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    1. Economic development bill passes the legislature, setting the stage for Aug. 16-17 sales tax holiday

      Economic development bill passes the legislature, setting the stage for Aug. 16-17 sales tax holiday

      A bill that invests more than $80 million to spur economic development and sets a sales tax holiday for Aug. 16-17 will head to Gov. Deval Patrick's desk for his signature, after late-night passage by the state legislature.  The bill, H. 4377, was released from a committee of conference Wednesday night. It passed the House late Thursday, in a 144 to nine vote, and the Senate unanimously after midnight.
      Some of the biggest investments include $10 million to redevelop environmentally damaged areas; $15 million to fund residential, commercial, institutional or industrial projects in Gateway Cities, which are economically troubled ...

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    2. Basketball Hall of Fame prepares to induct 10 new members in 2014 enshrinement

      Basketball Hall of Fame prepares to induct 10 new members in 2014 enshrinement

      The Basketball Hall of Fame has always made it a point of pride to celebrate individuals in different areas of the game – to be more than an NBA hall of fame – but this year’s class brings together a especially diverse group geographically as well. NBA icons Mitch Richmond and Alonzo Mourning starred on opposite coasts in their professional careers, as Richmond made a name for himself in the Bay Area and Sacramento while Mourning dominated the paint in Charlotte and Miami.

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    3. North Adams Regional Hospital sale to Berkshire Medical Center approved

      North Adams Regional Hospital sale to Berkshire Medical Center approved

      A federal bankruptcy judge on Thursday approved Berkshire Medical Center's purchase of the former North Adams Regional Hospital, clearing the way for the possible restoration of health care services for northern Berkshire County. Berkshire Health Systems, parent of Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield, will buy the former hospital and a ground lease for a nearby medical building for $4 million. The sale is now expected to close sometime in August. There were no other bidders for the real estate despite the bankruptcy trustee charged with getting as much cash as possible for creditors having marketed the property.

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      Mentions: Springfield
    4. Longmeadow Shops proposes expansion; 1 Select Board member responds with residents' complaints

      Longmeadow Shops proposes expansion; 1 Select Board member responds with residents' complaints

      A plan to expand the Longmeadow Shops retail center, located at 704 Bliss Road, was presented to the Longmeadow Select Board at its July 21 meeting.  Matthew Wittmer, an architect with Phase Zero Design Inc., came before the board to represent Grove Property Fund, the corporation that owns and rents out the shopping center.  He envisioned several new shops 'of the same quality and caliber of Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware,' being added to the retail opportunities already available to local residents, as well as the installation of a CVS drive-thru and 48 new parking spaces to improve the flow ...

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    5. New owner buys Morgan Square Apartments in downtown Springfield and pledges improvements

      New owner buys Morgan Square Apartments in downtown Springfield and pledges improvements

      The SilverBrick Group LLC has purchased the Morgan Square Apartments in downtown Springfield, pledging to “bring new life” to the property. The SilverBrick Group purchased the 280-unit complex at 156 Taylor St., and plans to rename it “SilverBrick Lofts – Springfield,” along with some renovations. The complex was purchased from an entity controlled by the Lone Star Fund, based in Dallas, Texas, with the price not immediately disclosed.

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    6. Chicopee, Holyoke, Westfield, South Hadley electric companies receive state grants to improve energy efficiency

      Chicopee, Holyoke, Westfield, South Hadley electric companies receive state grants to improve energy efficiency

      Four Western Massachusetts communities will replace streetlights with more energy-efficient bulbs and help commercial and industrial businesses and homeowners make their buildings more energy efficient, thanks to a state grant. This month, a total of $1.8 million was distributed to 14 municipal electric companies across the state through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative run through the state Department of Energy resources. The grants are designed to increase energy efficiency in a variety of different ways.

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    7. UMass to save energy costs thanks to new solar array on Whately Farm

      UMass to save energy costs thanks to new solar array on Whately Farm

      A solar project coming on-line on a farm here Thursday will save the University of Massachusetts between $60,000 and $75,000 a year in electric costs as well as help the farmer leasing his land and the town. Nexamp built the solar project on Fairview Farms and is celebrating the opening Thursday with local and UMass officials. Nexamp, which has an office in Boston, met the Sandersons in 2011 following an event Nexamp held to talk about the benefits of solar for farmers, according to Laureen Sanderson, a Nexamp a spokeswoman said in an email. The project broke ground ...

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    8. Vision Quest | BusinessWest

      Vision Quest | BusinessWest

      This would be a comprehensive conversion of the former Country Squire Furniture Shop on Main Street in Agawam into a home for a host of small, and complementary, businesses — a project that is far from complete, but has advanced to the point where Gourde feels comfortable spending much more time at Cooper’s, which is located directly behind the landmark named after Ensign Thomas Cooper, the Civil War naval hero who once lived there.  Only a few small spaces in the 14,000-square-foot building on Main Street in Agawam are not occupied, and plans are emerging for those rooms as ...

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    9. Yankee Candle names Hope Margala new CEO | masslive

      Yankee Candle names Hope Margala new CEO | masslive

      Yankee Candle owners Jarden Corp. has named Hope Margala as president and CEO, replacing Harlen M. Kent who had been at the helm since 2009.  Jarden Corp. bought Yankee a year ago in September 2013 for $1.75 billion. Jarden is a diversified consumer products company owning brands including Mr. Coffee and Crock-Pot, outdoor and camping Coleman and Stren and Trilene fishing line, Rawlings baseball and softball equipment, Diamond matches, Ball canning jars, Quickie mops, brooms and dustpans and the Hoyle, Bicycle and Bee brands of playing cards.

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    10. Westfield sees increase in small business openings

      Westfield sees increase in small business openings

      Since June 30, a total of four new small businesses have opened their doors. City officials attribute the recent business boom to a combined effort to promote the city as "business friendly." "Some is just happening on its own, but there has also been a combined effort on behalf of the city, Chamber of Commerce and (former) Westfield Business Improvement District to promote the city as business friendly," said Westfield Advancement Officer Joseph Mitchell.

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    11. Consultants hired by Amherst-UMass town-gown committee to present preliminary findings Aug. 5

      Consultants hired by Amherst-UMass town-gown committee to present preliminary findings Aug. 5

      George Smith, vice president of U3 Advisors, said the goal is “to recommend the strategies, interventions, and processes for UMass and Amherst to collaborate to create a stable balance in housing and economic growth that allows both the university and town to prosper.”

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    12. Promising Venture | BusinessWest

      Promising Venture | BusinessWest

      In addition, MassMutual will invest more than $1.5 million over the next three years in a startup accelerator managed by Valley Venture Mentors (VVM), an entrepreneur-mentoring network based in Springfield. The first class of the accelerator will feature 30 startups to be selected through a competitive application process later this summer. DevelopSpringfield, a nonprofit dedicated to revitalizing the city, has been tasked with building out the physical location for the accelerator in the Tower Square building downtown.  “We’re building off a mentorship program that we’ve been running now for three and a half years,” said Scott Foster ...

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    13. Drawing on Experience | BusinessWest

      Drawing on Experience | BusinessWest

      Raf Anzovin, president of Northampton-based Anzovin Studio, has discovered that success in the animation industry comes to those who push their businesses to the edge — the cutting edge of technology.  Dedicated to supplying an array of services to clients while regularly improving the tools with which they create their products, the Anzovin Studio staff has mastered an ingenious two-pronged approach. Even when business is thriving, the company challenges itself to refine its practices and streamline its productivity, which serves to benefit both artists and clients.

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      Mentions: Northampton
    14. Massachusetts Life Sciences Center solicits for capital projects | masslive.com

      Massachusetts Life Sciences Center solicits for capital projects | masslive.com

      “The Life Sciences Center has invested or committed over $370 million, literally from Cape Cod to the Berkshires, in support of life sciences capital projects,” said Susan Windham-Bannister, Ph.D., President & CEO of the MLSC. “Through these investments we are creating unique resources to strengthen our life sciences ecosystem, expand our workforce, create new jobs and cement Massachusetts' position as the global leader in life sciences. We look forward to receiving additional innovative proposals through this year's solicitation.”

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    15. Winifred Sandler Grinspoon to head Harold Grinspoon Foundation

      Winifred Sandler Grinspoon to head Harold Grinspoon Foundation

      The foundation founded by Grinspoon and his wife Diane Troderman, in 1993, established and funds the popular PJ LIbrary program. The program provides free Jewish content books and CDs to children, six months to eight years of age, being raised on Jewish values by their family. Locally, it is under the auspices of the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts. The foundation, through its partners, has distributed more than 10 million books to children in this country, Israel, Mexico and elsewhere.

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      Mentions: The Republican
    16. Holyoke Gas and Electric Manager James Lavelle said region needs more

      Holyoke Gas and Electric Manager James Lavelle said region needs more

      The proposed and controversial expansion of the Tennessee Gas Pipeline possibly through Franklin County might not be a bad idea, said the head of the Holyoke Gas and Electric Department. The Northeast needs additional natural gas pipeline capacity, said James M. Lavelle, manager of the Holyoke Gas and Electric Department (HGE).

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    17. Maura McCaffrey, new Health New England president and CEO, sees growing business | masslive

      Maura McCaffrey, new Health New England president and CEO, sees growing business | masslive

      Health New England, the Springfield-based health insurer, is moving forward .  The company, which has $550 million in revenue, has plans to expand into Worcester County, a planned expansion in Connecticut and innovative programs like 'Hospital at Home,' which could let some patients be monitored from home instead staying in the hospital.

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    18. UMass student farmers celebrate growing collaboration with Big Y World Class Market

      UMass student farmers celebrate growing collaboration with Big Y World Class Market

      On Friday morning, a handful of University of Massachusetts student farmers dressed in dusty shorts and T-shirts, were busy harvesting yellow squash, zucchini and eggplants that would soon be on the shelves of two Big Y World Class Market stores. This is the first summer the students from the UMass Student Farm have been supplying summer crops to the Springfield-based chain. In the past two years, they sold fall crops there, said farm manager Amanda Brown. But the partnership with Big Y has grown and both hope it will continue to flourish.

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    19. Many Tennessee Gas Pipeline questions still up in the air after Greenfield meeting with Kinder Morgan representatives

      Many Tennessee Gas Pipeline questions still up in the air after Greenfield meeting with Kinder Morgan representatives

      Four representatives fielded questions during a joint meeting of the Franklin County Regional Council of Governments and the Franklin Regional Planning Board. The representatives discussed process specifics and reasons behind the proposed expansion to the Tennessee Gas Pipeline, which would cut about 180 miles across the state through northern Massachusetts, not including lateral lines. Spokesman Allen Fore said the route is not yet set in stone, and he called it a survey corridor rather than a proposed route. “Not a single permit has been filed,” he said. When asked why Kinder Morgan doesn’t build the pipeline along an existing ...

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    20. Greenfield uses power-buying plan to help Kennametal expand

      Greenfield uses power-buying plan to help Kennametal expand

      The electricity that Greenfield hopes to soon buy in bulk and resell at a discount to residents and businesses helped give  the city the power to land the Kennametal expansion. "Obviously the cost of energy is one of the biggest impediments in trying to attract manufacturers to New England,"  said Robert Pyers, director of economic development for Greenfield. This week,  Kennametal has announced that it will expand its operations here, adding 70 new jobs and $4.65  million worth  in private investment including $3.4 million in equipment and renovations to its plant at 34 Sanderson St. here.

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    21. West Springfield receives $900,000 federal funding for neighborhood improvements

      West Springfield receives $900,000 federal funding for neighborhood improvements

      The town's Community Development Department has received $900,000 from federal Community Development Block Grant funding that will be used for sidewalk replacement in the Memorial Avenue neighborhood and housing rehabilitation assistance for 13 resident housing units. Gov. Deval L. Patrick announced last week that 54 cities and towns throughout the Commonwealth will receive funding from a total of $27.5 million in federal CDBG money. “These are very important dollars to the enhancement of quality of life in West Springfield,” said Mayor Edward C. Sullivan.

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    22. Grantham Group of Boston selected to develop assisted living component of

      Grantham Group of Boston selected to develop assisted living component of

      Boston's Grantham Group LLC has been selected to develop an 83-unit assisted living complex on land once part of the Belchertown State School. The Belchertown Economic Development and Industrial Corporation and MassDevelopment announced the selection of Grantham on Thursday. Grantham Group also developed the $13.4 million, 50,000-square-foot Christopher Heights of Northampton Project in the Village Hill neighborhood of Northampton. Village Hill, once part of the old Northampton State Hospital, is owned by MassDevelopment, the state's finance and development agency.

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    23. MassMutual establishes $100M venture fund to back tech startups

      MassMutual establishes $100M venture fund to back tech startups

      Springfield-based MassMutual announced Thursday that it has formed MassMutual Ventures, a $100 million corporate venture capital firm focused on backing startups and businesses whose technologies could transform core insurance, retirement and asset-management industries. The new fund is managed by Doug Russell, MassMutual’s senior vice president, strategy and corporate development; Eric Emmons, who joined the firm after serving as the head of Siemens Venture Capital North America for the past five years; and Mark Goodman, who founded and managed two technology focused venture capital funds, Terawatt Ventures and Brookline Ventures. The new firm will manage its worldwide investments from its ...

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