PITTSFIELD, MA – Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito joined state and local officials to break ground on the $13.7 million Berkshire Innovation Center (BIC), which will catalyze and accelerate innovation and growth of new and existing companies that will spur economic growth and job creation in Western Massachusetts.
The BIC will provide advanced capabilities to manufacturers in the Berkshires, primarily small and medium-sized companies in life sciences, the life sciences supply chain, advanced manufacturing and technology. The 20,000 square-foot facility will include training facilities, biotech wet lab space, clean rooms, office and event space for small to medium-sized life sciences companies to support economic growth, jobs and private investment in the region.
The Baker-Polito Administration has committed nearly $12.5 million towards the projectthrough a $12 million allocation from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center and the approval of $450,000 from MassDevelopment. This funding leverages an additional $1 million commitment from the City of Pittsfield and $300,000 from the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority.
“Our administration is focused on boosting the Commonwealth’s thriving life sciences sector in every corner of the state,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Investing in the Berkshire Innovation Center will help expand the capacity and capabilities of this region’s entrepreneurial community to drive job creation, retention and outside investment in Western Massachusetts.”
“This investment will provide new opportunities for the people and businesses of the Berkshires by unlocking new economic and educational potential,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “We will continue to partner with municipalities and support public-private partnerships across the Commonwealth to build a world class talent pipeline and remain a global innovator and leader in the life sciences.”
Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito were joined by Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash, Administration and Finance Secretary Michael J. Heffernan, MassDevelopment President & CEO Lauren Liss, Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer, Congressman Richard Neal, members of the state legislative delegation and Berkshire County business, education and community leaders to celebrate the BIC’s next major milestone at the future site of the life sciences innovation hub.
“The Berkshire Innovation Center will serve as an anchor institution for the Western Massachusetts region, strengthening connections between the life sciences and advanced manufacturing industries and education institutions, creating jobs and shaping the next generation of homegrown innovators,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash. “The Baker-Polito Administration’s commitment to the BIC has been a watershed moment for a project that was many years in the making and in keeping with economic development investments made in the region since 2015. We are pleased to be part of this moment and look forward to seeing the BIC’s impact on our innovation economy.”
“This new center represents the promise of new jobs and economic growth in Western Massachusetts; new support for life sciences innovation, training and advanced manufacturing; and the expansion of the Commonwealth’s life sciences talent pipeline,” said Administration and Finance Secretary Michael J. Heffernan. “As an Administration, we make it a priority to invest our capital dollars in growth-oriented programs and initiatives – those that promise a strong return on the Commonwealth’s investment over the long term. The Berkshire Innovation Center fits that profile nicely.”
“A cornerstone of our mission as we enter the next generation of the Life Sciences Center is to remain steadfast in our support of the growth and development of the life sciences throughout Massachusetts,” said Massachusetts Life Sciences Center President & CEO Travis McCready. “Our investments in the Berkshire Innovation Center and across Western Massachusetts will enable the region to leverage dynamic programming and innovative infrastructure and make its own mark as part of the Commonwealth’s thriving life sciences ecosystem.”
“MassDevelopment was proud to join a partnership of agencies supporting the development of the Berkshire Innovation Center,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Lauren Liss. “This institution will accelerate the work of companies in key industries in western Massachusetts, such as advanced manufacturing, technology and life sciences, and we look forward to seeing all that is accomplished through the work of this landmark innovation hub.”
“Today marks the beginning of many good things to come in our community. In the Berkshires, we are home to a growing and thriving advanced manufacturing industry. The Berkshire Innovation Center at the William Stanley Business Park in Pittsfield will change the landscape for advanced manufacturing R&D and increase the pipeline of highly trained employees,”said Mayor Linda M. Tyer. “We’re deeply proud of the city’s role in further catalyzing advanced manufacturing in Pittsfield and throughout the county. I am exceedingly grateful to Governor Baker, Lt. Governor Polito, Secretary Ash and the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center for their unwavering support and commitment to furthering an endeavor that will continue to grow a powerful and rising sector of our local economy.”
Nearly 5,000 jobs in Berkshire Country are in the manufacturing sector, making it the fifth largest industry in the region. Manufacturing represents a key industry base in Berkshire County and is comprised of small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs), which play a critical role in maintaining and growing the manufacturing strengths of Massachusetts economy.
The BIC will bring advanced capabilities to its member companies including shared access to cutting-edge research and development, prototyping equipment, customized training programs, student internship programs and collaborative opportunities with the BIC’s research and education partners.
“I’m thrilled to be breaking ground with so many engaged BIC Stakeholders,” said BIC Chairman Stephen Boyd. “The leadership of the Baker-Polito Administration has fostered our community to becoming a significant part of the statewide innovation ecosystem and this milestone marks another significant step forward in our realizing its promise. The start of construction of the BIC facility signals the beginning of a new chapter that pairs our programmatic and building design and advances our mission. Now the BIC can really start to make an impact and accomplish our vision to spur innovation across the region and within our community.”
“I am so grateful for our team and the PEDA board for the years of hard work and dedication in advancing the Berkshire Innovation Center from concept to reality,” said Mick Callahan, Chairman of the PEDA board. “This exciting project will bring the most advanced manufacturing technology to Pittsfield and advance the opportunities for existing businesses to grow and create new jobs. The BIC will also advance educational opportunities for young adults to train for jobs in the advanced manufacturing sector, further the region’s ability to attract new entrepreneurial businesses and ultimately improve the overall economy in Pittsfield and the Berkshires.”
“Berkshire Community College is so proud to partner with the Berkshire Innovation Center and celebrate this momentous day,” said Ellen Kennedy, President of BCC. “The BIC will allow our region to retain its high-quality manufacturing jobs while also creating new job opportunities for the students and residents of the Berkshires.”
Numerous federal, state, and local leaders were on hand for the BIC project launch and joined in the chorus of praise to celebrate this important milestone:
“The life sciences industry in Massachusetts is booming, and with the establishment of the Berkshire Innovation Center, the western part of the state will be able to claim their stake in this great field,” said Congressman Richard E. Neal. “I am excited to see the shovels in the ground today. The potential for future growth for Pittsfield and the entire region is astronomical. Congratulations to all those involved.”
“Reinventing and reinvigorating our regional economy requires strategic investments,” said State Senator Adam G. Hinds. “This innovation center is just what we need to support local businesses, attract new companies and position the Berkshires for further growth in a modern economy.”
“The Commonwealth’s investment in the Berkshire Innovation Center comes after years of work bringing together the many stakeholders,” said Representative Tricia Farley-Bouvier. “This Center will be fertile ground to the seeds of collaboration and innovative that are the hallmark of the Berkshires.”
“The Berkshire Innovation Center represents a hub of opportunity for our Commonwealth and I want to congratulate all those involved in helping the project get to the finish line,” said Representative Smitty Pignatelli. “As a co-sponsor of the original $6.5 million earmark included in Governor Patrick’s life sciences bill almost 10 years ago, it’s incredible to look back on the journey this project has taken to see where we are now. I am looking forward to the city of Pittsfield and all of Berkshire County to benefit from what’s to come.”
“I am pleased to see this long-awaited project get underway,” said Representative Paul W. Mark. “Upon completion, the state-of-the-art BIC will display the economic and technological ingenuity of our region, which is incredibly important as our legislative delegation continues to search for ways to reduce the economic isolation we often face in the Berkshires.”
“Today marks the beginning of what will be the catalyst which will drive the Berkshire economy forward for many years to come,” said Representative John Barrett III.
Consigli Construction Co., Inc. is leading the construction of the custom 20,000-square-foot Berkshire Innovation Center, which is expected to be completed by winter 2019.
This past June, Governor Baker signed An Act providing continued investment in the life sciences industry in the Commonwealth to invest up to $623 million in bond authorization and tax credits over five years in education, research and development and workforce training. This legislation will serve to reinforce the Baker-Polito Administration’s commitment to ensuring Massachusetts’ leadership in the life sciences sector.
The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) is an economic development investment agency dedicated to supporting the growth and development of the life sciences in Massachusetts, home to the most verdant and productive life sciences ecosystem in the world. Through public-private funding initiatives, the MLSC supports innovation, research and development, commercialization, and manufacturing activities in the fields of biopharma, medical device, diagnostics and digital health. Since its creation in 2007, the MLSC has strategically deployed over $700 million in Massachusetts, through a combination of grants, loans, capital infrastructure investments, tax incentives and workforce programs. These investments have created thousands of jobs and propelled the development of new therapies, devices and scientific advancements that are improving patient health and well-being in Massachusetts and beyond.
Read the full article here.