named Massachusetts number one in energy efficiency for four years in a row. Solar installations have grown from 3 megawatts in 2007 to 752 today.

Voters Approve Zoning Change at Longmeadow Shops
LONGMEADOW — Voters at a recent town meeting approved a zoning change to allow for the expansion of the Longmeadow Shops, a 78,000-square-foot retail plaza on Bliss Road and Williams Street. The proposal to change the zoning of an adjacent 1.8-acre parcel from residential to business zoning passed by a 729-168 margin, according to the Republican. Grove Properties, which owns the Longmeadow Shops, plans to add 21,000 square feet of retail space to the plaza, which will include a new, enlarged CVS, two additional retail shops, 139 new parking spaces, an additional entrance, and a reconfiguration of the parking lot.

Chamber Corners Departments

ACCGS
www.myonlinechamber.com
(413) 787-1555
 
• Feb. 27: Outlook 2015 Luncheon, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., at the MassMutual Center, 1277 Main St., Springfield. The guest speaker will be Gov. Charlie Baker. He will be joined in the program by U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, who will remark on events at the federal level. Outlook is the area’s premier legislative event, attracting more than 700 guests. Area elected officials will also be in attendance to participate in this discussion of front-burner issues. Tickets are $50 for ACCGS members and $70 for general admission. Reserved tables of 10 are available. Reservations  are required. Contact Member Services Director Sarah Mazzaferro at [email protected]
 
• March 4: ACCGS [email protected], 7:15-9 a.m., at Chez Josef, 176 Shoemaker Lane, Agawam. The topic is “Hard Hats Required: The I-91 Viaduct Project.” Learn about the state reconstruction project and its local ancillary impacts, with a panel discussion featuring Al Stegman from the Mass. Department of Transportation, Chris Cignoli from the Springfield Department of Public Works, and Mary McNally from the Springfield Parking Authority. Salutes: TSM Design on its 30th anniversary and Revitalize Community Development Corp. on its new name and expanded services. Sponsored by United Personnel. Reservations are $20 for members in advance, $25 for members at the door, and $30 for general admission. Register online at www.myonlinechamber.com.

• Thursdays through March 26: ACCGS Leadership Institute 2015, 1-4 p.m., at the TD Bank Conference Center, 1441 Main St., Springfield, in partnership with Western New England University.
 
• March 11: ACCGS Speed Networking, 3:30-5 p.m., at Frank Webb’s Bath Center, 145 Performance Blvd., Springfield. Network in a fast-paced round-robin format, then stay for the After 5. This event is open only to members. Reservations are $20 for members, $25 at the door. Includes complimentary ticket to After 5. Register online at www.myonlinechamber.com.
 
• March 11: ACCGS After 5, 5-7 p.m., at Frank Webb’s Bath Center, 145 Performance Blvd., Springfield. Reservations are $5 for members, $10 for general admission. Register online at www.myonlinechamber.com.

• March 24:
ACCGS Pastries, Politics, and Policy, 8-9 a.m., at the TD Bank Conference Center, 1441 Main St., Springfield. For political and policy junkies. Reservations are $15 for members, $25 for general admission. Register online at www.myonlinechamber.com.
 
AMHERST AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
www.amherstarea.com
(413) 253-0700
 
• March 26: Margarita Madness 2015, 5:30-7:30 p.m., at the Hadley Farms Meeting House, 41 Russell St., Hadley. Taste a variety of margaritas and vote for your favorites. This is a Division One competition between restaurant and business margaritas. Your votes will determine who will take home the coveted trophies. Business margaritas provided by Alden Credit Union, New England Promotional Marketing, Hadley Farms Meeting House, Country Nissan, Lord Jeffery Inn, TD Bank for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampshire County, Encharter Insurance, Applewood at Amherst, and many more to come. Restaurant margaritas provided by Bistro 63 at the Monkey Bar, Bread & Butter, Bridgeside Grille, Chandler’s Restaurant, the Pub, Lord Jeffery Inn, Hadley Farms Meeting House, Chez Josef, Johnny’s Tavern, and many more to come. Food provided by Emily’s Gourmet to Go, Something Special Catering, Pallazo Café, Glazed Donut Shop, Pop’s Biscotti, and Johnny’s Tavern. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. For more information, contact the chamber at (413) 253-0700.
 
CHICOPEE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
www.chicopeechamber.org
(413) 594-2101
 
• Feb. 25: February Business After Hours, 5-7 p.m., at Elms College, 291 Springfield St., Chicopee. Tickets: $10 for members, $15 for non-members.
 
• March 6: Shining Stars Banquet, 6:30-10 p.m., at the Castle of Knights, 1599 Memorial Dr., Chicopee. Business of the Year: DeJordy, Dugre, Croteau & Company, P.C.; Citizen of the Year: Andy Crane, A. Crane Construction; Chamber Volunteer of the Year: Jason Reed, Boys & Girls Club of Chicopee; Nonprofit Organization of the Year: Elms College. Tribute to Associated Industries of Massachusetts. Tickets: $60 per person.
 
• March 25: 21st Annual Table Top Expo and Business Networking Event, 4:30-7 p.m., at the Log Cabin Banquet and Meeting House, 500 Easthampton Road, Holyoke. Exhibitor cost: $125 for a table. Admission $10 in advance, $15 at the door. To register, contact the chamber at (413) 527-9414.
 
GREATER EASTHAMPTON CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
www.easthamptonchamber.org
(413) 527-9414
 
• March 25: 21st Annual Table Top Expo and Business Networking Event, 4:30-7 p.m., at the Log Cabin Banquet and Meeting House, 500 Easthampton Road, Holyoke. Exhibitor cost: $125 for a table. Admission is $10 in advance, $15 at the door. To register, contact the chamber at (413) 527-9414.
 
GREATER HOLYOKE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
www.holycham.com
(413) 534-3376
  
• Feb. 24: How to Start and Maintain Your Business/Marketing Your Business, 5:30-7:30 p.m., at the Holyoke Chamber, executive conference room, 177 High St., Holyoke. Series Sponsors: PeoplesBank, Common Capital, Mass Cultural Council/the Artery, in partnership with Holyoke Creative Arts. What you need to know about designing a logo, branding your business, advertising opportunities, social media, and developing a website. Tickets cost $20. Call the Holyoke Chamber at (413) 534-3376 or visit holyokechamber.com to sign up.
 
GREATER NORTHAMPTON CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
www.explorenorthampton.com
(413) 584-1900
 
• Feb. 24: 2015 Table Top Orientation, noon to 1 p.m., at the chamber office, 99 Pleasant St., Northampton. For Table Top participants only. RSVP to (413) 584-1900.
 
• Feb. 26: Starting Your Own Business, 6-9 p.m., at the Business Growth Center, basement level, 1 Federal Street, Building 101, Springfield. Starting a small business requires more knowledge, skills, perseverance, and planning than meets the eye. This three-hour workshop will help you clearly understand the details, challenges, opportunities, and rewards of owning and operating your own business through the real-life experiences of several successful entrepreneurs. This course is a suggested prerequisite for our Business Planning workshop. Tickets cost $25. RSVP to Len Gendron, SCORE Western Massachusetts, at (413) 785-0314, or e-mail contact.[email protected]
 
• March 3: Build Your Marketing Toolkit Seminar, 5:30-8 p.m., at the Business Growth Center, basement level, 1 Federal Street, Building 101, Springfield. Attendees of this presentation will learn what marketing really is (and isn’t), how marketing has changed in ways that benefit small businesses, the importance of setting goals and objectives for their marketing efforts, and the 4 Pillars of Marketing Success, a framework that shows how different marketing activities all fit together, and will help small businesses reflect on their own marketing program. Start to build a foundation of marketing knowledge, from which you can build more effective campaigns to help your business or organization grow. Cost: free. RSVP to Len Gendron, SCORE Western Massachusetts, at (413) 785-0314, or e-mail contact.[email protected].
 
• March 4: Arrive @ 5, 5-7 p.m., at Fitzwilly’s, 23 Main St., Northampton. Arrive when you can, Stay as long as you can. A casual mix and mingle with your colleagues and friends. Sponsored by Thornes Marketplace, Grogan Speer, and ESB Financial Services. Tickets: $10 for members.
 
• March 6: 2015 Annual Meeting, noon to 2 p.m., at Union Station Banquets, 125 Pleasant St., Northampton. A fun meeting with your chamber colleagues. Play Jeopardy; we’ll test your knowledge of our members. A fun wrap-up of 2014 and preview of 2015, honoring our volunteers. Sponsored by PeoplesBank. Tickets: $35 per person for chamber members.
 
• March 13: Microsoft Excel: Tips, Tricks, and Shortcuts, 9-11 a.m., at the chamber office, 99 Pleasant St., Northampton. Learn tips and tricks no one ever teaches you from the trainers at 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.
 
• March 17: 35th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast, 7:30-9 a.m., in the Hotel Northampton Grand Ballroom. Also, Join us at Fitzwilly’s for the annual after-breakfast toast and for the laying of the wreath at the Daley and Halligan memorial stone on the former state hospital grounds. Tickets: $20 per person. Tables of 10 also available.
 
• March 25: 21st Annual Table Top Expo and Business Networking Event, 4:30-7 p.m., at the Log Cabin Banquet and Meeting House, 500 Easthampton Road, Holyoke. Exhibitor cost: $125 for a table. Admission $10 in advance, $15 at the door. To register, contact the chamber at (413) 584-1900.
 
GREATER WESTFIELD CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
www.westfieldbiz.org
(413) 568-1618
 
• March 2: Mayor’s Coffee Hour, 8-9 a.m., at Armbrook Village, 551 North Road, Westfield. Join us for our monthly Mayor’s Coffee Hour with Westfield Mayor Dan Knapik. This event is free and open to the public. Call Pam at the chamber office at (413) 568-1618 to register for this event so we may give our host a head count.
 
• March 13: March Breakfast, 7-9 a.m., at Westfield State University, 577 Western Ave., Westfield. Platinum sponsor: Westfield Bank. Gold sponsor: Westfield Gas & Electric. Silver sponsor: FieldEddy Insurance. For more information or to donate a raffle prize, call the Chamber office at (413) 568-1618.
 
• March 18: March After 5 Connection, 5-7 p.m., at Noble Primary Care, 57 Union St., Westfield. Bring your business cards and make connections. Refreshments will be served. Tickets: $10 for members, $15 cash for non-members. To register, call Pam at the Chamber office at (413) 568-1618.
 
NORTHAMPTON AREA YOUNG PROFESSIONAL SOCIETY
www.thenayp.com
(413) 584-1900
 
• March 7: Full Moon Snowshoeing, 6:30 p.m. Join us for a full-moon snowshoe hike at Hilltop Orchards in Lenox. We will be led on an interactive, 90-minute journey that includes a bonfire, wine tasting, and entertainment. Dress for the weather, and bring a light and some water. The event costs $10 and includes a tasting of six Furnace Brook wines (if you are 21 or over). Bring your own snowshoes or rent them for $15. RSVP by March 1 by joining our Facebook event.
 
PROFESSIONAL WOMEN’S CHAMBER
www.professionalwomenschamber.com
(413) 755-1310
 
• March 18: Professional Women’s Chamber Tabletop Expo/Luncheon,
11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., at Storrowton Tavern, Carriage House, 1305 Memorial Ave., West Springfield. Featuring Tracy Noonan of Wicked Good Cupcakes and contestant on ABC’s Shark Tank. Reservations are $25 for PWC members, $35 for general admission. Register online at www.myonlinechamber.com.

WEST OF THE RIVER CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
www.ourwrc.com
413-426-3880
 
• Feb. 25: Legislative Breakfast, 7-9 a.m., at Storrowton Tavern, 1305 Memorial Ave., West Springfield. The breakfast will feature a panel of various legislators: State Sens. James Welch and Donald Humason, Agawam Richard Cohen, and West Springfield Mayor Edward Sullivan. Tickets: $25 for members, $30 for non-members. For more information on ticket sales, contact the chamber office at (413) 426-3880 or e-mail [email protected].
 
YOUNG PROFESSIONAL SOCIETY OF GREATER SPRINGFIERLD
www.springfieldyps.com
 
• March 14: 2015 YP Cup Dodgeball Tournament, at Springfield College, 263 Alden St., Springfield. To register a team (up to eight players, two must be of the opposite sex ) or an individual, visit springfieldyps.com/2015-dodgeball-individual-registration-form. E-mail questions to [email protected]. Reception to follow at Nathan Bill’s Bar & Grill, 110 Pond Road, Springfield.
 
• March 19: March Third Thursday, 5-8 p.m., at the Storrowtown Meeting House and Carriage House, 1305 Memorial Ave., West Springfield. This event is open to everyone. Invite your friends. Food and cash bar. Admission: free for YPS members, $10 for non-members.

Court Dockets Departments

The following is a compilation of recent lawsuits involving area businesses and organizations. These are strictly allegations that have yet to be proven in a court of law. Readers are advised to contact the parties listed, or the court, for more information concerning the individual claims.

CHICOPEE DISTRICT COURT
Belmont Laundry Inc. v. Michael’s Pasta in the Pan and River Road Corp.
Allegation: Breach of contract and failure to pay for services rendered: $8,375
Filed: 1/29/15

FRANKLIN SUPERIOR COURT
John Doe v. Allen Chase Foundation d/b/a Eaglebrook School and Andrew Chase
Allegation: Breach of contract and failure to provide a safe academic environment when plaintiff was attacked by members of the hockey team causing severe personal injury: $100,000+
Filed: 12/17/14

GREENFIELD DISTRICT COURT
Leader Home Center Inc. v. Charles Cresta d/b/a Raven Construction
Allegation: Non-payment for goods and services: $6,228.11
Filed: 12/10/14

Vend Lease Co. Inc. v. Edward Wierzbowski, Arts Block, LLC, Global American Television Inc. and Puskin, LLC
Allegation: Defendants are indebted to the plaintiff based upon a debt on judgment: $19,094.92
Filed: 12/17/14

HAMPDEN SUPERIOR COURT
Cadlerock III, LLC v. Pisa Granite & Marble, LLC, Pedro Caceres, Creations Factory, LLC
Allegation: Suit upon a Connecticut judgment: $839,000
Filed: 1/12/15

NWS Corp. v. Sergio Bonavita and Westfield Brewing Co., LLC
Allegation: Breach of commercial lease: $85,838
Filed: 1/21/15

PALMER DISTRICT COURT
Ali Syed v. Balise Motor Sales Co., James Balise Jr., and Steven M. Mitus
Allegation: Failure to pay wages: $25,000+
Filed: 1/21/15

Shemin Nurseries Inc. v. CSL Inc. and Nancy Barroso Rodrigues
Allegation: Default on term note: $7,171.69
Filed: 1/23/15

SPRINGFIELD DISTRICT COURT
Bass Spine and Rehabilitation, LLC v. Peerless Insurance Co.
Allegation: Defendant failed to make PIP payments: $967.28
Filed: 1/5/15

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Cathedral High School and Holyoke Catholic High School will be merged into a new, regional Catholic High School under a plan announced yesterday by Mitchell Rozanski, bishop of the Diocese of Springfield.

While the site of the merged school has not been determined, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno and other Cathedral supporters are still pushing for the school to be rebuilt on the tornado-damaged Surrey Road location where Cathedral had been located.

“No concepts other than a new regional school have been decided,” Rozanski said, noting that Surrey Road is one of several options that will be investigated. The bishop wants the two schools’ students to be merged in a temporary location by the fall of 2016, and for a permanent school to be completed by the fall of 2017, adding that insurance money from the tornado, plus $29 million in Federal Emergency Emergency Management Agency aid, will fund the construction.

“The city of Springfield has supported Cathedral at its temporary home in Wilbraham by providing over $1 million of support in busing as well as assisting with locations for athletic practices and events. We will continue to support Cathedral as long as rebuilding on Surrey Road remains the plan,” Sarno said. “I am hopeful that Bishop Rozanski and the diocese will live up to their commitment made by Bishop [Timothy] McDonnell to rebuild Cathedral, where it belongs, on Surrey Road. The extended Cathedral family and neighborhood deserve nothing less.”

U.S. Rep. Richard Neal agreed, noting in a statement that “my belief that Surrey Road is the best and only location for that facility has not changed. Simply put, when I sought federal assistance from FEMA following the tornado in June 2011, I did so with the understanding that Cathedral High School would be rebuilt on its original site in East Forest Park. That was the purpose of securing public disaster assistance.”

He continued, “it has been nearly four years since the tornado touched down on Surrey Road, and during that time the Cathedral family has been extraordinarily patient and supportive. We have given the diocese space and allowed them to do their due diligence. I don’t think it is unreasonable to suggest that we now deserve answers. The history of Springfield and Cathedral are intertwined, and it is hard to imagine one without the other. That is why I will continue to support the effort to rebuild the regional high school in East Forest Park. In my opinion, it remains the only logical site.”

Since the June 1, 2011, tornado severely damaged Cathedral, its 400 students were relocated to the former Memorial School in Wilbraham, where the diocese has been renting space; enrollment has since declined to just over 200. Meanwhile, Holyoke Catholic was forced to move from its namesake city in 2002 when its building was declared unsafe. After setting up at the former St. Hyacinth College and Seminary in Granby for four years, the school, which has about 250 students, moved into the former Assumption School on Springfield Street in Chicopee, opposite Elms College, in 2006.

Daily News

CHICOPEE — The Greater Chicopee Chamber of Commerce will pay tribute to the recipients of the prestigious Shining Stars Awards on Friday, March 6, from 6:30 to 10 p.m. at the Castle of Knights, 1599 Memorial Dr., Chicopee.

Starting, initially, with the Citizen of the Year, the Shining Stars Awards have grown to include Business of the Year and Volunteer of the Year. This year, the chamber has added a new category, Nonprofit Organization of the Year, and is also paying special tribute to Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM).

This year’s honorees are:
• Business of the Year: DeJordy, Dugre, Croteau & Co., P.C., a full-service accounting, tax-planning, tax-preparation, and business-advisory CPA firm;
• Citizen of the Year: Andrew Crane of A. Crane Construction;
• Nonprofit Organization of the Year: Elms College;
• Chamber Volunteer of the Year: Jason Reed, Boys & Girls Club of Chicopee; and
• Shining Stars Tribute 2015: Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM).

Sponsors for the Shining Stars Gala, thus far, include diamond sponsors Chicopee Savings Bank and Holyoke Medical Center; platinum sponsor PeoplesBank; gold sponsors Polish National Credit Union, Hampton Inn, Dave’s Truck Repair Inc., LaQuinta Inns & Suites, NUVO Bank, and Baystate Restoration Group; and silver sponsors Sidall & Sidall, P.C., and Boys & Girls Club of Chicopee.

To become a sponsor, e-mail event coordinator Lynn Morrissette at [email protected]. For more information or to purchase tickets, call the chamber at (413) 594-2101 or visit www.chicopeechamber.org and click ‘Upcoming Events.’

Daily News

BOSTON — Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Matthew Beaton recently announced that Massachusetts has been ranked fifth in the nation for 2014 sustainable-building design, construction, and transformation by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

“This recognition is another example of Massachusetts’ commitment to strengthening our economy, shaping our energy future, and protecting our environment through clean-energy jobs and technology,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Matthew Beaton. “Designing and constructing our buildings with an awareness towards energy and the environment protects our natural resources while saving money for businesses, institutions, and residents.”

Massachusetts added 99 new Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) certified projects in 2014, ranking behind only Illinois, Colorado, Maryland, and Virginia. The rankings are calculated by dividing square footage certified in 2014 by state population. Massachusetts has ranked in the top five for the past three years.

“LEED has become an important benchmark in the transformation of the nation’s built environment,” said Rick Fedrizzi, CEO and founding chair of USGBC. “LEED-certified buildings and the innovations they have driven contribute substantially to our national economic growth, create jobs, and improve the quality of life in the communities where they are found. Massachusetts business and community leaders, policy makers, and green-building professionals understand how to create a healthier, more sustainable future.”

Massachusetts remains a leader in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and economic benefits from the clean-energy industry. The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has named Massachusetts number one in energy efficiency for four years in a row. Solar installations have grown from 3 megawatts in 2007 to 752 today. Clean energy is yielding significant economic benefits, with 10.5% job growth in the last year and 47% growth since 2010. Massachusetts boasts more than 88,000 clean-energy workers and nearly 6,000 clean-energy businesses.

Class of 2015 Difference Makers
This Agency’s Mission Is to Launch an ‘Entrepreneurial Renaissance’

VVM

From left, VVM Executive Director Paul Silva with board members Scott Foster and Jay Leonard.
Photo by Denise Smith Photography

Scott Foster says the genesis of Valley Venture Mentors sounds like one of those old jokes.

“A lawyer and a physicist go into a bar,” he deadpanned, adding that, in this particular case, he was, and still is, the lawyer. The physicist was Paul Silva, although he isn’t in that line of work and never really was.

The bar in question was in Amherst, and what the two protagonists, meeting for the first time after taking in an entrepreneurship event at UMass, started talking about over a cold beer was the need to create a mentoring program for entrepreneurs that went beyond the existing initiatives, such as those created by the Grinspoon Foundation, focused on college students.

Foster called it a “finishing school” for those with entrepreneurial spirit and an idea in some stage of development.

It would take four years to open this finishing school, but the partners prevailed. They called it Valley Venture Mentors and gave it a bold mission statement — “to launch an entrepreneurial renaissance in the region.” It staged its first monthly meeting in early 2011, bringing together mostly young entrepreneurs, many of them still in or just out of college, and mentors ready to help with advice on how to take an idea to the next level, whatever that might be.

To say those were humble beginnings, and that VVM has come a long way in four short years, would be an understatement. The first sessions were staged in the spacious, donated conference room of the Springfield-based law firm Bulkley Richardson, for which Foster is a partner. Most meetings drew 25 to 30 people. The organization had roughly $25,000 to work with, said Silva, now its executive director, and had no paid staff.

mentoring is a big part of the equation at VVM

As the agency’s name would suggest, mentoring is a big part of the equation at VVM as it goes about helping entrepreneurs get started and get to the next level.

Today, the meetings are held in the Food Court at Tower Square because attendance has grown to 150 or more, and that’s the only spot big enough to seat that many. Thanks to donations from MassMutual (see related story, page A10), the state, and other sources, VVM now has $5 million with which to administer a number of programs, including those monthly meetings, pitch camps, a pitch contest that has become a pivotal component of BusinessWest’s annual Western Mass. Business Expo, co-working space initiatives, and a new accelerator program, based on the MassChallenge model, that will bring 30 emerging companies together for four months of intensive learning, sharing, and competing for no less than $225,000 in prizes. There are now several paid staff members and a host of interns from area colleges working for VVM.

That profound growth shows how far VVM has come, but it doesn’t explain why this organization, still very much in the start-up phase like the companies it works with, has been designated a Difference Maker.

What does explain it is commentary from those who are in various ways part of the VVM phenomenon, or impacted by it. Using different words and phrases, these individuals make it clear that VVM is making a difference by creating what many call “collisions” involving people with ideas, valuable insight in business, and capital to make these ideas reality, and, in the process, create that aforementioned entrepreneurial renaissance and spark a revival in Springfield’s long-struggling central business district.

“The economic development of Springfield is a six-legged stool, and VVM is definitely one of those legs,” said Delcie Bean, founder and president of Paragus Strategic IT, BusinessWest’s Top Entrepreneur for 2014, a frequent mentor at VVM meetings, and a key player in efforts to revitalize downtown. “We need a place for very early-stage companies to go, be supported and mentored, and pushed and accelerated to get off the ground. If we’re going to have a successful city that’s going to rebound, that’s one of the critical elements.”

Evan Plotkin, a commercial real-estate broker, co-owner of 1350 Main St. in downtown Springfield, and a force behind many efforts to revitalize the central business district and grow the cultural economy in the city, agreed, and said VVM is generating momentum by bringing like-minded entrepreneurs and innovators together, creating what he called “entrepreneurial energy.”

“Creating these collision spaces and creating opportunities for interaction allows for ideas to take root, develop, and expand,” he noted. “VVM not only provides a forum for that kind of brainstorming and thinking, but it also contributes by finding ways to help those ideas become successful businesses.”

Getting the Idea

Both Silva and Foster used the phrase ‘turning point’ to describe what 2014 became for VVM and those who administer it.

This was a year when the agency grew exponentially — in terms of funding, programming, facilities, publicity, and, perhaps most importantly, respect from the many constituencies monitoring its progress or impacted by its widening reach, including then-Gov. Deval Patrick’s administration and the region’s only Fortune 100 company.

That upshift in momentum started roughly a year ago, when the Mass. Technology Collaborative announced that it was awarding VVM a $150,000 grant to fund its various endeavors, a development that gave the organization some exposure — and some validation that it was becoming an important economic-development initiative.

VVM helps entrepreneurs

Among other things, VVM helps entrepreneurs master the art and science of the pitch.

“That was essentially the collaborative’s stamp of approval for what we were doing,” said Foster, adding that VVM was the only entity west of Route 495 that prevailed in competition for funding. “We were invited to multiple meetings across the state, we were introduced to others as an innovative program that was really doing cutting-edge mentoring — and that’s when we realized that we were doing something special.”

More validation would soon come from the governor himself, who met with VVM administrators in the spring, during one of his many visits to Springfield.

“He essentially said, ‘I think we need to do more for you guys — you’re doing some pretty interesting things, and we can help with some capital,’” said Foster, adding that he backed up those words with a $2 million commitment to the agency.

More money would come VVM’s way in the form of a $1.6 million donation from MassMutual (the company also created the $5 million Springfield Venture Fund, designed to encourage companies to locate or relocate within Springfield), and awards from the Irene E. and George A. Davis Foundation and the Community Foundation.

With some of that money, VVM created physical space within Tower Square, first with a co-working space and then with a facility for its accelerator program, and made plans to become a major tenant in the Springfield Innovation Center on Bridge Street, an undertaking led by DevelopSpringfield, with construction set to begin soon.

What all that additional funding, operating space, and programming does is give VVM exponentially more resources to do what it was created to do. As they elaborated on that, Silva and Foster went back to the beginning, that first monthly session, because, while the setting has changed, the rooms are bigger, and the budget involves two more zeroes, the mission, as well as the basic strategy for meeting it, remains the same.

“We had 24 people at that first meeting, and Paul and I were two of them,” Foster recalled. “We had four entrepreneurs, so that means there were 18 others — 18 mentors. We didn’t really know quite what we were doing, but we knew we wanted the entrepreneurs to pitch, and we wanted the mentors to give them feedback, and we didn’t want it to be chaos.

“Early on, we decided we wanted this kind of a breakout idea,” he went on. “We wanted people to go and talk to whomever they wanted to talk to, and we wanted to have enough structure so it was meaningful, but not so much structure that it stifled creativity and the natural chaos of meeting other people and having those chance interactions.”

That word ‘interactions’ probably best describes what VVM is all about, said Foster, adding that they come in many shapes and sizes, and all of them could be very impactful.

Entrepreneurs can interact with seasoned business owners, he explained, or with individuals who have expertise in their chosen industry, or with other entrepreneurs dealing with many of the same issues and challenges they are, and, in what would likely be the best of scenarios, they could interact with an individual or venture fund willing to invest in their concept.

Parker Holcomb, who created what was known then as Five College Storage (it is now All College Storage, an indication of how it has grown geographically) while attending Amherst College, credits VVM with helping him “move the needle” with his venture, which places students’ belongings in storage between semesters and delivers them when school is back in session.

“VVM was my first professional network — it was my first opportunity to interact with people, ask questions, and figure out ways to leverage those peoples’ experiences,” he explained, adding that he credits VVM with helping him expand his company to 23 schools in five states.

He said it has also enabled him to sharpen his presentation skills, an important consideration for any small business that has to continually pitch its product or services, and develop accountability, something that’s often difficult in a one-man show.

“The practice I gained in presenting over the past several years could not have been more valuable,” he explained, adding that he has put those skills to work in everything from business-plan competitions to product demo days. “When you’re making a pitch to them, they say, ‘present the problem, present the potential market, present your solution, explain why your solution is defensible, talk about your team and what your advantages are.’ Practicing all that in front of a critical yet supporting group is extremely valuable.”

Moving Experiences

But while VVM’s basic mission hasn’t changed since that first meeting back in 2011, it has been broadened somewhat and certainly facilitated by many of those aforementioned developments in 2014.

Indeed, as part of that goal of creating an entrepreneurial ecosystem, VVM is focused on not only fostering entrepreneurship and mentoring business owners, but making it easier — and more desirable — for ventures to take root in Western Mass. and remain here.

And both the accelerator program and the Springfield Venture Fund should assist in these efforts, said Foster.

The new accelerator facility at Tower Square

The new accelerator facility at Tower Square opened its doors in January.

The accelerator, for example, will give 30 companies the opportunity to vie for at least $225,000 in prizes that will come without strings, he explained, adding that the money is essentially a carrot. The real prize in this exercise, the reason why VVM and its funders want companies to engage in it, is to take part in those interactions, take advantage of the support being offered, and realize the many potential advantages to basing a business in the 413 area code.

And Silva, a serial entrepreneur of sorts who has launched several small businesses, used his own experiences to get his point across.

“I’m not from Western Mass. — I came here for school, and I was very likely to leave, like all of my friends who took off and constantly tell me how much warmer it is where they are,” he told BusinessWest. “The reason I stayed was because the embryonic version of this entrepreneurial ecosystem was here in the Valley, and it loved me and gave me help to start my first company, so that’s why I stayed.

“So, if we can provide that kind of incredible, intense support and relationships, then we can impact these baby companies that don’t have roots yet,” he went on. “They can set down roots wherever someone will give them fertile ground. So we’re going to bring them in, we dangle the carrot to get them here, but the real value is that they see all this amazing stuff, they’re given opportunities to engage, and the ones that are a great fit are going to put down roots here.”

Those supporting the accelerator program through funding were asked to make a three-year commitment, and they did, said Foster, adding that it will likely take some time for VVM’s leaders, like startup business owners themselves, to “figure out what’s wrong, fix it, and do it better the next time.”

The first 30 companies in the program, based on the hugely successful MassChallenge model, which awards roughly $2 million in prize money, got down to business in mid-January. Among them is a venture called MachineMetrics, the latest endeavor launched by serial entrepreneur Bill Bither.

Using patented software, the company automatically collects and analyzes data from CNC machines, sending out notifications when production falls behind. It also provides a real-time dashboard that allows operators and managers to keep tabs on production at all times.

The product differentiates itself from others on the market by enabling managers to identify problems quickly and fix them, said Bither, who met a manufacturer who agreed to let his shop become a beta-testing site for the software at a VVM meeting. He told BusinessWest that he was drawn to become one of the 120 applicants for the first accelerator session because of the prize money — and the training and mentoring that can help him, well, accelerate his pace of growth.

“I think our company can benefit from the structure, and from the experience of the mentors,” he said. “But the cash grants are nice, and we hope to be one of the teams that wins one.”

As for the Springfield Venture Fund, it made its impact felt for the first time late last year, when it provided a large portion of the $1.25 million commitment from area investors that prompted video-game maker HitPoint Studios to relocate from Amherst to downtown Springfield. More such developments are expected in the months and years to come.

Looking at the larger picture, at the ecosystem created by the various entrepreneurship programs, Jay Leonard — an economic researcher for MassMutual subsidiary Babson Capital, a board member for VVM, and one of its mentors — said it has the potential to change the landscape in Springfield’s downtown. In some ways, he notes, it already is.

“We’ve had more than 150 people at our last five monthly meetings, which is pretty amazing for a Wednesday night in Springfield,” he said. “At any given time, we have 10 teams involved in our mentorship program, 30 teams associated with the accelerator … add this all up, and it brings an amount of positive energy to downtown Springfield.

“The accelerator becomes part of building out this entrepreneurial ecosystem, and it’s one of the notions that MassMutual and our other sponsors have bought into — the notion that entrepreneurship really can change Springfield,” Leonard went on. “Supporting this ecosystem means there will be more young people here; it means there will be more young people doing value-added activities and positive economic input. It provides us the ability, as a community, to grow without seeking outside support.”

Bottom Line

No one involved with VVM or any other element of the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem expects Springfield or the Pioneer Valley to become another Cambridge or Silicon Valley, probably the nation’s two most popular addresses for startup companies.

But they do expect this area to increase the number of young entrepreneurs ready and willing to call it home, and perhaps dramatically.

For that to happen, entrepreneurship must be fostered, entrepreneurs need to be mentored, and incentives must be created for companies to take root here, as Silva did years ago. VVM is already doing all that, and it has laid track that will enable it to do so on a much larger scale in the years to come.

That’s why a fledgling agency, started only a few years ago when a lawyer and a physicist walked into a bar, is already a Difference Maker.


George O’Brien can be reached at [email protected]

Features
Author, Economist Andrew Zimbalist Says Olympics Are a Bad Deal

OlympicsAuthorAndrew Zimbalist shakes his head at the prospect of the Summer Olympics coming to Boston in 2024. While the U.S. Olympic Committee paints a rosy picture of gleaming new construction, increased tourism, and long-term economic growth, Zimbalist argues that Olympic host cities almost never see these benefits.

As one of the world’s foremost sports economists, he should know. In fact, the Smith College professor of Economics recently published a book, Circus Maximus, on this very topic.

“In theory, the Olympics aren’t bad,” Zimbalist told BusinessWest. “In practice, there’s virtually no evidence that the city benefits. There may be some short-term benefit if everything goes well, in terms of volunteerism, pride, and togetherness. People feel good for a couple of months, then that fades away.”

“But,” he continued, “is it worth $5, $10, $15 billion to have that experience? The city ends up getting saddled with debt, and many times saddled with stadiums that are underutilized. Because of the cost to build and maintain them, we call them white elephants. And the presumed benefits of increased tourism, increased trade, and increased foreign investment are now borne out empirically; these things don’t increase over the trajectory they were already on.”

In short, if your city is chosen to host the Olympics, it probably didn’t need an image boost to begin with. And it certainly doesn’t need the debt. For a return of some $5 billion or $6 billion, the cost of staging the Summer Olympics were an estimated $16 billion in Athens in 2004, $40 billion in Beijing in 2008, and nearly $20 billion in London in 2012 — much of this investment tied up in infrastructure projects that may not be useful going forward.

Zimbalist argues that the Olympics are sold to the public as an economic boon when it’s just the opposite, a catalyst for tourism when evidence suggests it’s not.

“Whether it’s congestion, terrorism, or other fears, not one of these things necessarily makes people want to come to your city and trade with your city,” he said. “Even when the Olympics are pulled off well, are there really people around the world who haven’t heard of Boston and say, ‘hey, let’s travel to Boston’? Probably a few. It’s fair to say there are some feel-good benefits, but they’re very evanescent, very ephemeral. And for the economy, the benefits are illusory.”

Frankly, he continued, the Olympics are an opportunity for special interests to line their pockets at the long-term expense of the host city and the public. In a broad, candid interview with BusinessWest, he explained several reasons why the bidding and organizing structure encourages that outcome, and why the system isn’t likely to change anytime soon.

The Price Isn’t Right

If the bidding process were rational, Zimbalist argues, local organizing committees would understand how much their city stands to gain, and then cap their bids below that level.

The problem is that local committees are dominated by private business interests — contractors, construction unions, architects, investment bankers, and lawyers, to name a few — which individually stand to gain from the massive construction required by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

“Boston 2024 is a committee of private executives, largely from the construction industry. Some other industries are represented as well, but construction benefits more than any other industry,” he explained, adding that the construction contracts to be handed out are essentially “other people’s money.”

“Some of it comes from the Olympic Games, some from taxpayers, some from corporate sponsors, but it’s not their money. And they’re going to get the contracts; why wouldn’t they love the Olympics? They get to do all this massive construction in a relatively short period of time. Meanwhile, a lot of contracts get rushed and get charged higher costs than normal.”

The model suffers from what economists call a “principal/agent problem,” Zimbalist explained. The city (the principal) is not properly represented by the local organizing committee (the agent). So the more extravagant the bid, the more the committee members personally benefit, and they don’t think about (or care about) the public benefit versus the public cost — hence, the massive overbidding.

In his latest book, Andrew Zimbalist

In his latest book, Andrew Zimbalist makes the case that the Olympics saddles host cities with debt while bringing few long-term benefits.

“The most problematic aspect about the structure is that you have one organizer, the International Olympic Committee, that, in essence, auctions the right to host the Olympic Games. You have multiple cities around the world competing against each other and one monopoly seller,” he said.

“That situation almost always ends up with an overzealous overcommitment for extra funding, extravagance, and frills. Imagine six or seven cities all wanting to get this; five cities think it’s worth $4 billion, but one city thinks it’s worth $5 billion. That city is the outlier, the one that can’t agree with everyone else, and they’re the ones that end up winning.”

Will Boston approach its bid differently? Not if it wants to win, Zimbalist said.

“We keep hearing about how frugal and bare-bones Boston is going to be. They’re going to be building, they say, an Olympic stadium with a 60,000-seat capacity that doesn’t have any luxury boxes, club seats, or catering facilities, among other things. And when the games are over, they’ll take it apart.

“Other than the fact that, in my mind, it makes no sense to spend $500 million on a stadium that exists for 17 days,” he continued, “the problem is, Boston’s going to be competing against cities like Paris, Rome, either Berlin or Hamburg, Melbourne, Doha (capital of Qatar), and Johannesburg, and they’re not all going to put forward bare-bones plans. At the end of the day, the IOC will take the plan that most honors them and their traditions, and that’s going to be the most extravagant plan.”

In short, he said, “meeting the committee’s demands for infrastructure and facilities makes it impossible economically to get a reasonable return. That’s the most difficult thing Boston or any other city has to overcome.”

Tourist Trap

But what about the long-term gains a city might realize in increased tourism? It’s an attractive idea, Zimbalist said, but the publicity generated by the Games themselves is not guaranteed to be positive. Just ask the organizers of Olympics plagued by disorganization (London, Sochi), pollution (Beijing), corruption (Salt Lake City, Nagano), or terrorism (Atlanta).

“The publicity you get is not necessarily good publicity,” he went on. “Mexico didn’t get good publicity when they had to kill 2,000 students demonstrating, or when the African-American athletes raised their fists on the medal stands to protest race relations in the States. Munich didn’t get good publicity when 11 Israeli athletes were killed by terrorists. Montreal didn’t get good publicity when budget overruns were nine times over the initial bid price.”

Even during the Games, evidence suggests that the influx of Olympic tourism is offset by locals moving away for three weeks and tourists who would otherwise visit the city staying away as well. “In the short run, a lot of tourists decide they don’t want to deal with the high prices, congestion, and security issues, and tourism goes down in net terms.”

The best way to promote tourism is word of mouth, and that doesn’t translate to the Olympics, he added.

“Normally, when a tourist goes to Boston, he goes home and talks to friends and relatives: ‘Boston was great! We went to the Boston Garden, we saw the U.S.S. Constitution, we visited the Museum of Fine Arts, we heard the symphony’ … on and on. And people say to themselves, ‘hey, I want to go to Boston, too.’ But an Olympic tourist goes home and says, ‘I saw a terrific 50-meter dash, really exciting hurdles, a great relay.’ That’s not going to promote tourism in Boston. You lose the word-of-mouth effect.”

Zimbalist admits there have been exceptions. Barcelona, which staged the Summer Games in 1992, is often held up as a model for the Olympics bringing long-term benefits to the host city.

However, “Barcelona was a complicated story with many elements to it,” he explained. “Barcelona and Catalonia had been neglected regions for many years. When Franco died in 1975, the people of Barcelona said, ‘we’ve got to rebuild our city.’” That effort involved razing a warehouse district that separated downtown from the sea and a series of other development initiatives, all underway long before the Olympic bid.

“When they won the games, they had been building anyway. They started with a vision and an actual plan to change their city, and they folded the Olympics into that,” Zimbalist said. “They reversed the usual order, where there is no coherent plan, and the IOC tells you it needs 33 venues, and you contort your city to fit their plan.

“Barcelona was a gem of a city, largely undiscovered, with spectacular architecture, interesting culture, good climate, and a great location,” he said. “It was a city waiting to happen, and the Olympics gave it the spark.”

The Case for Reform

Boston, Zimbalist argues, does not need that spark, and neither do most countries bidding for the Games. In fact, the money they will spend over decades for that 17-day extravaganza would be better invested in needed infrastructure improvements, reduced rates from the national airline to boost tourism, multiplied trade missions, and a host of other efforts with tangible, long-term benefits.

Barcelona ran up a $6 billion debt to host the 1992 Summer Games, but the resulting image boost and surge in tourism continues to this day. Still, he said, the city is an outlier among all the other recent hosts still saddled with debt and rusting hulks of unused metal that once housed two weeks of sporting events.

Critics have floated ideas to reform the bid system — for example, choose a handful of rotating sites around the globe with permanent venues, which would dramatically reduce infrastructure costs.

“You could do a continental rotation system,” Zimbalist explained. “Every four years, a different continent would be the host, and the continent could choose one venue. It would ensure you wouldn’t have to rebuild the Olympic stadium. I think that makes a lot of sense. But the cities not chosen would say that’s not fair.”

Meanwhile, the IOC is starting to feel the heat for its debt-generating ways in the form of caution from potential host cities, particularly in the lower-profile Winter Games. Cities such as Oslo, Stockholm, Munich, and Davos all bailed out of 2022 bids, leaving only Beijing and Almaty, Kazakhstan currently in the running.

“Both are autocratic countries, and neither is ideal for hosting,” he said. “The extravagance, the gigantism, the grandiosity has gone so far that cities have started becoming leery about bidding.”

Will the International Olympic Committee change its ways? Zimbalist doesn’t think so.

“The IOC is reportedly making the case for other cities to bid,” he said. “They’re trying to gin up interest in the Olympics again so they can resume their traditional competitive bidding and extravagance.”

In other words, business as usual. Boston has been warned.

Joseph Bednar can be reached at [email protected]

Community Spotlight Features
Greenfield Crafts Detailed Road Map for the Future

Mayor William Martin

Mayor William Martin says a new rail platform will help Greenfield attract residents and allow businesses in Springfield to draw from a larger pool of employees.

‘Independence.’

That’s a word Mayor William Martin uses frequently, and a goal he has set for Greenfield that the city is well on its way to achieving, in his estimation.

“Synonyms are ‘sustainability’ or ‘resiliency,’ and that is where we have focused our economic-development efforts,” he said. “We want Greenfield and its residents to become as independent as possible.”

To that end, an important initiative kicked off last month when Greenfield Light and Power began operating as a municipal aggregation plan to provide electricity. The town gained final approval and certification for the plan from the Department of Public Utilities in October.

Greenfield has a contract with Peregrine Energy Group to develop the innovative initiative, which will not only bring lower-cost electricity to the community, but includes measures to procure it from renewable sources.

“Our price is fixed and is about .0125 per kilowatt hour,” Martin said, adding that the variable rate from Western Mass. Electric was about .014 per kilowatt hour at the time of the interview. “Although it may not seem like much of a difference, it adds up when you factor in millions of kilowatt hours,” he explained.

The mayor said it’s important for the town to be able to offer competitive pricing because reports from the U.S. Small Business Bureau show small businesses account for 60% to 80% of the jobs in the U.S., and the top obstacle they face in New England and Massachusetts is the cost of electricity.

“We want to continue to help existing companies in Greenfield expand as well as facilitate and accommodate the Yankee ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit of businesses that are an idea in someone’s garage,” said Martin as he outlined steps taken over the past three years to bring the municipal aggregation plan to fruition.

Greenfield Light and Power also plays into Greenfield’s commitment to a green economy and environment, because power purchased will be generated from renewable energy sources.

“We were the first city in the state to be designated as a green community,” Martin said. “We worked hard for this and can only get better. We already have a 2.5-megawatt solar farm and can create new solar and hydroelectric projects. We will eventually produce all of the electricity that we need and move it into our aggregation plan.”

The successful establishment of the municipal aggregation plan, coupled with the Green Communities Act of 2008, which gave municipalities the opportunity to seek independent telephone and Internet service, laid the groundwork for a telecommunications or (fiber-optics) light plant also designed to further Greenfield’s independence.

“I want us to have our own Internet provider and phone company,” Martin told BusinessWest, noting that he conceived the idea three years ago.

Steps to establish what’s known as Greenfield TelNet were enhanced in 2012-13 when the Mass Broadband Institute laid seven miles of fiber-optic line in the town as part of a project to increase broadband access to communities along Interstate 91 (more on that later).

Other projects designed to make Greenfield a more attractive place to live, work, and own a business include the town’s new, handicapped-accessible rail platform located behind the John W. Olver Transit Center. It was completed in December, and in addition to stops by Amtrak on its reconfigured Vermonter line, commuter rail service has been proposed that would run between Springfield and Greenfield four times a day, with stops in Holyoke and Northampton as well as Springfield.

Martin said a state transportation-funding bill passed last year includes $30 million to acquire and retrofit older MBTA commuter-rail locomotives for the line.

He hopes the new rail service will entice people to live in Greenfield and commute to jobs in Springfield, or travel to the town from Vermont, park there, and use the train to get to work. “People hired for the MGM casino could avoid congestion on I-91. Plus, it will give businesses in Springfield options to hire people out of the immediate job pool,” he said.

Net Gains and Concrete Results

Martin’s telecommunications proposal received approval from the Town Council two years in a row, and the town is waiting to get the legislative approval necessary to hold a special election for voters on April 14. Martin hopes the approval will come through and residents will approve Greenfield TelNet at that time.

However, steps have already been taken in an effort to shrink the time frame to implement service while following the process. The town partnered with Holyoke Gas and Electric to ultilize its fiber-optics network to create voice over IP telephone service and also contracted with Crocker Communications to install and maintain it. As a result, the phone service was changed over to VoIP in Town Hall several weeks ago, which Martin said will save about $158,000 a year. After wrinkles are worked out in the system, the town’s schools will also be outfitted with the new phone system.

“The next step will be Internet access, and we hope to develop strong partners to provide and service it for the city and for our residents and businesses at a future date, which could result in a huge cost savings for everyone. We want to guarantee the future use of fiber optics and make sure that bandwidth is not reserved for those who can afford higher rates,” Martin said. “Our plan includes installing wireless Internet access downtown in the future, which would be free to housing authorities. It would also guarantee the existence of Greenfield Community Television, and the possibilities would be unlimited.”

However, he added that the town is in discussions with Comcast to renew its contract, because it wants to leave all its options open.

Meanwhile, Martin said Greenfield has a number of other significant projects underway to spur economic growth. Construction of a new, $66 million Greenfield High School is expected to be complete in August, and the new $60 million Franklin County Courthouse is slated to be finished in two years.

“There is also a lot of private investment taking place,” the mayor told BusinessWest, noting that the owner of the block downtown that houses Wilson’s department store is putting together a proposal for a hotel and banquet hall that would occupy the upper stories of the building over the store and include new construction on the Chapman Street side of the property, which abuts a parking lot.

It would recreate the 19th-century hotel that once existed there, Martin said. “It served the bustling economic activity in the area, and was supported by industry and businesses. We haven’t seen the proposal yet, but a new boutique hotel would be important, as it would give people a place to stay overnight and would be another asset to our downtown.”

Patriot Care, a licensed and experienced medical-marijuana company, is also nearing the permitting phase for rehabilitating a historic building on the western part of Main Street.

“The $1 million project is expected to begin in the spring,” Martin said. “We are focusing on rehabilitating buildings from the early 1900s of Greenfield’s heyday.”

He added that the state has accepted a proposal to conduct a feasibility study for a new library, the school administration office is moving from Davis Street to Main Street, and the public safety commission has selected a site and formed a committee to move forward on a new public-safety complex that would house the fire and police departments.

In addition, “the Ford Toyota dealership on Main Street is building two new showrooms behind its present structure, which will separate the brands and showcase them in larger, more modern facilities. In addition, a new $2.5 million Cumberland Farms on Federal Street will be finished in a few weeks, and there is a proposal for a new Dunkin’ Donuts and Sunoco Convenience Store on Federal Street, which is the second-largest commercial area in the city.”

Baystate Franklin Medical Center is also adding a new, $23 million surgical wing to the hospital, which is expected to be open next year. In addition, Baystate purchased the former Holy Trinity School and convent across the street and has plans to demolish them and erect a medical professional building on the property.

Another project that has ties to the city’s history involves the Wiley and Russell Dam. It was scheduled to be demolished years ago, but the town requested that the Department of Conservation and Recreation Office of Dam Safety conduct a new review last November. As a result, it has been reclassified from a significant-hazard-potential dam to a low-hazard-potential dam, which means a failure would not be likely to result in any loss of life or significant damage to property.

The dam, which has a V-shaped waterfall just upstream of the Meridian Street Bridge, does need some repair. But in addition to making plans for that work, Greenfield officials are exploring the possibility of constructing a fish passage at the site with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries.

Martin said the dam speaks to the town’s history, and in the 1800s, two businesses existed at its base, which include a company whose genesis led to the development of Kennemetal Inc.

Last July, that firm announced plans to expand its Greenfield operation with a $5 million investment in infrastructure, new equipment, and machinery. The expansion will result in 50 new jobs, which will be added over the next five years. Martin said the company’s decision to invest in the town is particularly significant because Greenfield was pitted against a site in South Carolina that Kennemetal considered after it closed its factory in Vermont.

Argotech is another Greenfield business that employs skilled workers and has plans to expand. “The company is based in our industrial park and is investing $20 million over the next 10 years in new equipment,” the mayor said.

He explained that the city is working with Greenfield Community College, Franklin County Technical School, and the Regional Employment Board to make sure both of these companies will have access to a pool of people trained in the specific job skills required in their industries.

“We talked about this and about our utility plan during our pitch to Kennemetal, and told them what we could provide in terms of training and power savings,” Martin said. “It’s the type of accommodation and collaboration we facilitate to help large businesses move to Greenfield or expand here.”

The town has also taken over a 100-year-property on an 11-acre site on Federal Street, and put out a request for proposals to redevelop 75,000 square feet of former factory space in a commercial condominium on the site obtained in December through the Bankruptcy Court. Greenfield also purchased the undeveloped half of the property from the court, which contains three playing fields on 6.62 acres the city had been leasing for $1 a year from Lunt Silversmiths.

“The entire property has been rezoned,” Martin said.

He added that Greenfield’s location and affordable housing also make it an attractive place to live and work. “We are the junction between Routes 2 and I-91 and have been known as The Crossroads since the Village of Deerfield was established,” he said. “Businesses are expanding here and are coming to Greenfield because they see it as a safe investment. We have shown that we can maintain a stable tax base of $1.36 million, and we are very competitive when it comes to the cost of electricity.”

Secure Future

Martin believes the measures that Greenfield is taking to become independent will bear fruit and make the town more resilient.

“Some people are guessing that the future will be different. But we guess we will be prepared for whatever it holds; we’ll have as many options as possible,” he told BusinessWest.

And that’s a solid blueprint for a sustainable economy.

Greenfield at a glance

Year Incorporated: 1753
Population: 17,456 (2010)

Area: 21.89 square miles

County: Franklin

Residential Tax Rate: $22.51
Commercial Tax Rate: $22.51
Median Household Income: $33,110 (2010)
Family Household Income: $46,412 (2010)
Type of government: Mayor; Town Council
Largest Employers: Baystate Franklin Medical Center; Town of Greenfield; Greenfield Community College

* Latest information available

Law Sections
Each Day Is Different for MGM Springfield General Counsel Seth Stratton

Seth Stratton
Ask Seth Stratton for his job description, and he’s likely to respond, “which day?”

“I don’t know the answer, and that’s the exciting part of this job,” said Stratton, who was recently named vice president and general counsel for MGM Springfield, making him only the company’s second full-time hire, after President Michael Mathis.

“This is a unique development,” Stratton said of the $800 million resort casino expected to open in 2017. “Western Massachusetts has never seen this type of development, and the statute [legalizing casinos] poses legal questions that haven’t been addressed yet in Massachusetts. My job description is to oversee legal affairs and government relations. But what that means day to day is the exciting part.”

Technically, Stratton’s job is overseeing legal affairs and government relations for MGM Springfield — an extension of work he had been performing with the company while working at Fitzgerald Attorneys at Law in East Longmeadow. But as the casino project moves forward, his job will shift often.

“Last week, we were making sure legal notices go out to the tenants of the buildings that comprise the project parcel. They’ll be vacating a lot of those buildings, and we need to make sure we prepare the legal notices they need in a way that’s informative but complies with the law,” he explained.

“We were also in Boston last week, in front of the Gaming Commission, dealing with a few issues that were required under statute — implementing some monitoring of electronic gaming and an affirmative diversity plan for hiring; MGM is committed to that,” he continued.

“That was last week. And I think a good part of the development period will be like that. It’s going to be an ongoing development project, and there are going to be a whole lot of legal issues — in construction, as we start to roll out our hiring, and making sure we’re complying with gaming statutes and regulations. As things start to normalize, we’ll have a better sense of what the average day for the general counsel of MGM Springfield is like.”

Before being hired away from Fitzgerald, Stratton worked with MGM Springfield for almost three years, negotiating agreements with the city of Springfield and surrounding communities as well as advising on permitting and real-estate acquisitions, all the while becoming a familiar face at the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, presenting on legal issues relevant to the casino project.

Now that role has expanded, and Stratton understands the complexity of navigating a project that will eventually employ some 3,000 people in an industry making its debut in the Commonwealth.

“We’re working with outside counsel in Las Vegas, making sure that an enterprise this size is complying with all the laws and regulations,” he told BusinessWest. “A lot of it is working with the Gaming Commission on regulatory and statutory compliance to gaming laws and regulations, as well as local compliance issues. We have an agreement with the city of Springfield, they did a great job in the interests of the city, and they’re very clear they will hold our feet to the fire on all these issues.”

In other words, bring on the myriad challenges.

“That’s the reason I jumped at the opportunity to take this job,” he said. “It’s really a cool opportunity where the job description changes on a weekly basis based on what’s going on at the moment.”

Coming Home

Stratton is, for lack of a better term, a Springfield guy, through and through.

“I was born and raised in East Forest Park,” he said. “My parents were both born and raised in Springfield. My wife and both her parents were born and raised in Springfield. I went to Cathedral.”

proposed $800 million casino

Seth Stratton says the proposed $800 million casino is a “unique development,” one that will certainly keep him busy in his role as general counsel.

However, armed with a bachelor’s degree in political science from Colgate University and a master’s in public affairs from UMass Boston, he couldn’t find a suitable job in Springfield, so he went to work for state Sen. Brian Lees at the State House. After earning his law degree from Suffolk University Law School, he took a job as a litigation associate at Brown Rudnick in Boston.

When his first child was born, however, he and his wife decided they wanted to live near their families in Western Mass., so they moved back to Longmeadow.

“There was nothing really comparable to what I’d been doing in Springfield, so I took a job with a similar firm in Hartford,” he said, referring to his counsel position in the Financial Institutions Litigation Group at Bingham McCutchen in Hartford. “But I felt disconnected form the community I lived in; I didn’t feel connected to the business community here.”

That’s when an opportunity opened up at Fitzgerald, where Stratton took on a diverse litigation and dispute-resolution practice focusing on a wide range of corporate, commercial, and personal disputes. “They were looking for a litigator, and I knew of their reputation, so I went to work there. That way, I worked five minutes from where I live, and I could be involved in the legal community in Western Mass.”

Within a month after taking the job, the casino legislation passed, and MGM eventually came poking around Springfield, and hired Fitzgerald to handle legal and governmental matters.

“We were essentially the local counsel for MGM in connection with local matters,” Stratton said. “About two years ago, I really started getting busier and busier; there was a lot going on, and I really became enmeshed in the project. I worked directly with Mike Mathis. We have similar backgrounds. He’s a lawyer by training, a former litigator, so we worked very well together. And I started getting more involved in these issues.”

One of his first roles involved negotiations of the host-community agreement with Springfield and surrounding-community agreements with neighboring cities and towns.

“That was a lengthy process. Under statute, we had to reach out to the surrounding communities and negotiate with them, and that involved knowing who the players were and knowing what the communities are all about. That’s where my local experience, being local and involved in local politics, helped me to negotiate and handle arbitrations in front of the Gaming Commission.”

He worked extensively on the West Springfield and Longmeadow deals, and though both towns prevailed in arbitration, “we were satisfied with the results, which were consistent with the statute’s intent. We eventually ended up with surrounding-community agreements with all the communities abutting Springfield.”

As he became more involved with MGM through Fitzgerald, he worked on regulatory aspects and compliance issues with the Gaming Commission, and on the host-community agreement with Springfield.

“I worked pretty closely with the city solicitor on a number of items,” Stratton said. “I think it was helpful that folks I was dealing with in the city, and in the surrounding communities, knew I’m from the city, I have local roots, and I think that gave me credibility in these discussions that an outsider with a similar legal background may not have had. And MGM recognized that as a benefit.”

Added Mathis, “from day one as one of our local counsel, Seth has been a steady sounding board for the entire MGM Springfield team. We feel fortunate that he is not only a respected lawyer, but also cares deeply about the future of this area and the city of Springfield. His advice is always informed by his concern for local issues.”

Stratton praised Mathis equally effusively. “He’s a dynamic, young leader in this industry — very bright, very energetic, very demanding. Working with him over the last couple years has been very exciting. I truly have been impressed with the quality of professionalism and work ethic from all the individuals I’ve dealt with at MGM. To become a part of that culture is something I really appreciate.”

Bringing Springfield Back

Stratton also has a vision for his home city’s future, with MGM Springfield at the center of the revival.

“It sounds a little colloquial, but I grew up off Sumner Avenue and Allen Street, and I remember Christmas Eve, my father doing last-minute shopping at Baystate West. I remember hopping on the PVTA bus from Sumner Avenue to downtown and going to Johnson’s Bookstore,” he recalled.

“I love the idea that there could be more of those opportunities for people hoping to go to entertainment venues in downtown Springfield. For people living in these neighborhoods to go to MGM Springfield, not only to the casino but for some of the retail and restaurants, that would be exciting to me.”

While the city’s downtown has generated momentum lately with a growing number of businesses and colleges setting up shop, Stratton didn’t sense much excitement in the area around the time the gaming legislation was passed.

“I didn’t have the impression things were happening,” he said. “But right away, I realized this project had the opportunity to be the spark Springfield needed. Springfield does have its challenges. I’m not under the impression that MGM Springfield will be the hero, but I definitely think it has a catalyst ability, to be the spark that gets people excited about reinvesting in downtown.

“The idea that my wife and I can hop in the car and go to dinner and a show and then be home in five minutes, that’s truly exciting to us as a family,” he continued. “There are so few of those opportunities. When we do have time to go out to dinner, we’ll drive to Northampton, but it’s never been on our radar to go to Springfield. That’s going to change, and that’s really exciting for us.”

For now, though, Stratton continues to press his legal expertise and local knowledge to help bring that vision to reality. He expects his role to continue expanding, encompassing federal issues as well as state-level regulations, as groundbreaking, construction, and hiring and training strategies all move forward.

“It all changes day to day,” he said. “And that just makes the job more interesting.”


Joseph Bednar can be reached at [email protected]

Autos Sections
Area Auto Dealers Expect Sales to Accelerate in 2015

Carla Cosenzi

Carla Cosenzi says people who visit an auto dealership are often surprised at the advanced technology available in today’s models.

Carla Cosenzi doesn’t mince words when she talks about 2015 and her expectation that it will be a great year for auto sales.

“The economy continues to gain strength, interest rates remain low, and there are a lot of exciting new models coming out, so the outlook is really positive; the auto industry is predicting a record year,” said the president of TommyCar Auto Group, adding that sales have been on the rise in the past few years and the company was confident enough to build brand-new Hyundai and Volkswagen dealerships in Northampton over the past few years.

Jeb Balise agrees that sales are moving in a forward direction. “The industry is predicting a phenomenal year, but we had our best year ever last year,” said the chairman and CEO of Balise Auto Sales. “We sold just under 25,000 units, so any growth will be a bonus. But we are pretty excited about the future and continue to add new stores.”

Mike Marcotte said Marcotte Ford saw a 9% increase in new-car sales last year. “Sales were really strong, and we are hoping to be at 10% this year. We’ve hired new employees and ramped up our commercial sales department,” the company president told BusinessWest.

Such optimistic projections are in line with national forecasts. In fact, on Jan. 21, analysts at the American Financial Service Assoc. Vehicle Finance Conference in San Francisco said they expect the numbers to continue to grow in 2015 for the sixth consecutive year.

TrueCar and J.D. Powers are also optimistic and predict that sales of new vehicles should hit 17 million this year for the first time since 2005, a 3% increase over last year.

A number of factors are playing into the equation. Consumer confidence has risen, many vehicles can be purchased at low or 0% interest, gas prices have dropped dramatically, and consumers are impressed by the new features, gas mileage, and technology offered by manufacturers today, who find themselves in a highly competitive market with lean margins.

The reduction in gas prices has fueled the growth of SUVs and trucks, which slowed considerably nationwide when prices at the pump increased a few years ago.

Local dealers also noticed the trend. “People are very reactive to current circumstances, and we are already seeing sales of trucks and SUVs increasing because of low fuel prices; when gas prices went up, customers gravitated to hybrids,” Balise said. “But now, sales of mid- and full-sized SUVs and trucks are growing at a particularly fast rate.”

He believes the trend is exacerbated by the fact that construction jobs are increasing in the area, and with projects accelerating in Springfield, contractors and people in related businesses are buying the trucks they need to run their businesses. “There is a real demand for pickups again,” Balise said.

Marcotte concurred, and said the timing is serendipitous for Ford, due to its new, full-sized F-150 pickup, which has an all-aluminum body; redesigned Explorer and Edge SUVs; and a wide range of other new vehicles.

“We saw people trading in their big trucks for smaller cars three years ago,” he told BusinessWest, “But due to better gas mileage and the price of gas, there has been an upswing in sales of trucks and SUV’s.”

Marcotte Ford bulked up its inventory of 2014 F-150s last year to take advantage of the increase in demand, with the game plan of being able to offer attractive prices when the 2015 model came out. “There are great incentives for the 2014 models,” Marcotte said.

But the biggest factor in any sale is affordability, which has been a common denominator that is motivating people to purchase new vehicles.

“Transportation is less expensive today than it has been just about anytime in the past,” said Balise. “Low interest payments have exacerbated the advantages of new vehicles, and we are often able to offer people a lower payment than they had for their last vehicle.”

Jeb Balise, left, and Ken Maffia

Jeb Balise, left, and Ken Maffia say that providing exceptional service is a key component in repeat business.

Industry analysts say that, although people are borrowing more than they did in the past for a new vehicle, the fact that they are spreading payments over longer terms at low or 0% interest rates makes payments especially alluring. Experian Automotive reports the average new-car buyer financed approximately $27,799 in the third quarter of 2014, and although that was an increase of about 4% over the year before, their average monthly payment was only about 2.6% more.

“When people get a loan at 0% interest, it allows them to get more features and keep their payments the same,” Marcotte said.

Drumming Up Business

Auto dealers say that, although some people still trade in their vehicles every two to three years, most are keeping them for longer periods of time. “The average is 11 years, and the trade-ins we see have about 100,000 miles or more,” Marcotte said.

Balise agreed. “We’re seeing trade-ins with up to 270,000 miles. There are plenty with well over 100,000 miles that range between 175,000 and 205,000 miles, which is something we rarely saw prior to 2008.”

However, dealers say the fear of taking on new debt that existed during the recession has led to pent-up demand. “It’s greater today than it has ever been,” Balise said, adding that many people who put off purchasing new cars for several years are eager to buy again.

And since many haven’t entered a dealership for some time, they are wowed by what is being offered.

“Ford makes major changes every three years,” said Marcotte. “And people who visit a dealership for the first time in years are surprised by the technology and safety features in the vehicles.”

He told BusinessWest that Ford introduced two models that can be run on gas or electricity — the Fusion and the C-Max hybrid — to the market about three years ago. “People can plug into charging stations at dealerships and travel about 1,000 miles before they have to recharge. There are more options than ever before, so vehicles can really be tailored to suit people’s needs.”

Cosenzi agreed and noted that Volkswagen’s E-Gulf was named Motor Trend Car of the Year, and that vehicle, along with Nissan’s Leaf, another electric model, not only qualify for large state and federal rebates, but also ensure that buyers will never have to purchase gas again.

“We have a quick-charging station that fully charges a vehicle in under an hour, and more places are adding fast-charging stations so people can stop along the way when they want to take a long trip,” she continued, adding that customers who visit TommyCar’s dealerships often look for the latest safety features, including the BlueLink by Hyundai and Car Care by Volkswagen, which are similar to the OnStar system, which provides an emergency-response system, navigation, and diagnostics.

“BlueLink allows people to set a mileage parameter that alerts them if the driver goes outside of it or the speed limit, as well as step-by-step navigation. It also alerts them whenever the vehicle needs maintenance,” Cosenzi told BusinessWest. “But these features aren’t driving traffic, and people are not buying because they want the latest technology. They are just impressed by it when they come in.”

Balise agreed. “People are smart shoppers and more frugal than they used to be when it comes to options,” he explained. “They only want them if they see their value and know they will use them. They are more pragmatic and less emotional about purchases than they were in the past.”

Dealers are in agreement that most buyers know what they want when they enter the dealership because they have done research online. But they want to touch and feel the vehicle as well as test drive it, Cosenzi said.

However, due to fierce competition, they also know there is flexibility in pricing, and Balise said what used to be a painful transaction is now something that can be pleasant for the buyer.

“We’ve streamlined the process and discount vehicles in a forthright way with full disclosure so the customer is in control,” he said. “When they arrive, they are well-educated due to the Internet, so it behooves dealers to live up to the knowledge and understanding they have. Our success is based on high volume, so we are able to make transactions at low prices.”

Repeat business is important and is measured by manufacturers, and because the service people receive while they own a vehicle weighs heavily in their choice of where to go when they are ready to purchase a new model, dealerships are doing everything possible to make visits easy and pleasant.

“Manufacturers and dealers go to extremes to provide a great experience,” Balise said, adding that his dealerships’ customer-retention and loyalty rates are very high.

Marcotte explained that the trend of keeping vehicles longer than in the past led his dealership to outgrow its existing number of service bays. “So we are building new bays for commercial vehicles,” he said, adding that he will break ground next month on a new building with 16 bays. It will be positioned next to Quicklane on 933 Main St. in Holyoke, which services any make or model and was built by Marcotte six years ago.

He added that the dealership’s service department is open until midnight, and people who buy from Marcotte Ford can take advantage of its 150 free loaner vehicles. “We want to make things as convenient for customers as possible,” he noted. “We also offer breakfast catered by the Log Cabin Restaurant on Tuesdays and Saturdays so people can have a nice meal; some customers schedule visits at these times just because of the free meal.”

Balise said offering exceptional service is no longer an option, but a necessity. “Being good is not good enough today. Our growth is based on being customer-focused and is driven by that more than anything else. Standards have continued to rise over the last 10 years, and we are maniacal about being the absolute best in class.”

Optimism Prevails

Overall, Cosenzi said, consumers are more confident than they were a few years ago.

“Sales in the second half of 2014 really accelerated for us, and we are coming into our good months. Sales typically start to increase in February, and the outlook is really positive,” she noted, mentioning President’s Day specials and tax season because buyers who get large refunds often use them as a down payment for a new vehicle. “Plus, there are a lot of new models coming out.”

Balise concurs and said the company completed construction on four new dealerships last year and now has 19 in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. “We are predicting a 2% to 4% increase in sales this year and feel pretty confident we will sell more than 30,000 units,” he told BusinessWest.

If interest rates and gas prices stay low, and the economy continues to improve, the numbers should add up to a good outcome for consumers and dealers alike.

Building Permits Departments

The following building permits were issued during the month of January 2015.

CHICOPEE

Frito-Lay Inc.
90 Champion Dr.
$21,000 — Replace existing overhead door

Front Street, LLC
916 Front St.
$4,000 — Strip and re-roof

Jennifer’s Kitchen
574 Chicopee St.
$9,000 — Install two commercial hood systems

LUDLOW

Black Diamond Development
485 Holyoke St.
$175,000 — New commercial construction

Citizens Bank
33 Center St.
$160,000 — Interior alterations

CVS
451 Center St.
$118,000 — Commercial alterations

Peter Kawie
250 West St.
$7,000 — Re-shingle

NORTHAMPTON

Atwood Drive, LLC
22 Atwood Dr.
$13,000 — Cell tower modifications

Clark Ave. Condos
53 Clark Ave.
$20,000 — Repair rear exterior decks

JW Inc.
71 King St.
$5,500 — Remodel second-floor bathroom

Northampton Housing Authority
56 Maple St.
$12,000 — Repair water damage

St. John’s Episcopal Church
48 Elm St.
$15,000 — Replace antennas and existing equipment

Valley Building Company, LLC
98 Market St.
$12,000 — Construct third-floor dormer and add egress

SOUTH HADLEY

Western Mass Girl Scouts
9 Camps Perkins Road
$18,000 — Install cell tower

Mt. Holyoke College
50 College St.
$20,500 — Renovations

SPRINGFIELD

1350 Main St., LLC
1350 Main St.
$66,000 — Construct conference room and break area

Astro Chemicals
126 Memorial St.
$1,955,000 — Construct a 25,000-square-foot metal building

CHE Trinity Health
195 Stafford St.
$38,000 — New roof

Expressions
1067 Boston Road
$3,000 — Interior renovations

Phillip Edison & Company
300 Cooley St.
$26,000 — New roof

WESTFIELD

FRP Holdings Westfield, LLC
64 Main St.
$230,000 — Interior renovation and new storefront

Westfield Housing Authority
16 Washington St.
$175,000 — Replace fire escapes

WEST SPRINGFIELD

Baghdad Bakery
977 Main St.
$3,000 — Install commercial exhaust hood

Big E
1305 Memorial Ave.
$780,000 — Reconstruction of bathrooms at the Better Living Center

Bill Bourque
177 Norman St.
$350,000 — Erect 3,880-square-foot single story building

Century Park, LLC
181 Park Ave.
$60,000 — Renovate 1,680 square feet of existing space

Chandler Architectural Product
255 Interstate Dr.
$12,000 — Re-roof

Clarion Hotel
1080 Riverdale St.
$90,000 — Interior renovation

Merrick Statron
389 Main St.
$107,000 — Create new office space

DBA Certificates Departments

The following Business Certificates and Trade Names were issued or renewed during the month of January 2015.

CHICOPEE

B Big Global
211 Poplar St.
Bright Ukandu

Buns-on-Wheels
522 Main St.
Ana Guelhermino

Chicopee Building Supply
14 Exchange St.
Michael Chamberland

Cotton Mill Sound
165 Front St.
John Daigle

Fruit Fair
398 Front St.
Shailesh Patel

Head Quarters
852 Memorial Dr.
Mark Mushenko

Papa John’s
610 Broadway St.
Cary Rivest

HOLYOKE

Cara Foods
14 Corser St.
John Kennedy

Holyoke Furniture Outlet
354-356 High St.
Alfredo Improta

Salon 413
1735 Northampton St.
Stacie Anne Alicea

Zerorez Pioneer Valley
1-3 Thorpe Ave.
ZRPV Corporation

LUDLOW

Faustination
59 Szlosek Road
Daniel Faustino

Open Door Café
247 Cady St.
Arlindo Alves

SDI Auto Repair
575 East St.
Vanda Barros

NORTHAMPTON

Boomerang Booksellers
139 Federal St.
Mark Brumberg

Firestaff Homes
351 Pleasant St.
Gary Bennett

Fitness Together
18 Strong Ave.
Jessica Phaneuf

Keggeroo Creative Consulting
53 Clark Ave.
Kenneth Geiger

Ohmstyle Living
43 Finn St.
Allison Cook

Panacea Salon
28 Pleasant St.
Patricia Britt

Swing Graphics
36 Market St.
Gregory Perham Jr.

Valley Nibbler
80 Damon Road
Gwen Connors

Valley Stress Reduction
30 Locust St.
Ellen Kaufman

Western Construction Services
275 Hatfield St.
John S. Henderson-Adams

PALMER

C & G Services
8 Crest St.
Marie Day

Friendly’s
1519 North Main St.
Friendly’s, LLC

Walnut Street Café
8 Walnut St.
Doris Theodore

SPRINGFIELD

Lizet Land Photography
219 Gifford St.
Lizet Land

Luxury Nails Salon
1220 Main St.
Vy J. Nguyen

Mommy’s
324 Wilbraham Road
Henry Ogirri

Oriental Gift and More
171 Boston Road
Chun Yang

Plink Plunk Play
63 Lakevilla Ave.
Rita F. Bartholomew

Ray’s Auto Repair
3 Fountain St.
Ramon L. Rivas

Serenev Affordable Tax
67 Suffolk St.
Angela D. Martin

Superior Home Health
83 Hazen St.
Shari Anglin

SV Saturno Cleaning Services
413 Nottingham St.
Marcos Villegas

The Sports Shack
152 Main St.
Sandra A. Babbie

Tower Convenience Store
10 Chestnut St.
Zahid Farooqui

Tranquility Day Spa
1655 Boston Road
Charles Tran

Universal Caulking
42 Kimberly Ave.
Anthony M. Dewdney

Vape Religion
526 Sumner Ave.
Tam T. Le

WESTFIELD

Clean by Kim
207 Northwest Road
Kimberly J. Gamache

Del Photo & Craft Works
46 Spruce St.
Michael C. Delmonte

New England Winners Club
720 Russell Road
Vadim Lezhnyak

Rycon Renovation
41 St. Dennis St.
Sirahei Ryhal

Western Mass Excavation Corporation
30 Sunset Dr.
Dale Unsderfer

Western Mass Pan Project
76 Broad St.
Jonathan Adams

WEST SPRINGFIELD

Clarion Motel
1080 Riverdale St.
Shailesh Patel

Friendly’s
1094 Riverdale St.
Catherine Smith

Knight’s Inn
1557 Riverdale St.
Anil Rana

Pat’s Auto Service
163 Norman St.
Richard D. Parenteau

Santana’s Kung-Fu Studio
452 Main St.
Maria E. Santana

Welcome Inn
2041 Riverdale St.
Patel Pravinshai

Departments Incorporations

The following business incorporations were recorded in Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin counties and are the latest available. They are listed by community.

AMHERST

Hangar of Greenfield Inc., 55 University Dr., Amherst, MA 01002. Harold Tramazzo, same. Franchise restaurant.
 
EAST BROOKFIELD

1 Stop Transportation Inc., 119 Oakwood Dr., East Brookfield, MA 01515. Samantha Marie Cox, 6 St. Clair Road, Brimfield, MA 01010. Interstate and intrastate transporting, towing, and storage of vehicles.
 
HOLYOKE

Christian Union Chaplaincy Commission, 349 High St., Holyoke, MA 01040. Juan Fernandez, 210 Mountain View Dr., Holyoke, MA 01040. Organized to establish a chaplaincy ministry, to be a governing entity which will establish governance and polity, oversee activities, enforce common doctrines, and provide general administrative and spiritual supervision for other organizations which will themselves be organized and operated exclusively for educational, charitable, and/or religious purposes.
 
LUDLOW

Duru Inc., 481 Center St., Center St., Ludlow, MA 01056. Aziz Turan, 96 Bluebird Circle, Ludlow, MA 01056. Full-service restaurant.
 
SOUTH HADLEY

Anthony Reynolds Sr. Memorial Fund Inc., 38 River Road, South Hadley, MA 01075. Anthony Reynolds Jr., same. Establishing scholarships for graduating high school students who wish to pursue the field of medicine or medical sciences.
 
SPRINGFIELD

Bay Auto Sales Corp., 784 Bay St. Springfield, MA 01109. Argenis Ramos, same. Auto sales and service.
 
Elser Builders Inc., 35 Glenwood Ave., Pittsfield, MA 01021. David Elser, same. Construction, commercial and residential.
 
Fast Lane Auto Sales & Service Inc., 18 Berkshire Ave., Springfield, MA 01109. Noemi De Leon, 56 Malden St., Springfield, MA 01108. Used automobile sales and service.
 
WEST SPRINGFIELD

A.M.P.M. Express Inc., 284 Main St., West Springfield, MA 01089. Murad-John Osmanli, same. Trucking business.
 
WESTFIELD

Indian Motorcycle Riders Group of Springfield Inc., 962 Southampton Road, Westfield, MA 01085. Ed Villareal, same. Non-profit organization with the primary objectives to promote the Indian Motorcycle brand and attend as a club at least two charitable / benefit rides a year.

Briefcase Departments

Federal $10M Grant Will Help Improve Long Island Sound
GREENFIELD — The Connecticut River Watershed Council (CRWC) is one of seven partners receiving a $10 million federal grant funded through USDA’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program. This new project brings together seven partners to improve the health of Long Island Sound. The funding will be matched dollar for dollar by other local, state, and private funding sources. Excess nutrients have been identified as the primary driver of hypoxic conditions (lack of oxygen) in Long Island Sound and are also impacting upland water resources within the watershed, which encompasses areas of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. This project will develop a comprehensive, whole-farm, management-certainty program for farmers in the area and use both working lands and easement programs to improve soil health and nutrient management, establish community resiliency areas with a focus on enhancing riparian areas, and institute a land-protection program to protect agricultural and forestry areas. “The council is very pleased to be one of the many partners on this important project to improve the health of both the Connecticut River basin and Long Island Sound,” said CRWC Executive Director Andrew Fisk. “Funding will allow CRWC to continue working with landowners on restoration projects on their land that will improve our rivers and protect their investment in productive farm and forest land.” The Connecticut River contributes more than 70% of the freshwater to Long Island Sound and plays an important role in the health of the sound. “We are proud to be working with landowners to help them do their part to restore and protect the public’s water,” noted Fisk. “Many individuals working together across the entire watershed will have a great impact to improve the health of our rivers and Long Island Sound.” The Connecticut River Watershed Council works to protect the watershed from source to sea. To learn more, visit www.ctriver.org.

Construction Employment Increases in 40 States
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Construction firms added jobs in 40 states and the District of Columbia between December 2013 and December 2014, while construction employment increased in 38 states and D.C. between November and December, according to an analysis of Labor Department data by Associated General Contractors of America. “Part of the reason for the positive December construction employment figures was the exceptionally harsh weather in much of December 2013 and November 2014 and milder-than-normal weather in December 2014,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Nevertheless, the underlying trend is very positive, with construction employment expanding at more than double the rate for total non-farm payroll jobs.” Texas added more new construction jobs (47,500 jobs, 7.7%) between December 2013 and December 2014 than any other state. Other states adding a high number of new construction jobs for the past 12 months included Florida (34,300 jobs, 8.9%), California (26,000 jobs, 4.0%), Illinois (20,200 jobs, 10.6%) and Washington (14,100 jobs, 9.5%). North Dakota (25.7%, 8,300 jobs) added the highest percentage of new construction jobs during the past year, followed by Utah (13.4%, 10,100 jobs), Wisconsin (12.7%, 12,400 jobs), and Arkansas (12.6%, 5,800 jobs). Ten states shed construction jobs during the past 12 months. West Virginia lost the highest percentage (-9.1%, -3,000 jobs). Other states that lost a high percentage of jobs include Mississippi (-7.5%, -4,000 jobs), Hawaii (-4.5%, -1,400 jobs), and Arizona (-3.4%, -4,300 jobs). Arizona lost the most construction jobs between December 2013 and December 2014, followed by Mississippi, West Virginia, and Ohio (-2,500 jobs, -1.3%). Thirty-eight states and the District of Columbia added construction jobs between November and December. New York (6,400 jobs, 2.0%) added the most jobs, followed by Illinois (6,000 jobs, 2.9%), Texas (5,100 jobs, 0.8%), and North Carolina (4,100 jobs, 2.3%). Association officials said the latest construction employment figures are consistent with the optimism many contractors expressed in the association’s recently released annual “Construction Hiring and Business Outlook.” According to the outlook, 80% of contractors report plans to add new construction jobs in 2015. In addition, a majority of contractors expect demand for most construction-market segments this year to grow. “The construction industry appears on track to add many new construction jobs in 2015,” said Stephen Sandherr, the association’s CEO.

BCBS Grants to Support Care for Vulnerable Populations
BOSTON — Individuals with behavioral health and other medical issues are among the highest-need, most complex patients in the healthcare system but rarely receive care that integrates both aspects of treatment. The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation’s new, $1.3 million grant program, called Fostering Effective Integration of Behavioral Health and Primary Care, will support 10 organizations — including one in Western Mass., the Center for Human Development — that are currently implementing collaborative, co-located, and integrated service models for patients with a range of medical and behavioral-health needs, including support for their families. The National Co-morbidity Survey Replication shows that 68% of adults with a severe behavioral-health disorder have at least one chronic medical condition, and 29% of adults with a chronic medical condition have serious mental illness. Moreover, those with a mental illness live far shorter lives than those without, partly due to treatable medical conditions and inadequate access to medical care. Better coordination of primary care and behavioral health — including early identification, timely and regular treatment, and rehabilitation and recovery supports — is important to improving health care outcomes and potentially controlling costs for people with behavioral-health needs, said Audrey Shelto, president of the BCBS of Massachusetts Foundation. “We believe the time is now to invest in and evaluate programs that have experience providing primary care and also treating mental-health and substance-use disorders to help define what truly constitutes an effective integrated model of care.” The grantee organizations represent a variety of provider types — community health centers, community-based behavioral-health centers, and hospital-based programs — located throughout the entire state. “We are thrilled to be working with some of the most experienced healthcare providers in the Commonwealth and look forward to sharing information and collaborating on this critical issue,” said Shelto. The local grantee, the Center for Human Development (CHD), has created a project in partnership with two health centers to provide integrated care to seriously mentally ill adults and individuals with substance-use disorders. The health centers — Caring Health Center of Springfield and Holyoke Health Center — provide integrated primary care, care management and wellness services, while the Western MA Recovery Learning Community provides peer-guided wellness groups and peer specialists. The largest cluster of patients is within the Department of Mental Health-funded Community-Based Flexible Supports program, identified as ‘super-utilizers’ with high rates of avoidable ED visits. The program provides primary-care services to people with serious mental illness on site at a CHD community mental-health center, with a focus on patients with diabetes, pre-metabolic syndrome, and high risk for cardiovascular disease. Chronic-disease management and wellness programs are provided by primary-care nurses and peer specialists, and patients involved with the integrated care program experience reduced wait times when seeking medical care at the respective health centers. The focus of the foundation’s one-year grants is the evaluation and assessment of integrated-care programs that demonstrate the greatest likelihood of effectiveness across a range of domains such as increased access, improved outcomes, greater patient engagement, and reduced costs. The foundation will document the success factors, barriers, and challenges faced by grantees with the intent of making a longer-term investment in promising, replicable models in the future. For more information, visit www.bluecrossmafoundation.org.

Business Confidence Index Soars in 2014
BOSTON — The Associated Industries of Massachusetts Business Confidence Index ended 2014 at 57.3, 7.1 points above last December’s level. “This is the index’s highest reading since July 2007, before the Great Recession, and it concludes the best quarter since that period,” said Raymond Torto, chair of AIM’s Board of Economic Advisors (BEA) and lecturer at Harvard Graduate School of Design. “There is reason to believe, moreover, that this upwelling in confidence will prove more lasting than the increase of early 2012, which was undone by fiscal conflict in Washington.” In 2014, Torto noted, “business confidence survived a stress test of economic contraction in the first quarter, then gained in eight of the last 10 months of the year. Fundamentals are looking much better — unemployment is down and job creation is running strong nationally and in Massachusetts, which shows up in rising consumer confidence; the federal deficit and the trade deficit are shrinking; and, of course, the stock market has done well. Despite significant areas of weakness in the global economy, Massachusetts employers have ample cause to be optimistic.” The AIM Index, based on a survey of Massachusetts employers, has appeared monthly since July 1991. It is calculated on a 100-point scale, with 50 as neutral; a reading above 50 is positive, while below 50 is negative. The index reached its historic high of 68.5 on two occasions in 1997-98, and its all-time low of 33.3 in February 2009. The sub-indices based on selected questions or categories of respondent experienced a mix of gains and losses from November to December, but all were up from a year before. The Massachusetts Index, assessing business conditions within the Commonwealth, added one point on the month to 56.1, and the U.S. Index of national business conditions was up four-tenths to 50.1. “This is the third time since the recession that U.S. Index reached 50, but so far it has not held that level,” said BEA member Paul Bolger, president of Massachusetts Capital Resource Co. “Respondents with 100 or fewer employees still tend to rate national conditions negatively, while larger firms are on the positive side. Compared to last December, the state indicator was up 9.1 points, while its national counterpart gained 5.3 points.” The Current Index, which assesses overall business conditions at the time of the survey, was up 1.2 points to 56.2, while the Future Index, measuring expectations for six months out, shed one-tenth to 58.4. The annual gains were 7.6 and 6.8, respectively.

Company Notebook Departments

Financial-success Center to Open at Holyoke Community College

HOLYOKE — Thrive, a one-stop financial-success center for local college students and residents, staged a grand-opening celebration on Feb. 4 in the Frost building at Holyoke Community College. Thrive, a collaborative effort between HCC, PeoplesBank, and United Way of Pioneer Valley, will offer financial literacy and coaching, workforce-development services, and public-benefits screening and enrollment. Thrive will provide a valuable support system for anyone in the community (along with necessary skills to achieve long-term financial goals), but especially college students, who may be experiencing financial independence for the first time in their lives. “I don’t think it’s any secret that most college students don’t have a lot of money and that those who choose to attend community college often do so because of its affordability and their own financial limitations,” said HCC President William Messner. “What we see, year after year, is that managing money is a huge challenge for students. That financial anxiety is an issue that often impedes their academic performance and sometimes even leads them to drop out of school. Anything we can do to eliminate or at least reduce those financial concerns is going to help our students succeed in the classroom. Healthy financial skills will aid them not only during their college days, but also after they move on, so we are very happy to provide this new resource here at HCC not only for our students, but for members of the community who might also be facing financial issues.” PeoplesBank has been working to increase financial literacy for years by supporting seminars in the community and teaching personal finance in area public schools. “Academic excellence and community vibrancy are core principles of our corporate-responsibility efforts,” said Douglas Bowen, president and CEO of PeoplesBank. “Supporting Thrive gives us the opportunity to expand on our financial-literacy education efforts. It also provides our associates with another way to volunteer to improve the community and help our future workforce by teaching classes at Thrive.” Financial literacy is also one of the four impact areas that United Way of Pioneer Valley focuses its fund-raising efforts on, because of the long-lasting results that can be attained with the proper skills and training. “We’re here to help hardworking families build assets for a successful future,” said Dora Robinson, president and CEO of United Way of Pioneer Valley. “Our partnership with HCC and PeoplesBank has made it possible for our community to ‘Thrive.’”

First Connecticut Bancorp Reports Q4 Earnings
FARMINGTON, Conn. — First Connecticut Bancorp Inc., the holding company for Farmington Bank, reported net income of $3.1 million, or $0.21 diluted earnings per share, for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2014, compared to net income of $2.5 million, or $0.17 diluted earnings per share, in the linked quarter. Diluted earnings per share were $0.07 for the fourth quarter of 2013. The bank had net income of $9.3 million, or $0.62 diluted earnings per share, for the year ended Dec. 31, 2014, compared to net income of $3.7 million, or $0.24 diluted earnings per share, for the year ended Dec. 31, 2013. “Despite the low-interest-rate environment which continues to apply pressure to the margin, we continue to generate improved earnings based on our organic growth strategy, coupled with our strategic steps of reducing operating cost through process improvement initiatives,” said John Patrick Jr., First Connecticut Bancorp’s chairman, president, and CEO. “I am extremely proud of our team for their efforts in 2014, as we have once again prudently grown our asset and deposit base, deepening our market share where we operate. Their effort is evidenced in the improvement in our operating efficiency and annual EPS growth of 158%. We continue to be pleased with the progress of our expansion into Western Massachusetts, and will be opening two branch offices in that market in 2015, as previously announced.” Also in the fourth-quarter report, net interest income increased $410,000 to $16.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2014 compared to $16.0 million in the linked quarter, and increased $2.1 million or 14% compared to fourth quarter of 2013. On a core basis, net interest income increased $160,000 in the fourth quarter of 2014 compared to the linked quarter. Strong organic loan growth continued during the quarter, as total loans increased $88.4 million to $2.1 billion at Dec. 31, 2014 and increased $318.7 million or 18% from a year ago. Non-interest expense to average assets was 2.39% in the fourth quarter of 2014 compared to 2.46% in the linked quarter and 2.80% in the fourth quarter of 2013. Tangible book value per share was $14.57 compared to $14.56 on a linked quarter basis and $14.11 at Dec. 31, 2013. Checking accounts grew by 2.8% or 1,242 net new accounts in the fourth quarter of 2014 and by 13.1% or 5,248 net new accounts compared to Dec. 31, 2013. Asset quality improved, as loan delinquencies 30 days and greater decreased slightly to 0.75% of total loans at Dec. 31, 2014, compared to 0.78% at Sept. 30, 2014 and 0.85% at Dec. 31, 2013. Non-accrual loans represented 0.72% of total loans, compared to 0.76% of total loans on a linked quarter basis and 0.81% of total loans at Dec. 31, 2013. The allowance for loan losses represented 0.89% of total loans at Dec. 31, 2014 compared to 0.91% at Sept. 30, 2014 and 1.01% at Dec. 31, 2013. Finally, the company paid a cash dividend of $0.05 per share on Dec. 15, 2014, and paid a cash dividend of $0.17 per share for the year, an increase of $0.05 compared to the prior year. This marks the 13th consecutive quarter the company has paid a dividend since it became a public company on June 29, 2011.

Two Local Banks Boost Capital Campaign for Sr. Caritas Cancer Center
SPRINGFIELD — Mercy Medical Center announced that Westfield Bank and Chicopee Savings Bank Charitable Foundation have pledged gifts of $150,000 and $100,000, respectively, to “Transforming Cancer Care,” the capital campaign for the Sr. Caritas Cancer Center. Westfield Bank’s gift is particularly significant because it reflects the largest corporate gift in the history of the bank. “Whether we like it or not, every one of us will be touched by cancer, directly or indirectly,” said James Hagan, president and CEO of Westfield Bank. “As an employer and as a community member, I recognize the importance of outstanding hospital care for the health of our community. Supporting this expansion is the right thing for economic, humanitarian, and personal reasons. We’re proud to be a part of this worthy project and encourage other area businesses to support the expansion as well.” Added Chicopee Savings Bank President Bill Wagner, “Chicopee Savings Bank and its charitable foundation have consistently supported the Sisters of Providence Health System and their various efforts. We have long been impressed by the organization’s mission to serve all members of our community. Cancer affects people across the socio-economic spectrum. This expansion will lift the level of care at Mercy to an even higher level, while expanding Mercy’s ability to meet the growing cancer-care needs of this community.” Mercy Medical Center recently launched a capital campaign to support the $15 million expansion of the Sr. Caritas Cancer Center at Mercy Medical Center. Specifically, the funds will be used to consolidate all cancer services into a single, unified space and meet increased demand for outpatient cancer services. In the past two years, the number of patients receiving chemotherapy at the Sr. Caritas Cancer Center has increased by more than 200%. By 2022, the need for outpatient cancer services is expected to grow by 26%. “Through the years, the banking community has been at the forefront of supporting the Sisters of Providence Health System,” said Diane Dukette, vice president of Fund Development for the Sisters of Providence Health System. “Once again, they are among the first to step forward to support a critical community need. We are grateful for their ongoing generosity and commitment to the people we serve.”

United Financial Bancorp Announces Q4 Results
GLASTONBURY, Conn. — United Financial Bancorp Inc., the holding company for United Bank, announced results for the quarter and year ended Dec. 31, 2014. These results represent the second full fiscal quarter as the combined United Financial (merger of Rockville Financial Inc. and legacy United Financial Bancorp Inc.). Rockville was the legal acquirer in the merger of equals with legacy United in a transaction that closed on April 30, 2014, and Rockville changed its name to United Financial Bancorp Inc. at that time. The company had net income of $1.4 million, or $0.03 per diluted share, for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2014, compared to Rockville’s net income of $1.8 million, or $0.07 per diluted share, for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2013. Operating net income for the fourth quarter of 2014 was $8.3 million (non-GAAP), or $0.16 per diluted share, adjusted for $10.6 million (pre-tax) of expenses related to the merger, $3.4 million (pre-tax) net positive impact of the amortization and accretion of the purchase accounting adjustments (or fair value adjustments) as a result of the merger, $2.6 million (pre-tax) net adjustment for the company’s announced branch-optimization program, and $59,000 (pre-tax) net loss on sales of securities. Operating net income for the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2014 was $10.4 million (non-GAAP), or $0.20 per diluted share, adjusted for $4.5 million (pre-tax) of expenses related to the merger, $3.8 million (pre-tax) net positive impact of the amortization and accretion of the purchase accounting adjustments (or fair value adjustments) as a result of the merger, and $430,000 (pre-tax) net gains on sales of securities. Operating net income for the prior-year period was $3.3 million (non-GAAP), or $0.13 per diluted share, adjusted for $2.1 million (pre-tax) of expenses related to the merger. Net income for the year ended Dec. 31, 2014 was $6.8 million, or $0.16 per diluted share, and declined from $14.2 million or $0.54 per diluted share for the year ended Dec. 31, 2013. Operating net income of $26.7 million (non-GAAP), or $0.62 per diluted share for the year ended Dec. 31, 2014 increased from $16.3 million or $0.62 per diluted share for the year ended Dec. 31, 2013. Adjustments to operating net income from GAAP net income are largely related to the merger with legacy United and are itemized in the reconciliation of non-GAAP measures. “As we close the books on 2014, I am pleased to announce that we reported impressive organic loan growth, successfully completed the conversion to one core operating system, and have materially achieved the company’s objectives related to eliminating redundant expenses by the end of the fourth quarter,” said William Crawford IV, CEO of United Financial Bancorp Inc. and United Bank. “Looking forward to 2015, the operational environment will be challenging; however, I am confident that our strategy to reduce expenses and improve efficiency will enhance long-term shareholder value while maintaining superior service for our customers.”

Family Legacy Partners Expands to Northampton

NORTHAMPTON — Karen Curran, CFP and Molly Keegan, CPA are announced the opening of a Northampton office of Family Legacy Partners Inc., an established financial-advisory firm headquartered in Greenfield. The new office is located in a historic property on Round Hill Road. Family Legacy Partners is an independent financial-services firm offering financial planning and investment management. Securities are offered through Bolton Global Capital Inc. in Bolton, Mass. Advisory services are offered through Bolton Global Asset Management, a SEC-registered investment advisor.

Ludlow Mills Riverwalk to Begin Construction
LUDLOW — The Westmass Area Development Corp. announced that it will begin Phase I of its riverwalk project this month, part of the approved Ludlow Mills Preservation and Redevelopment Comprehensive Master Plan. Westmass will begin construction on the riverwalk with a planned completion of Phase I this July. The initial phase of construction will cost $600,000 and is being funded through a partnership between HealthSouth and Westmass. The riverwalk is one of the early commitments that Westmass made to the town of Ludlow and its residents to promote public health and recreation along the river. The riverwalk will offer public space for pedestrian use and passive recreation, opening up the Chicopee River to the Ludlow Mills businesses and to residents of the community. Westmass has selected a local contractor, Gomes Construction Co., for this phase of the project. Phase I will feature a loop design and will start near Center Street, just east of the Town Common, run along the river toward the new HealthSouth Hospital, and then return through the proposed future park and reconnect with the recently installed municipal sidewalk system on State Street. The length of this phase of the riverwalk will span 3,575 feet and will incorporate the use of recycled brick materials, historic timeline markers and river observation areas along the walk. Together, the proposed riverwalk and future public park will cover approximately 52 acres, or nearly one-third of the Ludlow Mills site. Westmass seeks to convey that open space to the town so that it will remain in protected public use. The open space is intended to integrate the Ludlow Mills project into the neighborhood and community as well as support the many existing and new businesses that are attracted by the revived vibrancy of the Ludlow Mills.

UMassFive Opens Branch at Mercy Medical Center
SPRINGFIELD — UMassFive College Federal Credit Union introduced its newest branch location at Mercy Medical Center in Springfield. As of January, the Credit Union of the Providence System (CUPS) has formally merged with UMassFive College Federal Credit Union, and has transitioned former CUPS members to be UMassFive members. With this merger, current employees of the Sisters of Providence Health Systems and their immediate family members are now eligible for UMassFive membership. Along with this merger, there is a new location for this credit-union branch at the Weldon Rehabilitation Hospital at Mercy, 233 Carew St., in Room 110. This space has been completely renovated to provide members with an efficient place to do their banking and gives access to all credit-union products and services, including checking, auto loans, home-equity loans, mortgages, credit cards, and investment guidance. As with other branch locations, members at this new branch will have access to free financial workshops on topics such as budgeting essentials, home buying, identity theft, and paying down debt. The branch design has a modern and inviting feel and allows flexibility of use for both members and staff. Rather than a traditional teller line, the credit union has introduced teller pods, which both take up less space and increase the ability of tellers to move throughout the area, assisting members wherever they are in the branch. A touchscreen kiosk will provide online information about UMassFive. The hours for this new branch are: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; and Thursday, 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Court Dockets Departments

The following is a compilation of recent lawsuits involving area businesses and organizations. These are strictly allegations that have yet to be proven in a court of law. Readers are advised to contact the parties listed, or the court, for more information concerning the individual claims.

HAMPDEN SUPERIOR COURT
Daviau Construction, LLC v. Complete Restoration Solutions Inc.
Allegations: Failure to pay under the terms of a construction contract: $28,010
Filed: 12/30/14

Prospect Builders Inc. v. Elmcrest Country Club
Allegations: Non-payment of construction labor and materials provided: $33,378.22
Filed: 12/16/14

Quality Health Ideas Inc. v. Accountable Care Associates Inc.
Allegations: Breach of contract and breach of implied covenant of good-faith and fair dealing: $955,916.00
Filed: 12/23/14

USNE Inc. v. Prime Solutions Inc., Sune Monson I, LLC, and Pro-Tech Energy Solutions Inc.
Allegations: Non-payment of labor and materials: $118,843.30
Filed: 12/18/14

HAMPSHIRE SUPERIOR COURT
Ian Hogan v. Gary M. Bombardier, M.D., Louis J. Durkin, M.D., Holyoke Medical Center, and Mercy Medical Center
Allegations: Tortious interference with business relations causing plaintiff to lose his job and restrict future employment: $450,000
Filed: 12/9/14

Michael J. Kocak, personally and as administrator for the estate of John W. Kocak v. Apple New England, LLC d/b/a Applebee’s Neighborhood Bar and Grill
Allegations: John Kocak was a patron at Applebee’s where he choked on food and later died as a result: $25,000+
Filed: 12/4/14

Vincent O’Connell and Katharine Swanson v. George Propane Inc.
Allegations: Negligence in winterizing of heating system causing damage to property: $42,000
Filed: 11/17/14

NORTHAMPTON DISTRICT COURT
Cheryl A. Vaid v. Seneca Foods Corp. and Stop and Shop Companies Inc.
Allegations: Negligence in food packaging and breach of implied merchantability: $25,000.00+
Filed: 12/9/14

SPRINGFIELD DISTRICT COURT
Thomas Publishing Co., LLC v. Diecutting Tooling Services Inc.
Allegations: Non-payment of advertising services rendered: $3,938.40
Filed: 11/24/14

WESTFIELD DISTRICT COURT
Horizon Beverage Co. Inc. v. Buck Pond Enterprise Inc., f/d/b/a Tommy D’s
Allegations: Non-payment of goods sold and delivered: $3,929.16; Filed: 11/21/14

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — The theme of the March 4 Business @ Breakfast event sponsored by the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield is “Hard Hats Required: I-91 Viaduct Project.” The event will take place from 7:15 to 9 a.m. at Chez Josef, 176 Shoemaker Lane, Agawam.

Springfield city officials, Parking Authority leaders, and construction representatives will tell attendees everything they need to know about the project so that businesses can be prepared. Featured panelists include Al Stegman of the Mass. Department of Transportation, Chris Cignoli from the city of Springfield, and Mary McNally of the Springfield Parking Authority.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — MGM Resorts International announced that MGM Springfield is inviting site-fencing and demolition/abatement contractors to attend meetings to learn more about contractor opportunities for early work.

This outreach follows recent MGM Springfield news of tenant-relocation planning and communications, as well as important changes to parking in the South End. These recent activities reflect a continuum of site preparations for MGM Springfield’s spring groundbreaking, as well as an announcement of its general contractor.

“We are picking up steam as we head into spring,” said Michael Mathis, MGM Springfield president. “Much of the early construction activity will involve preparing the site for initial demolition so we have a productive construction season and stay on schedule.”

The upcoming information appointments will take place at the MGM Springfield Community Office located at 1441 Main St. Contractors must schedule an appointment ahead of time to avail a 30-minute slot. Walk-in appointments are discouraged. Site-fencing contractor appointments will be scheduled on Friday, Feb. 6, and the demolition/abatement contractor appointments will be set for Monday, Feb. 9. Call the MGM Springfield Community Office at (413) 735-3000 to make an appointment or for additional information regarding these opportunities.

In order to stay compliant with permitting requirements, demolition of the Zanetti School will begin in the coming weeks, said Mathis, adding that MGM Springfield’s construction-management representatives will interview interested bidders for site-fencing and demolition/abatement services only for the Zanetti School demolition area. Interested bidders will learn about the scope of work for site fencing and demolition/abatement, how to participate in the pre-qualification process, and MGM Springfield’s policy on minority contractors, vendors, and purchasing.

According to Hunter Clayton, executive vice president of MGM Resorts Development, “we will continue to offer these types of opportunities on individual components of the project as they become a priority. That will allow us to set specific terms and expectations and make the best use of everyone’s time. We look forward to meeting potential project partners.”

The construction of MGM Springfield will offer opportunities in a wide range of property components, such as early work and offsite work for the garage, casino, hotel tower, and retail plaza. Each component will allow for various bid opportunities for local contractors, in both prime and sub roles.

Daily News

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Construction firms added jobs in 40 states and the District of Columbia between December 2013 and December 2014, while construction employment increased in 38 states and D.C. between November and December, according to an analysis of Labor Department data by Associated General Contractors of America.

“Part of the reason for the positive December construction employment figures was the exceptionally harsh weather in much of December 2013 and November 2014 and milder-than-normal weather in December 2014,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Nevertheless, the underlying trend is very positive, with construction employment expanding at more than double the rate for total non-farm payroll jobs.”

Texas added more new construction jobs (47,500 jobs, 7.7%) between December 2013 and December 2014 than any other state. Other states adding a high number of new construction jobs for the past 12 months included Florida (34,300 jobs, 8.9%), California (26,000 jobs, 4.0%), Illinois (20,200 jobs, 10.6%) and Washington (14,100 jobs, 9.5%). North Dakota (25.7%, 8,300 jobs) added the highest percentage of new construction jobs during the past year, followed by Utah (13.4%, 10,100 jobs), Wisconsin (12.7%, 12,400 jobs), and Arkansas (12.6%, 5,800 jobs).

Ten states shed construction jobs during the past 12 months. West Virginia lost the highest percentage (-9.1%, -3,000 jobs). Other states that lost a high percentage of jobs include Mississippi (-7.5%, -4,000 jobs), Hawaii (-4.5%, -1,400 jobs), and Arizona (-3.4%, -4,300 jobs). Arizona lost the most construction jobs between December 2013 and December 2014, followed by Mississippi, West Virginia, and Ohio (-2,500 jobs, -1.3%).

Thirty-eight states and the District of Columbia added construction jobs between November and December. New York (6,400 jobs, 2.0%) added the most jobs, followed by Illinois (6,000 jobs, 2.9%), Texas (5,100 jobs, 0.8%), and North Carolina (4,100 jobs, 2.3%).

Association officials said the latest construction employment figures are consistent with the optimism many contractors expressed in the association’s recently released annual “Construction Hiring and Business Outlook.” According to the outlook, 80% of contractors report plans to add new construction jobs in 2015. In addition, a majority of contractors expect demand for most construction-market segments this year to grow.

“The construction industry appears on track to add many new construction jobs in 2015,” said Stephen Sandherr, the association’s CEO.

Features
Will Falling Gas Prices Be Good for Business?

The downward trend in fuel prices has delighted consumers, but businesses have mixed thoughts when assessing the long-term impact.

The downward trend in fuel prices has delighted consumers, but businesses have mixed thoughts when assessing the long-term impact.

In 2008, as gas prices hit $4 per gallon, the blame game heated up as well, with Congress berating oil-company CEOs for profiteering during an economic slowdown, and the execs sniping at Congress for restricting drilling and refining at home, contributing to a dependence on oil-rich but often-unfriendly foreign governments.

Caught in the middle of that exchange were average Americans, who — already buffeted by an economic crash that bled jobs and drained retirement portfolios — increasingly found themselves diverting money from other household needs in order to fill up the gas tank.

At the same time, businesses of all kinds were forced to make tough decisions, from retail stores pondering whether to pass hefty shipping surcharges to customers, to construction firms seeing profits shrink as the cost of fuel and supplies far outstripped what they had anticipated during the bid process.

Now that gas prices have reversed course and plummeted, even dipping below $2 for regular at many stations in Massachusetts, one would expect those trends to be reversed, giving businesses some reprieve from six years of sky-high rates.

Not so fast.

“What I’ve found funny is that a lot of our paper suppliers — paper companies and different media outlets that make deliveries here — put on a gas surcharge,” said Steve Lang, president of Curry Printing in West Springfield. “But it never seems to come off. When we’re dealing with UPS, they’ll add their little surcharge in there for high gas prices, but it doesn’t come off when the prices come down.”

In fact, some analysts say the plunge in global oil prices will eventually affect small businesses in negative ways. Expected cutbacks and layoffs in the oil industry could be felt in related industries, such as the housing market in areas where petroleum companies operate, as well as restaurants and retailers that rely on oil-industry workers as their customers, Rohit Arora, CEO and co-founder of Biz2Credit, wrote in Inc.

“Lower oil and gasoline prices have many, many benefits for consumers and will likely help vitalize auto-industry sales and the spending of newly found disposable income,” he noted. “This is good news for small-business owners, of course. However, prices that are too low could eventually have serious negative implications longer-term.”

In short, while consumers are pleased with more money in their pockets, the impact on businesses of all kinds remains mixed, and uncertain.

Food for Thought

Retail businesses are anticipating that more disposable income will trickle down as increased sales. But so far, that hasn’t happened at Big Y, said Claire D’Amour, the chain’s vice president for corporate communications.

“Right now, it’s hard to tell, I think,” she told BusinessWest. “Low gas prices means there’s more disposable income, more cash in people’s wallets, but whether that’s translated into opportunities for higher sales, well, we haven’t seen anything specifically pointing to that this year.”

In reality, she noted, “after 2007, people changed their shopping patterns; they became more thrifty. With more money in their wallets now, will we see that change? We did have robust sales for the holiday season, which we’re happy about. But is that a reflection of gas prices? It’s hard to be sure.”

In fact, consumers aren’t seeing lower prices at food stores, for reasons that extend far beyond the retail sector. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, recent food-production challenges include a cattle herd that’s been much smaller than normal, which affects beef prices, and poor weather in the West that has hindered certain crops. High wheat production, on the other hand, has kept cereal and bread pricing relatively stable.

Still, the U.S. Department of Labor reports that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for all items rose just 0.8% over the past 12 months, the second-lowest rise in the past 50 years, exceeded only by 2008, the year financial markets — and the economy in general — spun into crisis. The 2014 CPI has much to do with energy costs, which fell 10.6% over the year, with gasoline falling 21%.

The drop is due mainly to the highest global oil production since 1989, but industry analysts differ when it comes to how long this period might last.

“Most of us in the industry are surprised that it’s fallen as hard and fast as it has,” Ryan Lance, CEO of ConocoPhillips, said at a meeting of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “I don’t know that I have a real good answer to that question, other than it doesn’t feel like the fundamentals would support that kind of fall.”

Instead, Lance predicts oil prices will rebound faster than anticipated, as they did in 2009, on the heels of the Great Recession. “People were worried about the global economy, and prices went to $30, $40 a barrel, and just a matter of months later, it was back to $100 a barrel,” he said. “And that’s the kind of volatility we’re in.”

After a strong holiday season, Big Y executives are unsure how gas prices will affect consumer behavior heading into 2015.

After a strong holiday season, Big Y executives are unsure how gas prices will affect consumer behavior heading into 2015.

On the other hand, Larry Zimpleman, chairman and CEO of Principal Financial Group, told the Wall Street Journal that he predicts the era of relatively tight supplies controlled by OPEC, and resulting high energy prices, to be coming to an end.

The reasons why are numerous, including continuing sluggish growth in both emerging and developed economies, reducing the demand for oil; new technologies, such as fracking, making previously shuttered oil fields productive once again, increasing the volume of oil coming onto the market; and continued incremental improvement in alternative sources of energy, like wind and solar. “Thus,” he said, “I think pressure is likely to remain on oil prices for an extended period.”

That’s good news for general contractors, said Craig Sweitzer, president of Craig Sweitzer & Co., a construction firm in Monson with seven employees.

“It’s absolutely huge,” said Sweitzer, who has seven gas-powered vehicles in his fleet. “We’re lucky, because we decided to upgrade and give everyone a truck last year, which we’d never done before. Add in insurance and taxes and fuel, and it was a huge windfall to have gas prices go down. We drive big trucks that consume a lot of fuel; it’s a very big part of our expenses.”

He noted that some contruction-related industries — like road pavers, which use oil in their asphalt products — have clauses built into their contracts that protect against sudden increases in fuel prices, “but we’re the little guys, and people don’t typically do that with us. The airlines, for instance, pre-buy on their contracts, but we’re completely prey to the market.”

Moving On Down

The drop in energy prices is equally welcome at other businesses that use a lot of gas, like commercial movers.

“In our case, there are two parts to our company,” said Rod Sitterly, president of Sitterly Moving & Storage in Springfield. “One would be local household and commercial moving. Gas prices have very little effect there because everything is local; the truck sits there for five hours, then goes two miles to its destination. So, for the local household and local commercial jobs, there’s very little effect. Some moving companies were charging a fuel surcharge for those moves, but we never did.

“The long-distance moves, that’s a totally different story,” he continued. “Obviously, fuel is a bigger segment of the cost. The major movers, the major van lines — we’re with Atlas, for example — for the moment, they have an 8% fuel surcharge that has been as high as 14%, so there has been a significant decline in that.”

He noted that this environment stems from the days when industry rates were regulated by the Interstate Commerce Commission, and companies were allowed to tag on fuel surcharges to reflect rising gas prices.

“Since deregulation, you can charge whatever you want, and over time, a lot of charges have gone away — but the fuel surcharge never did,” Sitterly said. “For long-distance moving, obviously it has a big effect. Even people moving themselves to Florida or someplace long-distances often don’t consider how much they’ll pay to get to their new location.”

Big Y, with more than 50 stores across the region, saw its fuel surcharges on produce trucked from California and other distant locales increase by $1 million in just six months in 2008, when oil prices shot up. While those fees are not an issue right now, D’Amour said, the company is not yet benefiting in other ways one might expect now that energy prices have fallen.

“In terms of our utilities, a lot of utility rates get locked in, so they’re not fluctuating,” she said, adding that the chain has also seen little decrease in production costs — say, for canned goods — passed down to retailers. “We’re not seeing reductions, but there’s a huge lag time.”

As for how less-expensive gas might change customer spending habits, she reiterated that Big Y, like other businesses, are still waiting for positive signs.

“There were lots of lessons learned from 2008 in terms of how people buy — ­whether they might splurge here or there [with extra cash] or pay off another credit card. Right now, it’s hard to tell.”

For others, like Sweitzer, the benefits are clear and immediate — and come with a political upside.

“Now that America is one of the largest oil producers, you feel good buying gas; it’s a win-win economically and culturally,” he told BusinessWest. “Everyone feels it. I’m sure a lot of people had a better Christmas because of the extra money in their pockets.”

Joseph Bednar can be reached at [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
Outlook Improves for Commercial Builders, Despite Stiff Competition

Fred Snyder, left, and Eric Forish

Fred Snyder, left, and Eric Forish spend a moment outside the new Westfield Senior Center, one of many projects keeping Westfield-based Forish Construction busy.

It’s only January, but Keiter Builders Inc. in Florence already has challenging projects on its roster for spring and summer.

“We’re seeing signs that 2015 will be busy, and the year is shaping up to be a good one,” said company President Scott Keiter, as he went through a list of contracts the firm was recently awarded. “We don’t have all the work we need yet, but we’re looking forward to getting more in the spring. This time of year is always slow for us, but the jobs we have are multi-dimensional and we’re excited about what we have lined up.”

Dave Fontaine Jr. said Fontaine Brothers, Inc. in Springfield is also doing quite well and has enough to work to last through the end of the year.

In fact, he expects 2015 to be better than 2014, which was solid.

“Public projects slowed down last year compared to what we saw immediately following the recession. It wasn’t dramatic, but there was a little less work,” said the company’s vice president. “We do a lot for the Massachusetts School Building Authority, and they didn’t have as many jobs. But things seem to be normalizing and we have a lot of good opportunities for 2016; a decent amount of large-scale public work and private clients who want projects done; things seem to finally be settling into a relatively normal economic climate.”

Eric Forish agrees. “The recession has passed,” said the president of Forish Construction in Westfield as he explained that private projects diminished significantly for a few years during the downturn in the economy, but are on the rise again. “Last year was our best year ever and I believe that 2015 will be a very good one.”

Renaissance Builders in Turners Falls has also had plenty of work. “We were extremely busy last year. We hired four new field personnel and one new office worker,” said President Stephen Greenwald, adding that most of the company’s commercial projects were privately funded. “While they haven’t been large in volume, they were extremely steady throughout the year.”

Still, commercial builders agree that competition is stiff, particularly for public jobs, which requires meticulous attention to detail and an ability to bid low, but not too low.

“The economy has stabilized, but it’s a new reality; we’re still adjusting to it and don’t know whether we can trust it,” said Greenwald. “The margins are better, but they will never go back to what they were before the recession. If you want to stay competitive, and busy, you have to be extremely accurate in your bidding. There is no room for mistakes.”

Keiter concurred, and said his company works very hard to estimate projects appropriately, and more importantly, execute them. “Margins are lean, but we are bidding to be successful. We win some and lose some, but we believe our systems are efficient, which helps us stay more cost effective than some of our competitors,” he explained. “We put a lot of energy into developing systems across the board from sales and estimating to production.”

Local companies say that downsizing their expectations helped some of them weather the recession. “Things got tight for a few years and a lot of companies dove after work and lost money. But we knew what we needed to do; we were cautious and realistic and did not try to maintain the same volume,” Fontaine said.

Forish Builders took a similar approach. “One of the keys to our success is that we have always been a very lean and aggressive company,” said its president. “This was not the first recession our company has gone through, and because we have learned from our experience, we made adjustments quickly.”

Competitive Arena

Although the economy is improving, the landscape has changed for commercial builders, as national companies are now competing for local projects.

“Firms are setting up offices in Springfield,” Fontaine said, adding that there are two ways that commercial builders get public jobs. The first is by prequalifying as a general contractor and bidding competitively; and the second is to be selected as a construction manager at risk. In this scenario, the property owner or agency chooses a contractor based on its experience and fees, and they join the project team during the design phase.

Dave Fontaine Jr.

Dave Fontaine Jr. says the volume of both public and private construction projects has increased in recent months, and the trend should continue into 2015.

“It’s a fee-based system and that’s the market where a lot of larger companies are competing with us,” said Fontaine, adding that very large firms typically have sophisticated sales and marketing departments. “But we have been relatively successful. We have hard bid cost-efficiency experience as well as the expertise it takes to be a construction manager, which sometimes works to our advantage, especially with clients we’ve worked for in the past.”

Greenwald also noted an influx of competition.

“We showed up to walk through a simple job priced at $50,000, and there were 16 builders there, so we didn’t bother to bid on it,” he said. “In the last two years, we have seen more and more builders from out of the area bidding on public-works jobs that range from $50,000 to $2 million, so if we think we will be outbid, we don’t follow through.”

Renaissance Vice President Tricia Perham added that it takes time and money to put together a bid, and in the current market, the investment is not always worthwhile. “As a result, we’re focusing our energy on referrals and past clients. But ironically, sometimes a municipality wants to hire us but has to hire someone else, because they are mandated to take the lowest bid,” she said, adding that this happened recently in the town of Montague.

Forish recalled a recent public job that he believes might have drawn four to six bids prior to the recession. “There were 12 companies bidding for it,” he told BusinessWest. “There is less opportunity right now in the public sector than in the private sector. But I don’t worry about what other companies are selling. We are selling ourselves and our product is very strong.”

Some local contractors speculate that the national companies opening offices in the area are doing so because of the $800 million MGM Resorts International Casino that will be built in Springfield’s South End.

However, area commercial builders don’t expect to be hired to build the casino and although it is far too early to tell who will get the job, they believe it will go to a massive national or international company.

“But there may be other opportunities as companies relocate or find they need to expand when they begin providing services to the casino, so, it may indirectly help area contractors,” Forish said, adding that suppliers and subcontractors are likely to benefit from the casino complex.

Plentitude of Work

The firms BusinessWest interviewed say they are doing well, however, despite fierce competition and other factors.

Fontaine Brothers recently finished a new $85 million high school in West Springfield and is close to finishing work on the new, $33 million Auburn High School, which was done under construction management at risk.

In addition, the firm recently completed a new junior/senior high school in East Bridgewater as well as Monomoy Regional High School in Chatham.

“Worcester has also been a very strong market for us for the past 15 years, and we have a presence in Eastern Mass.,” said Fontaine. “But Western Mass is our home market.”

His company will continue to be busy throughout the winter as it begins work on a new elementary school in Athol and ground is broken for a library renovation in Shrewsbury. “We are also finishing up the renovation of the old Chicopee High School,” Fontaine said, adding that the entire interior was gutted.

Other projects include demolishing the Plains Elementary School in South Hadley and building a new one, as well as additions to Pioneer Valley Chinese Charter Immersion School in Hadley and Southwick High School.

“Our work through 2015 is solid, so we are focusing on picking up projects late in the year that will carry us through 2016-17,” Fontaine said.

Keiter Builders does some residential work and has contracts to build a few new homes this year. But it has also landed a significant number of commercial jobs, and recently finished the Convino Restaurant in the basement of Thornes Market in Northampton, which opened several weeks ago.

“The work was very involved, because the space had never been used for a restaurant before,” Keiter explained.

The builder also completed demolition and reconstruction of the entryway to the Smith College Conference Center last summer, and is wrapping up work on the Carroll Room in the Campus Center at the college, where it installed maple paneling.

Other projects include shoring up a number of large granite stairways for a private client on an historic, commercial building in Northampton and a residential housing upgrades project at Smith College.

“It’s multifaceted, involves multiple buildings, and will include roofing, new windows, paint, and upgrades to their heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems,” Keiter said of the work at Smith. “The work will be done during an eight-week period over the summer when students are on break.”

In addition, Smith hired the firm to handle the McConnell Hall Observatory project, which includes removing a flat roof and putting a domed ceiling on the structure.

“We’re also working for Western Builders on a commercial project in Holyoke,” Keiter said, noting that it’s not uncommon for his company to subcontract with other area builders on large projects.

Forish said his firm is also busy. “We’re finishing a fire-protection system at the UMass Dubois Library as well as a wastewater treatment plant for Kanzaki Specialty Papers in Ware. And last summer we completed a highway department complex in Deerfield and a large addition to Holyoke Charter School,” he said, adding that work on the new Westfield Senior Center and a new facility for Sarat Ford Lincoln in Agawam is underway, as are large additions to Pioneer Valley Christian School and Astro Chemicals Inc.

Renaissance Builders also has its share of contracts. It is upgrading a manufacturing facility, renovating a multi-family apartment building for a commercial landlord in Northampton, and will replace a condominium complex in the spring in Gill that burned to the ground.

Paradigm Shift

Greenwald said the margins on private work have improved compared to what they were a few years ago. But improvement is relative, he added, because five to seven years ago, the numbers were a lot better. “We bid on projects if we think we have a good chance of getting the work, especially if it is a unique job with difficult logistics or circumstances and we have a good idea of how to solve the problem,” he told BusinessWest.

Indeed, the ability to do specialized work helps local commercial contractors. Fontaine said 90% of its work involves green building, and last year the firm was named as one of the “Top 100 Green Building Contractors” by the Engineering News Record.

Renaissance Builders also does its share of green building, and Perham said that has given the company an edge over other commercial builders. “We’ve put a lot of energy into training our employees in green-building techniques and energy efficiency. We have also done work for chemically sensitive clients,” she said.

Since the economy has improved, contractors agree that the forecast appears bright for the coming year. “Things in our network are slowly progressing in the right direction, and the year ahead in the Pioneer Valley looks good,” Keiter said.

Fontaine agreed. “The landscape has changed as larger firms have entered our market. But we are also competing with local firms that have been in the valley for decades,” he said. “Overall, we’re excited to see what 2015 will bring, and we certainly hope other local contractors do well, as it helps the local economy to have work stay here.”

Forish concurred. “Everyone had at least one tough year during the recession,” he said. “But we adjusted quickly, and things look better, at least for the short term. We hope it continues in the long term.”

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

BERNARDSTON

219 Bald Mountain Road
Bernardston, MA 01337
Amount: $280,000
Buyer: Craig S. White
Seller: Joel M. Cole
Date: 12/12/14

165 Merrifield Road
Bernardston, MA 01337
Amount: $177,000
Buyer: Joshua McMahon
Seller: UMass Five College Federal Credit Union
Date: 12/15/14

74 West Mountain Road
Bernardston, MA 01337
Amount: $155,000
Buyer: Merton E. Fisher
Seller: Melinda D. Connors
Date: 12/11/14

BUCKLAND

22 Wellington St.
Buckland, MA 01338
Amount: $250,000
Buyer: Justin T. Bardwell
Seller: Richard L. Bardwell
Date: 12/15/14

COLRAIN

42 Adamsville Road
Colrain, MA 01340
Amount: $175,000
Buyer: Judith A. Slowinski
Seller: James F. Underwood
Date: 12/17/14

181 Call Road
Colrain, MA 01340
Amount: $124,000
Buyer: Oona Morrow
Seller: Martina Kacurova
Date: 12/18/14

ERVING

71 State Road
Erving, MA 01344
Amount: $215,750
Buyer: Jay R. Niedbala
Seller: Erwin P. Steiner
Date: 12/12/14

GREENFIELD

19-21 Alden St.
Greenfield, MA 01301
Amount: $134,000
Buyer: Samantha J. Brook
Seller: Richard Brook
Date: 12/22/14

230 Barton Road
Greenfield, MA 01301
Amount: $275,000
Buyer: John J. Demo
Seller: Cindy T. Mason
Date: 12/10/14

643 Bernardston Road
Greenfield, MA 01301
Amount: $240,000
Buyer: Joseph N. Ruggeri
Seller: Richard E. Sigda
Date: 12/19/14

309 Conway St.
Greenfield, MA 01301
Amount: $190,000
Buyer: Valley Farms Properties
Seller: Adam T. Marchacos
Date: 12/12/14

3 Greenway Lane
Greenfield, MA 01301
Amount: $170,000
Buyer: Regina A. Henry
Seller: Stanley K. Holmes
Date: 12/16/14

271 Log Plain Road
Greenfield, MA 01301
Amount: $172,000
Buyer: Mathew J. Lindner
Seller: Craig S. White
Date: 12/12/14

26 Mary Potter Lane
Greenfield, MA 01301
Amount: $255,000
Buyer: Emmy Y. Phelps
Seller: Thomas J. Thompson
Date: 12/16/14

81 Meadowood Dr.
Greenfield, MA 01301
Amount: $545,000
Buyer: Amy S. Burnside
Seller: Robert L. Cummings
Date: 12/19/14

128 Mountain Road
Greenfield, MA 01301
Amount: $150,000
Buyer: Kenneth A. Shurman
Seller: Marlowe, Linda C., (Estate)
Date: 12/22/14

21 Prospect Ave.
Greenfield, MA 01301
Amount: $185,000
Buyer: Pamela G. Adams
Seller: Joseph N. Ruggeri
Date: 12/19/14

26 Sunrise Ave.
Greenfield, MA 01301
Amount: $335,000
Buyer: Christopher J. Ethier
Seller: Peter F. Fein
Date: 12/16/14

MONTAGUE

223 Federal St.
Montague, MA 01351
Amount: $184,000
Buyer: Jeffrey Goscenski
Seller: Frederick R. Momaney
Date: 12/09/14

NORTHFIELD

9 Pine Road
Northfield, MA 01360
Amount: $180,000
Buyer: Meredith A. Brouillette
Seller: Martha E. Stinson
Date: 12/26/14

ORANGE

15 Meadow Lane
Orange, MA 01364
Amount: $125,000
Buyer: Michael J. Verock
Seller: Nathan P. Burdick
Date: 12/22/14

SHELBURNE

9 Barnard Road
Shelburne, MA 01370
Amount: $184,000
Buyer: Peter A. Buchanan
Seller: DRC RT
Date: 12/17/14

655 Patten Road
Shelburne, MA 01370
Amount: $185,000
Buyer: Anne I. Naughton
Seller: Lawrence W. Bruns
Date: 12/24/14

450 South Shelburne Road
Shelburne, MA 01370
Amount: $200,000
Buyer: Luke R. Dejnak
Seller: Regina A. Henry
Date: 12/16/14

106 Shelburne Center Road
Shelburne, MA 01370
Amount: $252,500
Buyer: Richard M. Miller
Seller: Diane D. Rapp
Date: 12/17/14

SUNDERLAND

137 Hadley Road
Sunderland, MA 01375
Amount: $274,900
Buyer: Jens Meinig
Seller: Nancy Bachand
Date: 12/19/14

WARWICK

520 Orange Road
Warwick, MA 01378
Amount: $300,000
Buyer: Jamie D. Munson
Seller: Rummell, Joseph G., (Estate)
Date: 12/23/14

WHATELY

Long Plain Road
Whately, MA 01093
Amount: $132,500
Buyer: Walter R. Thayer
Seller: Diana Kelly
Date: 12/18/14

Masterson Road (ES)
Whately, MA 01093
Amount: $150,000
Buyer: Fleming Pancione FT
Seller: Louise D. Hannum TR
Date: 12/09/14

HAMPDEN COUNTY

AGAWAM

9 2 If By St.
Agawam, MA 01001
Amount: $203,000
Buyer: Michael J. Millett
Seller: Robert Roy
Date: 12/11/14

523 Franklin St. Ext.
Agawam, MA 01001
Amount: $185,000
Buyer: Charlene A. Harnish
Seller: Elizabeth Demaio
Date: 12/19/14

41 Hemlock Ridge
Agawam, MA 01030
Amount: $450,000
Buyer: Kevin A. Ritchie
Seller: Dorothy M. Plante
Date: 12/12/14

456 North Westfield St.
Agawam, MA 01030
Amount: $225,000
Buyer: Francis Detoma
Seller: Circosta, Dorothy, (Estate)
Date: 12/11/14

70 Provin Mountain Dr.
Agawam, MA 01030
Amount: $250,000
Buyer: Alfred T. Ingham
Seller: Robert S. Nelsen
Date: 12/23/14

170 River Road
Agawam, MA 01001
Amount: $425,000
Buyer: Petr Privedenyuk
Seller: Major, Marion T., (Estate)
Date: 12/17/14

29 Senator Ave.
Agawam, MA 01001
Amount: $245,000
Buyer: Sage L. Lteif
Seller: Laura L. Sullivan
Date: 12/12/14

22 Simpson Circle
Agawam, MA 01001
Amount: $150,898
Buyer: FHLM
Seller: Jennifer L. Graveline
Date: 12/22/14

604 South West St.
Agawam, MA 01030
Amount: $220,000
Buyer: Anton Melnikov
Seller: Sandra L. Messenger
Date: 12/08/14

577 Suffield St.
Agawam, MA 01001
Amount: $130,000
Buyer: Yelena Baranov
Seller: Charles R. Kronoff
Date: 12/19/14

235 Valley Brook Road
Agawam, MA 01030
Amount: $170,000
Buyer: Lindsey N. Surprenant
Seller: Richard H. Wodell
Date: 12/17/14

Valley Brook Road (rear)
Agawam, MA 01001
Amount: $170,000
Buyer: Lindsey N. Surprenant
Seller: Richard H. Wodell
Date: 12/17/14

BLANDFORD

5 Glasgow Road
Blandford, MA 01008
Buyer: Daniel J. Gelina
Seller: Rebecca L. Lagasse
Date: 12/18/14

16 Russell Stage Road
Blandford, MA 01008
Amount: $125,000
Buyer: Berkshire Land Co. LLC
Seller: Donna L. Arnold
Date: 12/19/14

BRIMFIELD

27 7th St.
Brimfield, MA 01010
Amount: $412,500
Buyer: Michael Maysky
Seller: Matthew A. Toth
Date: 12/08/14

27 Sturbridge Road
Brimfield, MA 01010
Amount: $125,000
Buyer: Rusty J. Corriveau
Seller: Adolph S. Jurczyk
Date: 12/12/14

203 Wales Road
Brimfield, MA 01010
Amount: $185,000
Buyer: Lauren Temple
Seller: Susan E. Caldbeck
Date: 12/22/14

CHESTER

96 Middlefield Road
Chester, MA 01011
Amount: $140,000
Buyer: Dennis J. Rabtor
Seller: Carl M. Baldasaro
Date: 12/19/14

CHICOPEE

67 7th Ave.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Amount: $235,000
Buyer: Casandra Kobylanski
Seller: Donna M. Bitzer-Langlois
Date: 12/12/14

57 Arthur St.
Chicopee, MA 01013
Amount: $251,000
Buyer: Stephanie M. Potter
Seller: David C. Labrie
Date: 12/19/14

68 Boileau Terrace
Chicopee, MA 01020
Amount: $127,000
Buyer: Brian A. Moreau
Seller: Ronald G. Moreau
Date: 12/15/14

430 Broadway St.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Amount: $154,000
Buyer: Richard P. Mienkowski
Seller: Cecilia G. Znoj
Date: 12/23/14

82 Dillon St.
Chicopee, MA 01013
Amount: $160,000
Buyer: Rufino Rodriguez
Seller: Oscar Velazquez
Date: 12/19/14

7 Dunn St.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Amount: $215,500
Buyer: Robert M. Stahlberg
Seller: GFY Enterprises LLC
Date: 12/19/14

31 East St.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Amount: $625,000
Buyer: 91 East Park Inc.
Seller: 18 Piece Chicopee LLC
Date: 12/15/14

39 East St.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Amount: $625,000
Buyer: 91 East Park Inc.
Seller: 18 Piece Chicopee LLC
Date: 12/15/14

14 Fairmont St.
Chicopee, MA 01013
Amount: $148,000
Buyer: Kyle R. Larose
Seller: Carol L. Edwards
Date: 12/19/14

57 Felix St.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Amount: $192,000
Buyer: Christina M. McCoy
Seller: Evelyn Robinson
Date: 12/15/14

74 Hampden St.
Chicopee, MA 01013
Amount: $140,000
Buyer: Grzegorz Czartoryski
Seller: Sacadura, Carlos J., (Estate)
Date: 12/24/14

70 Marguerite St.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Amount: $170,000
Buyer: Steven D. Duffy
Seller: Joseph W. Duffy
Date: 12/19/14

882 McKinstry Ave.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Amount: $147,355
Buyer: US Bank
Seller: Matthew Messer
Date: 12/10/14

88 Moore St.
Chicopee, MA 01013
Amount: $150,000
Buyer: Joseph T. Trombley
Seller: Alfred C. Bobek
Date: 12/19/14

56 Mount Carmel Ave.
Chicopee, MA 01013
Amount: $126,000
Buyer: Valley Opportunity Council
Seller: Scott L. Caney
Date: 12/12/14

95 Nash St.
Chicopee, MA 01013
Amount: $143,000
Buyer: Kathleen Reed
Seller: Lauria C. Demers
Date: 12/23/14

265 New Ludlow Road
Chicopee, MA 01020
Amount: $3,732,000
Buyer: Mason Manor LLC
Seller: Manor Realty Apts. LLP
Date: 12/08/14

443 New Ludlow Road
Chicopee, MA 01020
Amount: $279,000
Buyer: Rihab A. Zubaidi
Seller: Albert R. Beaulieu
Date: 12/10/14

59 New Ludlow Road
Chicopee, MA 01020
Amount: $4,226,000
Buyer: Partridge Hollow Apts. LLC
Seller: PH Realty Apts. LLP
Date: 12/08/14

425 Pendleton Ave.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Amount: $132,000
Buyer: Jeremy Durand
Seller: Paul E. Lafleur
Date: 12/23/14

36 State St.
Chicopee, MA 01013
Amount: $130,000
Buyer: Bradley V. Schultzki
Seller: James A. Brough
Date: 12/19/14

29 Sullivan St.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Amount: $164,000
Buyer: Elizabeth A. Rabtor
Seller: Kathleen M. Gay
Date: 12/15/14

EAST LONGMEADOW

115 Chestnut St.
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Amount: $133,000
Buyer: FNMA
Seller: Jeane W. Clay
Date: 12/11/14

116 Colony Dr.
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Amount: $150,000
Buyer: Steve Wenninger
Seller: US Bank
Date: 12/23/14

73 Hanward Hill
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Amount: $190,000
Buyer: Paul A. Jorczak
Seller: Raymond I. Weiner
Date: 12/08/14

345 Kibbe Road
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Amount: $371,000
Buyer: Brendan A. Greeley
Seller: Barry M. Stephens
Date: 12/16/14

21 Kingman Ave.
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Amount: $173,000
Buyer: Christian A. Martin
Seller: Daniel A. Mastroianni
Date: 12/15/14

30 Mill Road
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Amount: $182,500
Buyer: Michael Carabetta
Seller: Dawn Q. Zimmerman
Date: 12/12/14

139 Parker St.
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Amount: $127,500
Buyer: Leonard A. Scarnici
Seller: Ruth M. Sulser
Date: 12/12/14

381 Pease Road
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Amount: $262,000
Buyer: Bryan H. Joyce
Seller: Christopher J. Wakefield
Date: 12/12/14

384 Pease Road
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Amount: $345,000
Buyer: Larry L. Stone
Seller: Richard W. Westerberg
Date: 12/16/14

231 Prospect St.
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Amount: $305,000
Buyer: Tracee A. Smith
Seller: Bretta Construction LLC
Date: 12/11/14

140 Westwood Ave.
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Amount: $296,000
Buyer: William P. Kane
Seller: Raymond C. Caputo
Date: 12/19/14

2 Winterberry Lane
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Amount: $387,000
Buyer: Douglas R. Bessette
Seller: Winterberry LLC
Date: 12/11/14

GRANVILLE

7 Crest Lane
Granville, MA 01034
Amount: $165,000
Buyer: Melissa Yezierski
Seller: Patricia A. Turner
Date: 12/11/14

631 Main Road
Granville, MA 01034
Amount: $260,000
Buyer: R. S. Cook
Seller: Theresa H. Phelon
Date: 12/22/14

HAMPDEN

24 Brookside Dr.
Hampden, MA 01036
Amount: $165,000
Buyer: Ephraim Carron
Seller: Stephen B. Crafts
Date: 12/19/14

9 Deerfield Circle
Hampden, MA 01036
Amount: $185,000
Buyer: Linda T. Roy
Seller: Ottilie Owsijuk
Date: 12/08/14

HOLLAND

7 Hamilton Dr.
Holland, MA 01521
Amount: $245,500
Buyer: Kim R. Horyn
Seller: Steven T. Anderson
Date: 12/12/14

64 South Cottage Road
Holland, MA 01521
Amount: $145,000
Buyer: James A. Reith
Seller: Leeanna Babineau
Date: 12/18/14

HOLYOKE

6 Appleton St.
Holyoke, MA 01040
Amount: $250,000
Buyer: Anderson Industries LLC
Seller: S&N Industries Inc.
Date: 12/12/14

143 Brown Ave.
Holyoke, MA 01040
Amount: $146,145
Buyer: FNMA
Seller: Anthony Soto
Date: 12/17/14

18-20 Canal St.
Holyoke, MA 01040
Amount: $441,250
Buyer: American Supplies & Rental
Seller: CK Realty LLP
Date: 12/16/14

90 Carlton St.
Holyoke, MA 01040
Amount: $254,500
Buyer: Nao Sakurai
Seller: Justin J. Carven
Date: 12/19/14

74 County Road
Holyoke, MA 01040
Amount: $255,000
Buyer: Nicholas W. Kane
Seller: William F. Kane
Date: 12/16/14

66 Fairfield Ave.
Holyoke, MA 01040
Amount: $305,000
Buyer: Marco Crescentini
Seller: Steven A. Wardlaw
Date: 12/18/14

12 Florence Ave.
Holyoke, MA 01040
Amount: $165,000
Buyer: Abby W. Ingram
Seller: Brian D. Michaud
Date: 12/16/14

18 Hemlock Dr.
Holyoke, MA 01040
Amount: $260,000
Buyer: Patrick J. Clayton
Seller: Alan Czerniak
Date: 12/08/14

77-79 Hitchcock St.
Holyoke, MA 01040
Amount: $155,000
Seller: Kathleen Wresien
Date: 12/18/14

349-351 Main St.
Holyoke, MA 01040
Amount: $115,000
Buyer: Cook & Assocs. Property Investment
Seller: Cedarstone Management LLC
Date: 12/08/14

8 Michelle Lane
Holyoke, MA 01040
Amount: $379,900
Buyer: Fritz Schmidt
Seller: J. N. Duquette & Son Construction
Date: 12/23/14

39 Moss Ave.
Holyoke, MA 01040
Amount: $123,000
Buyer: Tyler D. Spath
Seller: Laura R. Christoph
Date: 12/11/14

111 Nonotuck St.
Holyoke, MA 01040
Amount: $194,000
Buyer: Michelle L. Walsh
Seller: Jeanne Taylor
Date: 12/08/14

22 Old Rock Valley Road
Holyoke, MA 01040
Amount: $249,900
Buyer: Jessica A. Messier
Seller: Dicarlo, Patricia, (Estate)
Date: 12/23/14

282-284 Suffolk St.
Holyoke, MA 01040
Amount: $528,000
Buyer: Holyoke Property Management LLC
Seller: Nottingham Place LLC
Date: 12/12/14

LONGMEADOW

247 Crestview Circle
Longmeadow, MA 01106
Amount: $335,000
Buyer: Sarah E. Goetz
Seller: J&D Realty LLP
Date: 12/15/14

48 Drury Lane
Longmeadow, MA 01106
Amount: $310,000
Buyer: Andrew C. Matz
Seller: James R. Willett
Date: 12/11/14

108 Homestead Blvd.
Longmeadow, MA 01106
Amount: $125,000
Buyer: Leonard Groeneveld
Seller: Karen A. Lapienski
Date: 12/23/14

99 Knollwood Dr.
Longmeadow, MA 01106
Amount: $336,000
Buyer: Maximilian J. Bennett
Seller: Barbara M. Whitehouse
Date: 12/19/14

80 Longview Dr.
Longmeadow, MA 01106
Amount: $284,572
Buyer: Jason L. Boggus
Seller: Barbara A. Young
Date: 12/19/14

1617 Longmeadow St.
Longmeadow, MA 01106
Amount: $630,000
Buyer: Mark W. Baker
Seller: Daniel V. Dineen
Date: 12/12/14

196 Meadowlark Dr.
Longmeadow, MA 01106
Amount: $170,000
Buyer: William Raleigh
Seller: Donoghue, Thomas J., (Estate)
Date: 12/17/14

54 Ridge Road
Longmeadow, MA 01106
Amount: $237,413
Buyer: Tiffany Shapiro
Seller: Paul D. Feen
Date: 12/12/14

96 Tanglewood Dr.
Longmeadow, MA 01106
Amount: $765,000
Buyer: Arun S. Uthayashankar
Seller: Robert B. Schwerin
Date: 12/12/14

LUDLOW

Dinis St.
Ludlow, MA 01056
Amount: $129,900
Buyer: Jorge S. Laires
Seller: Whitetail Wreks LLC
Date: 12/22/14

286 Fuller St.
Ludlow, MA 01056
Amount: $210,000
Buyer: Gregory R. Gay
Seller: Robert P. Fido
Date: 12/10/14

35 Karen Dr.
Ludlow, MA 01056
Amount: $239,000
Buyer: Eric W. King
Seller: Lauren A. Dansereau
Date: 12/26/14

135 Lockland Ave.
Ludlow, MA 01056
Amount: $135,000
Buyer: Judie M. Garceau
Seller: Vincent A. Gabriello
Date: 12/19/14

31 Maple St.
Ludlow, MA 01056
Amount: $137,000
Buyer: Eric A. Pescetta
Seller: Eric W. King
Date: 12/24/14

36 McKinley Ave.
Ludlow, MA 01056
Amount: $139,900
Buyer: Daniel Archambault
Seller: Charlotte A. Clough
Date: 12/08/14

43 Watt Ave.
Ludlow, MA 01056
Amount: $154,000
Buyer: Desare Easley
Seller: Robert G. Gordon
Date: 12/12/14

137 West Akard St.
Ludlow, MA 01056
Amount: $142,000
Buyer: Katimae Strycharz
Seller: Lloyd A. Mills
Date: 12/24/14

236 West St.
Ludlow, MA 01056
Amount: $190,000
Buyer: Michele M. Aguilar
Seller: Jan E. Reynolds-Ziter
Date: 12/10/14

673 West St.
Ludlow, MA 01056
Amount: $320,000
Buyer: Laura L. Poehler
Seller: Bethany A. Ketchale
Date: 12/17/14

55 Yale St.
Ludlow, MA 01056
Amount: $178,000
Buyer: Brian Chaffee
Seller: Joseph M. Dasilva
Date: 12/09/14

MONSON

32 Green St.
Monson, MA 01057
Amount: $150,000
Seller: Roberto Botta
Date: 12/15/14

10 Moores Cross Road
Monson, MA 01057
Amount: $326,000
Buyer: Elizabeth A. Clarke
Seller: Tina M. Elgin
Date: 12/08/14

156 Stafford Hollow Road
Monson, MA 01057
Amount: $226,000
Buyer: Michelle Heroux
Seller: David F. Fratini
Date: 12/17/14

187 Wilbraham Road
Monson, MA 01057
Amount: $183,500
Buyer: Matthew J. Guerri
Seller: Polish National Credit Union
Date: 12/23/14

MONTGOMERY

219 Pitcher St.
Montgomery, MA 01085
Amount: $290,000
Buyer: Charles S. Wheeler
Seller: Richard J. Champigny
Date: 12/19/14

PALMER

307 Breckenridge St.
Palmer, MA 01069
Amount: $147,000
Buyer: Alexander R. Zerwitz
Seller: John W. Lizak RET
Date: 12/19/14

4073-4075 Church St.
Palmer, MA 01069
Amount: $160,000
Buyer: Donald R. Wood
Seller: Catherine M. Barnes
Date: 12/19/14

41 Ruggles St.
Palmer, MA 01080
Amount: $166,000
Buyer: Kaileen A. Russell
Seller: Pamela A. Robak
Date: 12/26/14

46 Strong St.
Palmer, MA 01069
Amount: $160,000
Buyer: Justin V. Bailey
Seller: Gail L. Conde
Date: 12/12/14

14 Whalen St.
Palmer, MA 01069
Amount: $192,000
Buyer: Jeshua G. Charette
Seller: Scott A. Anderson
Date: 12/19/14

21 Whalen St.
Palmer, MA 01069
Amount: $182,500
Buyer: Monica L. Turgeon
Seller: Scott Lincourt
Date: 12/19/14

RUSSELL

450 Dickinson Hill Road
Russell, MA 01071
Amount: $197,500
Buyer: Bryan K. Hawley
Seller: Brett A. Stevens
Date: 12/10/14

Dickinson Hill Road
Russell, MA 01071
Amount: $199,000
Buyer: Brenton Keefe
Seller: Frederick J. Wojick
Date: 12/16/14

SOUTHWICK

107 Coes Hill Road
Southwick, MA 01077
Amount: $346,000
Buyer: Daniel A. Nicholson
Seller: Karen B. Legace
Date: 12/15/14

241 College Hwy.
Southwick, MA 01077
Amount: $125,000
Buyer: Benjamin Hallmark
Seller: Benjamin Hallmark
Date: 12/09/14

143 Feeding Hills Road
Southwick, MA 01077
Amount: $134,500
Buyer: Melissa A. Shanahan
Seller: Strong, Kenneth W., (Estate)
Date: 12/12/14

11 Granville Road
Southwick, MA 01077
Amount: $160,000
Buyer: John Lynch
Seller: Dori Neuwirth
Date: 12/19/14

64 Honey Pot Road
Southwick, MA 01077
Amount: $375,000
Buyer: Michael J. Kuzdzal
Seller: Angela D. Delbuono
Date: 12/22/14

73 Klaus Anderson Road
Southwick, MA 01077
Amount: $290,000
Buyer: Francis A. Mancini
Seller: Michael P. Paulin
Date: 12/08/14

47 Lexington Circle
Southwick, MA 01077
Amount: $410,000
Buyer: Harry L. Opal
Seller: Raymond W. Zenkert
Date: 12/12/14

292 North Loomis St.
Southwick, MA 01077
Amount: $120,000
Buyer: Anthony J. Dorsey
Seller: Tessier, Joseph H. Jr., (Estate)
Date: 12/17/14

297 North Loomis St.
Southwick, MA 01077
Amount: $229,900
Buyer: Angela D. Delbuono
Seller: Valerie Lane
Date: 12/22/14

132 South Loomis St.
Southwick, MA 01077
Amount: $222,500
Buyer: Richard J. Girard
Seller: Paul A. Miles
Date: 12/12/14

144 South Longyard Road
Southwick, MA 01077
Amount: $194,900
Buyer: Joseph A. Menzone
Seller: Barbara A. Miffert
Date: 12/23/14

SPRINGFIELD

81 Alexander St.
Springfield, MA 01107
Amount: $350,000
Buyer: Catfish Properties LLC
Seller: Macfish Properties LLC
Date: 12/12/14

115 Arcadia Blvd.
Springfield, MA 01118
Amount: $152,000
Buyer: Joseph B. Lewis
Seller: Denise M. Dangelantonio
Date: 12/15/14

24-26 Beauregard St.
Springfield, MA 01151
Amount: $185,000
Buyer: Delissa S. Kraus
Seller: Edwin Torres
Date: 12/23/14

411 Belmont Ave.
Springfield, MA 01108
Amount: $165,000
Buyer: Mister Mister LLC
Seller: Hallerin Realty LLP
Date: 12/11/14

906-908 Belmont Ave.
Springfield, MA 01108
Amount: $190,000
Buyer: 906-908 Belmont RT
Seller: John Olszewski

234 Birchland Ave.
Springfield, MA 01119
Amount: $209,000
Buyer: Dion Creative Construction LLC
Seller: Grace A. Lavalley
Date: 12/19/14

50 Bissell St.
Springfield, MA 01119
Amount: $130,579
Buyer: US Bank
Seller: Maria Rivas
Date: 12/22/14

16 Bliss St.
Springfield, MA 01105
Amount: $8,400,000
Buyer: Blue Tarp Redevelopment
Seller: C&W Real Estate Co. LLC
Date: 12/12/14

27 Bliss St.
Springfield, MA 01105
Amount: $8,400,000
Buyer: Blue Tarp Redevelopment
Seller: C&W Real Estate Co. LLC
Date: 12/12/14

53-57 Bliss St.
Springfield, MA 01105
Amount: $1,100,000
Buyer: Blue Tarp Redevelopment
Seller: 300 State St Realty Co.
Date: 12/12/14

Bliss St. (SS)
Springfield, MA 01101
Amount: $600,000
Buyer: Blue Tarp Redevelopment
Seller: Lyman Taylor Realty Co.
Date: 12/12/14

21 Brentwood St.
Springfield, MA 01108
Amount: $165,000
Buyer: Ronald Doe
Seller: Kristen M. Smidy
Date: 12/19/14

80 Burns Ave.
Springfield, MA 01119
Amount: $139,900
Buyer: John W. Kiah
Seller: Darlene F. Sandman
Date: 12/18/14

1508-1514 Carew St.
Springfield, MA 01104
Amount: $124,425
Buyer: Yuk Chang
Seller: Nationstar Mortgage LLC
Date: 12/22/14

246 Central St.
Springfield, MA 01105
Amount: $119,415
Buyer: AHAP LLC
Seller: JJS Capital Investment LLC
Date: 12/24/14

5 Crest St.
Springfield, MA 01109
Amount: $125,000
Buyer: Nelson Rios
Seller: Angela Cosenzi
Date: 12/17/14

22-24 Crown St.
Springfield, MA 01108
Amount: $350,000
Buyer: Catfish Properties LLC
Seller: Macfish Properties LLC
Date: 12/12/14

1524-1526 Dwight St.
Springfield, MA 01107
Amount: $350,000
Buyer: Catfish Properties LLC
Seller: Macfish Properties LLC
Date: 12/12/14

1357 East Columbus Ave.
Springfield, MA 01105
Amount: $600,000
Buyer: Blue Tarp Redevelopment
Seller: Lyman Taylor Realty Co.
Date: 12/12/14

94 Eddywood St.
Springfield, MA 01118
Amount: $119,900
Buyer: Sarah Bys
Seller: Center Court Apts. LLC
Date: 12/22/14

64 Euclid Ave.
Springfield, MA 01108
Amount: $350,000
Buyer: Catfish Properties LLC
Seller: Macfish Properties LLC
Date: 12/12/14

52 Fresno St.
Springfield, MA 01104
Amount: $119,000
Buyer: Brittney T. Karowski
Seller: Brian P. Heroux
Date: 12/17/14

109 Gardens Dr.
Springfield, MA 01119
Amount: $120,000
Buyer: Ernestina C. Bess
Seller: Colleen E. Palmer
Date: 12/12/14

271 Gifford St.
Springfield, MA 01118
Amount: $148,500
Buyer: Abrah N. Orth
Seller: Maureen K. McNeely
Date: 12/22/14

106 Gillette Circle
Springfield, MA 01118
Amount: $160,000
Buyer: Brianna H. Stellato
Seller: Mary T. Petrone
Date: 12/22/14

187 Hampshire St.
Springfield, MA 01151
Amount: $350,000
Buyer: Catfish Properties LLC
Seller: Macfish Properties LLC
Date: 12/12/14

21-23 Harlan St.
Springfield, MA 01104
Amount: $116,500
Buyer: Nancy Santiago
Seller: Patricia A. Fairbanks
Date: 12/08/14

131 Hastings St.
Springfield, MA 01104
Amount: $119,900
Buyer: Robert Wanzo
Seller: Sergey Savonin
Date: 12/22/14

24 Helberg Road
Springfield, MA 01128
Amount: $157,500
Buyer: James P. Habel
Seller: Curtis K. Andrews
Date: 12/12/14

34 Herman St.
Springfield, MA 01108
Amount: $120,000
Buyer: Janet R. Topey
Seller: Ly T. San
Date: 12/17/14

Howard St. (NS)
Springfield, MA 01101
Amount: $4,450,000
Buyer: Blue Tarp Redevelopment
Seller: Lyman Taylor Realty Co.
Date: 12/12/14

Howard St (NS)
Springfield, MA 01101
Amount: $1,000,000
Buyer: Blue Tarp Red LLC
Seller: Marvin Gardens of Conn. LLC
Date: 12/22/14

26 Howard St.
Springfield, MA 01105
Amount: $4,450,000
Buyer: Blue Tarp Redevelopment
Seller: Lyman Taylor Realty Co.
Date: 12/12/14

48 Howard St.
Springfield, MA 01105
Amount: $1,100,000
Buyer: Blue Tarp Redevelopment
Seller: 300 State St Realty Co.
Date: 12/12/14

10 Ingraham Terrace
Springfield, MA 01105
Amount: $400,000
Buyer: Hampden Bank
Seller: Alan James LLC
Date: 12/12/14

12 Ingraham Terrace
Springfield, MA 01105
Amount: $400,000
Buyer: Hampden Bank
Seller: Alan James LLC
Date: 12/12/14

29 Joanne Road
Springfield, MA 01119
Amount: $119,000
Buyer: Brandon A. Lapointe
Seller: Sherry O’Neill
Date: 12/09/14

17 Keddy St.
Springfield, MA 01109
Amount: $125,000
Buyer: Steven R. Dudeck
Seller: William Lambros
Date: 12/19/14

72 Kensington Ave.
Springfield, MA 01108
Amount: $350,000
Buyer: Catfish Properties LLC
Seller: Macfish Properties LLC
Date: 12/12/14

25-27 Kopernick St.
Springfield, MA 01151
Amount: $166,000
Buyer: Anthony C. Fowler
Seller: Henry A. Lizon
Date: 12/09/14

260 Lake Dr.
Springfield, MA 01151
Amount: $161,000
Buyer: Ronald Krupke
Seller: Virgilio Rios
Date: 12/10/14

88 Lorimer St.
Springfield, MA 01151
Amount: $124,000
Buyer: Justin C. Tracy
Seller: Deborah M. Tracy
Date: 12/10/14

29 Louis Road
Springfield, MA 01118
Amount: $125,000
Buyer: Irene Kaminaris
Seller: Church In Acres
Date: 12/17/14

19 Macomber Ave.
Springfield, MA 01119
Amount: $148,000
Buyer: Karen Laughlin
Seller: Terrence M. Leahy
Date: 12/09/14

83 Magnolia Terrace
Springfield, MA 01108
Amount: $300,000
Buyer: Mark R. Blackmon
Seller: Stephen H. Cosenke
Date: 12/22/14

1008 Main St.
Springfield, MA 01103
Amount: $2,135,000
Buyer: Blue Tarp Red LLC
Seller: David R. Dudley
Date: 12/23/14

1090-1104 Main St.
Springfield, MA 01103
Amount: $700,000
Buyer: Blue Tarp Red LLC
Seller: Main & Howard Realty LLC
Date: 12/23/14

1106-1114 Main St.
Springfield, MA 01103
Amount: $450,000
Buyer: Blue Tarp Redevelopment
Seller: C&W Equities LLC
Date: 12/12/14

1156-1178 Main St.
Springfield, MA 01103
Amount: $1,100,000
Buyer: Blue Tarp Redevelopment
Seller: M&I Frost Realty LLC
Date: 12/12/14

1200 Main St.
Springfield, MA 01103
Amount: $8,400,000
Buyer: Blue Tarp Redevelopment
Seller: C&W Real Estate Co. LLC
Date: 12/12/14

67-69 Massachusetts Ave.
Springfield, MA 01109
Amount: $128,000
Buyer: Joshua A. Reid
Seller: Akinlabi Olawuni
Date: 12/16/14

52 Mattoon St.
Springfield, MA 01105
Amount: $200,000
Buyer: Chart Organization LLC
Seller: Susan N. Rice
Date: 12/08/14

370 Nottingham St.
Springfield, MA 01104
Amount: $161,349
Buyer: FNMA
Seller: Carlos M. Seixas
Date: 12/23/14

62-64 Olmsted Dr.
Springfield, MA 01108
Amount: $210,000
Buyer: Hyacinth C. Henry
Seller: JJS Capital Investment LLC
Date: 12/19/14

76-78 Olmsted Dr.
Springfield, MA 01108
Amount: $269,000
Buyer: Kevin K. Darjee
Seller: Brian J. Cunnane
Date: 12/09/14

1070 Parker St.
Springfield, MA 01129
Amount: $169,900
Buyer: Brian G. Howard
Seller: Kathleen Beane
Date: 12/23/14

153 Plainfield St.
Springfield, MA 01104
Amount: $559,000
Buyer: TMRE LLC
Seller: RAM Construction LLC
Date: 12/17/14

1291 Plumtree Road
Springfield, MA 01119
Amount: $131,875
Buyer: Christopher T. Phelps
Seller: Kathleen A. Hydal
Date: 12/15/14

45 Pocantico Ave.
Springfield, MA 01109
Amount: $147,500
Buyer: Patrick M. McGinity
Seller: Wells Fargo Bank NA
Date: 12/16/14

408 Roosevelt Ave.
Springfield, MA 01118
Amount: $205,000
Buyer: Muna Tiwari
Seller: William J. Lodi
Date: 12/12/14

198 Saffron Circle
Springfield, MA 01129
Amount: $156,500
Buyer: Luis A. Lopez
Seller: Jennifer L. Cianflone
Date: 12/18/14

106 Saint James Circle
Springfield, MA 01104
Amount: $140,000
Buyer: Jennie Rivera-Gonzalez
Seller: Phillip A. Lees
Date: 12/23/14

1271 Saint James Ave.
Springfield, MA 01104
Amount: $145,000
Buyer: Freddy Correa
Seller: Jabir Jebir
Date: 12/11/14

128 Shawmut St.
Springfield, MA 01108
Amount: $116,000
Buyer: Andrew Famiglietti
Seller: Mary M. Wright
Date: 12/19/14

Spring St.
Springfield, MA 01101
Amount: $125,000
Buyer: Britalian LLC
Seller: Abdou Mourad
Date: 12/08/14

95 State St.
Springfield, MA 01103
Amount: $8,400,000
Buyer: Blue Tarp Redevelopment
Seller: C&W Real Estate Co. LLC
Date: 12/12/14

1079 Sumner Ave.
Springfield, MA 01118
Amount: $122,000
Buyer: Marta Subira
Seller: Daniel J. Murray
Date: 12/12/14

167 Sunrise Terrace
Springfield, MA 01119
Amount: $157,500
Buyer: Jose M. Sanchez
Seller: Mario A. Campora
Date: 12/23/14

53 Talmadge Dr.
Springfield, MA 01118
Amount: $129,000
Buyer: Damrais Morales
Seller: James W. Fiore
Date: 12/09/14

23 Treetop Ave.
Springfield, MA 01118
Amount: $140,071
Buyer: Bank New York
Seller: Beverly Gomes
Date: 12/10/14

3 Ventura St.
Springfield, MA 01108
Amount: $140,000
Buyer: 855 Liberty Springfield LLC
Seller: Corey Fisher
Date: 12/12/14

50-52 Vermont St.
Springfield, MA 01108
Amount: $350,000
Buyer: Catfish Properties LLC
Seller: Macfish Properties LLC
Date: 12/12/14

288 West Allen Ridge Road
Springfield, MA 01118
Amount: $121,000
Buyer: Arlene F. Howe
Seller: Paula J. Hodecker
Date: 12/11/14

77 Wilmont St.
Springfield, MA 01108
Amount: $350,000
Buyer: Catfish Properties LLC
Seller: Macfish Properties LLC
Date: 12/12/14

65 Wilshire Road
Springfield, MA 01118
Amount: $120,000
Buyer: Steven R. Gaynor
Seller: FHLM
Date: 12/16/14

800 Worcester St.
Springfield, MA 01151
Amount: $209,769
Buyer: Super Worcester LLC
Seller: Beam Worcester Street LLC
Date: 12/11/14

1391-1393 Worcester St.
Springfield, MA 01151
Amount: $179,900
Buyer: Trevor W. Gordon
Seller: Grace Dias
Date: 12/16/14

557 Worthington St.
Springfield, MA 01105
Amount: $125,000
Buyer: Britalian LLC
Seller: Abdou Mourad
Date: 12/08/14

TOLLAND

16 Chipmunk Xing
Tolland, MA 01034
Amount: $245,000
Buyer: Gregory T. Ullen
Seller: Stephen P. Thomas
Date: 12/19/14

WESTFIELD

28 Butternut Road
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $232,000
Buyer: Justin A. Tietze
Seller: Martin P. Bannish
Date: 12/12/14

1 Crown St.
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $173,000
Buyer: Kyle T. Smith
Seller: Kathleen T. Miller
Date: 12/12/14

178 Llewellyn Dr.
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $300,000
Buyer: Paul A. Miles
Seller: Cynthia J. Geiger
Date: 12/12/14

253 Granville Road
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $167,600
Buyer: Janet Ruiz
Seller: Clifford J. Edgerton
Date: 12/10/14

6 Highland Ave.
Wilbraham, MA 01095
Amount: $189,000
Buyer: James M. Moriarty
Seller: Patricia A. O’Brien
Date: 12/12/14

135 Hillside Road
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $200,000
Buyer: Elena Pascal
Seller: Daniel G. Kotowski
Date: 12/09/14

52 Janelle Dr.
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $420,000
Buyer: Jason Polan
Seller: Fernando J. Carreira
Date: 12/23/14

23 Meadowbrook Lane
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $225,000
Buyer: Karl Baush
Seller: Deane, Truxton, (Estate)
Date: 12/09/14

257 Montgomery Road
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $323,500
Buyer: Paul E. Cesan
Seller: Bent Tree Development LLC
Date: 12/18/14

N/A
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $162,000
Buyer: Joseph J. Maslar
Seller: Donna J. Forte
Date: 12/24/14

76 Orange St.
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $219,000
Buyer: East Mountain Inc.
Seller: William F. Barry
Date: 12/22/14

Sackett Road
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $205,000
Buyer: Marc J. Denoncourt
Seller: Gordon T. Smith
Date: 12/09/14

100 Squawfield Road
Westfield, MA 01085
Amount: $190,000
Buyer: James E. Davenport
Seller: Laurene B. Bertera
Date: 12/23/14

WEST SPRINGFIELD

70 Garden St.
West Springfield, MA 01089
Amount: $203,000
Buyer: Christopher A. Yager
Seller: Louis W. Champiney
Date: 12/22/14

34 Harwich Road
West Springfield, MA 01089
Amount: $220,000
Seller: Hugh B. Mickel
Date: 12/22/14

39 Irving St.
West Springfield, MA 01089
Amount: $176,000
Buyer: Denis Rahubenco
Seller: Matthew B. Gray
Date: 12/24/14

24 Kelly Dr.
West Springfield, MA 01089
Amount: $181,500
Buyer: Thomas L. Sudnick
Seller: Patricia M. Marotte
Date: 12/09/14

134 Main St.
West Springfield, MA 01089
Amount: $160,000
Buyer: Gulnara Lachinova
Seller: James W. Fiore
Date: 12/19/14

1059-1071 Memorial Ave.
West Springfield, MA 01089
Amount: $315,000
Buyer: Shreeji Shayona LLC
Seller: Brian C. Slayton
Date: 12/12/14

45 Merrick St.
West Springfield, MA 01089
Amount: $300,000
Buyer: Maytham A. Almashhadi
Seller: KOT Realty Co. LLC
Date: 12/12/14

133 Morton St.
West Springfield, MA 01089
Amount: $175,000
Buyer: Betsy Arseneau
Seller: Carol L. Young
Date: 12/08/14

103 Ohio Ave.
West Springfield, MA 01089
Amount: $272,000
Buyer: Lizbeth T. Doubleday
Seller: Peter J. Bushnell
Date: 12/08/14

67 South Blvd.
West Springfield, MA 01089
Amount: $260,000
Buyer: Maria Rivera
Seller: Vitaly Dzhenzherukha
Date: 12/24/14

WILBRAHAM

15 Bellows Road
Wilbraham, MA 01095
Amount: $417,500
Buyer: William J. Aguilar
Seller: Thomas E. Leoni
Date: 12/12/14

12 Glenn Dr.
Wilbraham, MA 01095
Amount: $185,000
Buyer: FNMA
Seller: Jeanne D. Kubik
Date: 12/22/14

3 Longfellow Road
Wilbraham, MA 01095
Amount: $222,000
Buyer: Melanie A. Secundino
Seller: Carol A. Ball
Date: 12/18/14

33 Longview Dr.
Wilbraham, MA 01095
Amount: $246,500
Buyer: Aniello Denardo
Seller: Peter N. Hassiotis
Date: 12/18/14

499 Ridge Road
Wilbraham, MA 01095
Amount: $350,000
Buyer: Elizabeth J. Pecoy
Seller: Joel K. Pecoy
Date: 12/19/14

Soule Road
Wilbraham, MA 01095
Amount: $249,900
Buyer: Mary T. Petrone
Seller: Richard C. Teed
Date: 12/17/14

75 Springfield St.
Wilbraham, MA 01095
Amount: $152,000
Buyer: Joseph A. Pellegrino
Seller: Nancy S. Williamson
Date: 12/26/14

740 Stony Hill Road
Wilbraham, MA 01095
Amount: $159,000
Buyer: Richard T. Martins
Seller: Norman F. Rauscher
Date: 12/17/14

HAMPSHIRE COUNTY

AMHERST

31 Blossom Lane
Amherst, MA 01002
Amount: $440,000
Buyer: Marie A. Hess
Seller: Barbara G. Rollinson
Date: 12/11/14

49 Glendale Road
Amherst, MA 01002
Amount: $230,000
Buyer: Martha Toro
Seller: Elizabeth B. Musto
Date: 12/08/14

758 North Pleasant St.
Amherst, MA 01002
Amount: $460,000
Buyer: HGMS LLC
Seller: HAZ 2 LLC
Date: 12/19/14

1057 North Pleasant St.
Amherst, MA 01002
Amount: $336,000
Buyer: North East Awad Group LLC
Seller: 1057 N. Pleasant St. RT
Date: 12/12/14

149 Pomeroy Lane
Amherst, MA 01002
Amount: $315,000
Buyer: Adriana Powell
Seller: May L. Chen
Date: 12/10/14

261 Potwine Lane
Amherst, MA 01002
Amount: $465,000
Buyer: Eric J. Gonzales
Seller: Robert A. Levitt
Date: 12/12/14

BELCHERTOWN

20 Green Ave.
Belchertown, MA 01007
Amount: $255,000
Buyer: Michael J. Bishop
Seller: Wanda L. Cote
Date: 12/23/14

20 Hemlock Hollow
Belchertown, MA 01007
Amount: $217,348
Buyer: Nataliya B. Versace
Seller: USA HUD
Date: 12/12/14

107 Howard St.
Belchertown, MA 01007
Amount: $192,000
Buyer: Lynn M. Arthur
Seller: Bryan D. Adamski
Date: 12/18/14

45 Jabish St.
Belchertown, MA 01007
Amount: $127,000
Buyer: Allen F. Wentworth
Seller: Oberly, Clare M., (Estate)
Date: 12/22/14

44 Maple St.
Belchertown, MA 01007
Amount: $157,000
Buyer: Max W. Bock
Seller: Ellen L. Lord
Date: 12/19/14

56 Pine St.
Belchertown, MA 01007
Amount: $315,000
Buyer: Sarah F. Zelechoski
Seller: Betty P. Lamery
Date: 12/19/14

136 Railroad St.
Belchertown, MA 01007
Amount: $148,000
Buyer: Steven R. George
Seller: Melva L. Toutant
Date: 12/23/14

S Gulf Road #6
Belchertown, MA 01007
Amount: $125,000
Buyer: Heidi A. Dollard
Seller: Robert Mileski
Date: 12/15/14

356 Springfield Road
Belchertown, MA 01007
Amount: $328,000
Buyer: Grace Lavalley
Seller: Dion Creative Construction Inc.
Date: 12/19/14

EASTHAMPTON

45 Kingsberry Way
Easthampton, MA 01027
Amount: $305,000
Buyer: Katie A. Morin
Seller: Crown Meadow Corp.
Date: 12/19/14

12-14 Knipfer Ave.
Easthampton, MA 01027
Amount: $270,000
Buyer: Kevin P. Larkin
Seller: Kevin C. Netto
Date: 12/11/14

53 Mount Tom Ave.
Easthampton, MA 01027
Amount: $150,000
Buyer: Richard T. Schlosser
Seller: Donald Carr TR
Date: 12/08/14

1 Park Ave.
Easthampton, MA 01027
Amount: $270,000
Buyer: Sandra M. Costello
Seller: Robert A. Canon
Date: 12/18/14

10 River Valley Way
Easthampton, MA 01027
Amount: $278,334
Buyer: Nathan A. Costa
Seller: EH Homeownership LLC
Date: 12/23/14

95 Union St.
Easthampton, MA 01027
Amount: $175,000
Buyer: Cheryl S. Campbell
Seller: Judy D. Peloquin
Date: 12/16/14

43 Westview Terrace
Easthampton, MA 01027
Amount: $289,500
Buyer: Sarah A. Liles
Seller: Henry R. Geryk
Date: 12/12/14

GRANBY

266 Batchelor St.
Granby, MA 01033
Amount: $270,100
Buyer: Julie R. Jackson
Seller: Lafleur & Son Inc.
Date: 12/08/14

122 Carver St.
Granby, MA 01033
Amount: $132,000
Buyer: Alexandr Nejelski
Seller: US Bank
Date: 12/22/14

HADLEY

82 Bay Road
Hadley, MA 01035
Amount: $259,000
Buyer: Fikriye King
Seller: William Korzec
Date: 12/10/14

15 Frost Lane
Hadley, MA 01035
Amount: $395,000
Buyer: Walter C. Schaeffler
Seller: Lois A. Hartman
Date: 12/19/14

11 Indian Pipe Dr.
Hadley, MA 01035
Amount: $583,000
Buyer: Guoping Zhang
Seller: Bercume Construction LLC
Date: 12/23/14

4 Indian Pipe Dr.
Hadley, MA 01035
Amount: $690,000
Buyer: 4 Indian Pipe Drive TR
Seller: Bercume Construction LLC
Date: 12/17/14

HATFIELD

6 Church Ave.
Hatfield, MA 01088
Amount: $170,000
Buyer: Andrew J. Black
Seller: Daniel J. Barch
Date: 12/22/14

40 King St.
Hatfield, MA 01038
Amount: $160,000
Buyer: Scott R. Yarosh
Seller: Dorothy J. Yagodzinski
Date: 12/22/14

HUNTINGTON

11 Kennedy Dr.
Huntington, MA 01050
Amount: $299,900
Buyer: Kathleen F. Harmon
Seller: Rosemary S. Caputo
Date: 12/17/14

NORTHAMPTON

Bridge Road
Northampton, MA 01060
Amount: $222,500
Buyer: Harold R. Fitzgerald
Seller: Garrett Fitzgerald
Date: 12/15/14

13 Finn St.
Northampton, MA 01060
Amount: $324,000
Buyer: Tyler E. Boudreau
Seller: Kathryn M. Reagan-Talbot
Date: 12/23/14

41 Locust St.
Northampton, MA 01060
Amount: $700,000
Buyer: 41 Locust Street LLC
Seller: Omasta LT
Date: 12/16/14

65 Nonotuck St.
Northampton, MA 01062
Amount: $310,000
Buyer: Mary E. Asher
Seller: Christopher J. Tarvit
Date: 12/10/14

157 North Main St.
Northampton, MA 01062
Amount: $150,000
Buyer: John D. Dahl
Seller: Helen Driscoll
Date: 12/23/14

33 Northern Ave.
Northampton, MA 01060
Amount: $319,000
Buyer: Sumanth Prabhaker
Seller: Anne E. White
Date: 12/12/14

22 Phillips Place
Northampton, MA 01060
Amount: $405,000
Buyer: Michael P. Stoddard
Seller: Edward J. Canzano
Date: 12/19/14

222 River Road
Northampton, MA 01053
Amount: $3,200,000
Buyer: Leeds Landlord MA LLC
Seller: Overlook Health Center
Date: 12/23/14

24 Summer St.
Northampton, MA 01060
Amount: $375,000
Buyer: Kevin Brigham
Seller: Brigham FT
Date: 12/19/14

6 Wright Ave.
Northampton, MA 01060
Amount: $328,000
Buyer: Mathieu J. Tebo
Seller: John W. Kowalski
Date: 12/12/14

PELHAM

54 Arnold Road
Pelham, MA 01002
Amount: $193,800
Buyer: Mary S. Booth
Seller: David L. Parrish
Date: 12/16/14

57 South Valley Road
Pelham, MA 01002
Amount: $172,500
Buyer: Carol M. Johnson RET
Seller: Zachary B. Rubinstein
Date: 12/12/14

SOUTH HADLEY

50 Bardwell St.
South Hadley, MA 01075
Amount: $125,000
Buyer: Thomas A. Douglas
Seller: Marc A. Bisson
Date: 12/12/14

329 Hadley St.
South Hadley, MA 01075
Amount: $467,000
Buyer: Andrew K. Carey
Seller: Scott R. Keen
Date: 12/12/14

7 Landers St.
South Hadley, MA 01075
Amount: $257,000
Buyer: Amy S. Hermans
Seller: Brian S. McClaflin
Date: 12/17/14

1 Lexington Ave.
South Hadley, MA 01075
Amount: $215,000
Buyer: Elizabeth M. Goulet
Seller: Sandra M. Costello
Date: 12/18/14
36 Lincoln Ave.
South Hadley, MA 01075
Amount: $164,500
Buyer: Christine Kane
Seller: Rose M. Zdybel
Date: 12/26/14

36 Noel St.
South Hadley, MA 01075
Amount: $219,000
Buyer: Margaret E. Perri
Seller: Christopher D. Fontaine
Date: 12/12/14

2 Normandy Road
South Hadley, MA 01075
Amount: $123,000
Buyer: Sylke M. Avalo
Seller: Marijcke Lamers-Tilman
Date: 12/26/14

41 Old County Road
South Hadley, MA 01075
Amount: $400,000
Buyer: Jared Carver
Seller: Richard M. Bradley
Date: 12/16/14

416 Pearl St.
South Hadley, MA 01075
Amount: $385,500
Buyer: Liza G. Smith
Seller: Letellier FT
Date: 12/17/14

7 Ralph Ave.
South Hadley, MA 01075
Amount: $168,000
Buyer: Kristina F. Nadeau
Seller: Wayne E. Gilbert
Date: 12/19/14

33 Upper River Road
South Hadley, MA 01075
Amount: $370,000
Buyer: Anthony J. Scibelli
Seller: Steven D. Vautrain
Date: 12/23/14

SOUTHAMPTON

18 Camp Jahn Road
Southampton, MA 01073
Amount: $230,000
Buyer: William F. Garrand
Seller: Matthew P. Giguere
Date: 12/15/14

9 Glendale Road
Southampton, MA 01073
Amount: $135,000
Buyer: Meghan L. Labonte
Seller: Charles D. Graves
Date: 12/08/14

6 Nicholas Lane
Southampton, MA 01085
Amount: $440,640
Buyer: Alan B. Czerniak
Seller: James F. Boyle
Date: 12/15/14

Old Harvest Road #12
Southampton, MA 01073
Amount: $129,900
Buyer: RCT T LLC
Seller: Triple 7 LLC
Date: 12/19/14

Old Harvest Road #7
Southampton, MA 01073
Amount: $175,000
Buyer: Theodore H. Blais
Seller: Triple 7 LLC
Date: 12/24/14

105 Pomeroy Meadow Road
Southampton, MA 01073
Amount: $242,500
Buyer: Sara Lamontagne
Seller: Kevin P. Larkin
Date: 12/11/14

37 Strong Road
Southampton, MA 01073
Amount: $475,919
Buyer: Heather A. Vigue
Seller: Thomas M. Bacis
Date: 12/15/14

WARE

58 Cummings Road
Ware, MA 01082
Amount: $116,000
Buyer: Dustin Sanderski TR
Seller: Dennis J. Dennis
Date: 12/19/14

122 North St.
Ware, MA 01082
Amount: $160,000
Buyer: Todd Russo
Seller: Todd A. Maki
Date: 12/15/14

124 North St.
Ware, MA 01082
Amount: $160,000
Buyer: Todd Russo
Seller: Todd A. Maki
Date: 12/15/14

WESTHAMPTON

101 Montague Road
Westhampton, MA 01027
Amount: $310,000
Buyer: Silvio J. Baruzzi
Seller: Barbara Debold
Date: 12/19/14

WORTHINGTON

116 Huntington Road
Worthington, MA 01098
Amount: $170,000
Buyer: FNMA
Seller: Frances S. Crossman
Date: 12/23/14

DBA Certificates Departments

The following Business Certificates and Trade Names were issued or renewed during the month of January 2015.

CHICOPEE

Arbour Cuts
1523 Memorial Dr.
Debra Arbour

Diamond Nails
325 Front St.
Van K. Cao

Doogan’s Deli & Pizza
140 Broadway St.
Douglas Girorard

Dream Star Nails
347 Chicopee St.
Hoa Phu

Gary’s Barber Shop
471 Grattan St.
Gary Ruel

Herbarium
258 Exchange St.
Jonathan Evans

Jenco Property Maintenance
5 Newell St.
Mark Jenco

HOLYOKE

Jadhai
254 Maple St.
Oneida Rivera

Majeya’s Avon
254 Maple St.
Ana D. Torres

Merrell
50 Holyoke St.
Hush Puppies Retail Inc.

Riverside Auto & Cycle
85 North Bridge St.
Michael Richardson

LUDLOW

J.B. Meats
141 Center St.
Joseph Batista

Joy’s Restaurant
481 Center St.
Aziz Turan

Ludlow Public Market
46 Birch St.
Isidoro Fernandes

Manuela’s Designs
116 Southwood Dr.
Manuela Docarmo

NORTHAMPTON

A Better Move
141 South Main St.
Terry Blanchard

Ancient Roots Healing Arts
160 Main St.
Sheila Petigny-Perry

Applied Mortgage
211 North St.
Gregory Korn

Asenka Consulting
67 Old South St.
Wendy Aasenkamp

Crimson & Clover Farm
215 Spring St.
Jennifer Smith

Gemini Research
220 Grove St.
Rachel Volberg

Pleasant Street Laundry
185 Pleasant St.
Sun Chong

Ralph’s Blacksmith Shop
36 Smith St.
Arthur Grodd

Strong’s Healthy Smiles Inc.
40 Main St.
Suzanne R. Keller

PALMER

Griswold Glass & Aluminum
1184 Park St.
Jeremy Griswold

Lasting Impressions
1552 North Main St.
Mark Corbett

SPRINGFIELD

Bay Street Bottles
836 Bay St.
Khan H. Nguyen

Baystate Builders
44 Bither St.
Gino Decesare

Beyond Shoes
10 Kendall St.
Vito Resto

Big Daddy Boomerangs
88 Coral Road
Jeffrey LeBeau

Bosslife Inc.
2383 Main St.
Rafael Nazario

CCNE
27 Carver St.
Monica J. Caldwell

Charlotte Julienne
77 Wayne St.
Amy B. Dewar

Concentra Advanced
140 Carando Dr.
Joan O. Lenahan

Fragrant Elegance
13 Lawn St.
Malachi Tresch

J. Horne Photography
143 Main St.
Jesse E. Horne

J.J. Knox Food Market
17 Knox St.
Jabir Khan

Jay Harland Corporation
504 St. James Ave.
Richard M. Black

JPML Holdings Inc.
380 Dickinson St.
Phung M. Le

Knots Indeed
63 Lakevilla Ave.
Rita F. Bartholomew

WESTFIELD

Ace Vapor
227 East Main St.
Ace Vapor

China Star
36 Southwick Road
Westfield China Star Inc.

J.E. Hibert Auto Body
32 Chapel St.
James E. Michael

Pizza Works
18 School St.
Yagmur, Inc.

Raja Mart
286 Southampton Road
Raja Mart

San-Man Graphics
16 Union Ave.
Edgardo Sanchez

WEST SPRINGFIELD

Bertera Chrysler Jeep
539 Riverdale St.
Bertera Motors

Cornerstone Construction
105 Hampden St.
Anatoliy Paliy

Market One
70 Robinson St.
Nicholas Toma

Mortgage Master
371 Park St.
Peter MacDonald

Once Upon a Child
1458 Riverdale St.
Lawrence A. White

Windy Ridge Enterprises
1530 Piper Road
Geraldine E. MacDonald

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