Westfield – On Tuesday afternoon, Westfield Mayor Brian P. Sullivan, City Advancement Officer Joe Mitchell and Crist Myers, president and CEO, of Myers Information Systems (myersinfosys.com) announced that the software company has purchased 110 Elm Street (formerly Stella’s Taproom and Grille). Currently located in Northampton, Myers Information Systems has been providing industry leading broadcast and management facilities to commercial, non-commercial, TV, radio, and online platforms since 1988. Myers said following extensive renovations to the building, they expect to move in the first quarter of 2019.
“We’re growing as a company,” said Myers, who said they have 20 Massachusetts based employees, plus some out of state employees, contractors and consultants with whom they work. He said they plan to put “a pretty sizable investment, well into hundreds of thousands” into the 1880 building, purchased on June 1 for $375,000. Myers said he’s hoping for a smooth transition, and to create a bright environment and culture to attract and retain the best talent in the area.
Outgrowing their current location on Hawley Street in Northampton, Myers, who lives in Longmeadow, said they looked in several area cities for a downtown building to purchase. He said while they were exploring, Mitchell and Mayor Sullivan invited them in. He said they did a “nice job” explaining the advantages of investing in Westfield, and got a strong sense of how interested they were in finding companies like theirs.
“I enjoyed the experience,” Myers said about the meeting, adding that other communities were not as proactive in reaching out.
Mayor Sullivan said what struck him about Myers was how important his employees are to him. He said they spoke about the bike trail, being downtown and able to walk to restaurants and for coffees. “It was right up our alley. We want businesses coming here and staying here. This is a part of what we’re trying to accomplish,” Sullivan said, adding that any economic development that is low impact on the environment is a good return for Westfield.
“This is the steady foot traffic that we’re looking for,” added City Council President John J. Beltrandi, III.
Myers said another draw to Westfield is its logistical convenience to the Route 91 corridor, which is helpful for his customers all over the U.S. His employees are also spread out over the region, from Ware to Worthington. He called Westfield the “sweet spot.”
High-speed internet from Whip City Fiber, which he said his employees were “drooling over,” was another draw for the high-tech company. “The media marketplace is rapidly evolving; it’s very competitive, fast moving, high tech,” he said.
Myers Information Systems’ largest customer base is Public Broadcasting Systems, serving 173 PBS members stations across the country, 98% of the marketplace. Other customers include faith-based and education institutions, as well as the Department of Justice and the United State Veterans Administration. Myers said their company, which is private, helps to manage and run platforms from a broadcast perspective. He called their work, “behind the scenes, ones and zeros, very boring.”
Myers, who is a member of the Northampton Chamber of Commerce, also said he is interested in connecting with the university and other media in partnerships and collaborations. “Anyone interested in getting into this field,” he said.
As an incentive, Sullivan is asking the City Council to approve an STA (Special Tax Agreement) to forgive a portion of the tax on the building over six years; forgiving 100% of property tax the first year, and 75% years 2-6, for a total of $39,000 in tax forgiveness. The request is on Thursday’s (June 20) City Council agenda.
“By engaging in an STA, the City of Westfield is partnering with Myers Information Services by exempting certain taxes the first couple of years, to allow Crist Myers to invest in the building,” Sullivan said.
Mitchell said when they first started meeting with Myers Information Systems nine months ago; they were looking at another building. He said Myers found the property at 110 Elm Street. “We were looking for between 6,000 to 7,500 square feet; this is 6,800 square feet. It will be my job to make the space work,” Myers said, adding that their goal will be to make it a very modern, collaborative work environment, “with cool spaces to hang out.”
“The exemption is going to allow us to put more money in the building,” he added.
Sullivan said the city is currently preparing to send out an RFP (Request for Proposal) for the multi-use building on the next block which they have envisioned to complete the Elm Street Redevelopment.
“Having companies like this all around attracts business. This is exactly what (Housing and Economic Development Secretary) Jay Ash said, these are the types of companies coming in throughout the Commonwealth,” Sullivan said, adding, “It’s always nice to get one across the finish line.”