Mill Town to acquire Berkshire West Athletic Club and the former Lakeside Christian Camp; plans to expand

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PITTSFIELD, MA – Mill Town announced that it has acquired the former Lakeside Christian Camp, a 135-acre property located on Richmond Pond in Pittsfield. Additionally, Mill Town has an agreement in place to acquire the Berkshire West Athletic Club nearby on Dan Fox Drive in Pittsfield, across from Bousquet Mountain.

This transaction is scheduled to close prior to the end of 2020. In addition to these two properties, Mill Town also owns and operates Bousquet Mountain, which plans to re-open for business this month.

The three properties are in close proximity to one another and offer a diversity of year-round features and amenities that include outdoor recreation, indoor athletics training, water sports, and lodging. Mill Town plans to bring these new assets under the umbrella of the “Bousquet” brand.

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“We’re excited to add these two significant properties to our portfolio of key regional assets. Outdoor recreation is a critical differentiator for Pittsfield and the Berkshires, and we plan to cohesively connect The Camp and Berkshire West with Bousquet Mountain to create a high quality and diverse recreational experience. This will increase and improve options for local customers and will help draw new outdoor enthusiasts to the area,” said Mill Town CEO Tim Burke.

Mill Town purchased the historic Bousquet Mountain ski area in May of 2020. The purchase included 155 acres across four parcels, including the summit of Yokun Ridge and 22 trails. Mill Town has completed an extensive renovation of the ski operation infrastructure on the mountain and has future plans to enhance the base area experience for year-round use. Adding these two new properties to the Bousquet umbrella creates nearly 300 acres of recreational offerings for the community.

The former Lakeside Christian Camp is a 135-acre parcel with 27 structures and 5 acres of frontage on Richmond Pond. The camp ceased operations in early 2020. Mill Town plans to utilize the property for a variety of concepts in 2021 while master planning for the site is completed. The property will be conducive to hiking, biking, kayaking and canoeing, along with providing infrastructure for lodging, events, and a variety of programming. Located just four minutes from Bousquet Mountain, the property will now be known as “The Camp by Bousquet.”

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“Over the past three years, we have been focused on understanding the landscape of outdoor recreation across the Berkshires – evaluating strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities to improve that will help elevate our region as a leader in the outdoor community at a national level,” notes Carrie Holland, a Mill Town Managing Director. “The Camp’s cabins and lodges, expansive waterfront, and strategic location add exciting possibilities for outdoor-themed lodging, accessible water recreation, and broader trail connections,” she added.

Earlier this year, in conjunction with the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC), Mill Town released an extensive Berkshire County Outdoor Recreation Plan. The plan outlines the existing outdoor recreation landscape of the Berkshires as well as recommendations for growth in key areas.  In response to Mill Town’s announcement of The Camp acquisition, Laura Brennan, a BRPC Senior Planner and lead author of the plan, reinforced the benefit this strategy will have on growing Berkshire County outdoor recreation offerings.  “Mill Town’s investment in the camp property speaks directly to the findings of our outdoor recreation research. Rustic lodging experiences are sought after among visitors to our region as interest in multi-day outdoor excursions grows. Expanding water access as part of a full range of activities associated with Bousquet will encourage repeat visits in all seasons,” Brennan noted.

Berkshire West Athletic Club is a multi-purpose, 40,000 square foot facility located on 13 acres across the street from Bousquet Mountain in Pittsfield. With 5 indoor tennis courts and a covered pool, the facility offers tennis, fitness, a golf simulator, yoga, and water classes. The business will be re-branded as “Bousquet Sport” and will continue to offer racquet and fitness options via membership programs. Over time, Mill Town expects to offer additional programming and amenities in connection with Bousquet Mountain, including food & beverage, classes, extended trail connections, and retail space.

“Thinking of the three properties as a linked hub highlights the Bousquet area as a year-round destination serving a wide array of interests,” Holland said. “Guests will have options to sleep, dine, and get outside in one connected area.” Mill Town expects to maintain year-round programming across the three-property campus with winter offerings including downhill skiing, snowboarding, tubing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and ice sports at Bousquet Mountain and The Camp. Summer activities will focus on hiking, mountain biking, paddle sports, swimming, and other water activities across Bousquet Mountain and The Camp. Indoor racquet sports and fitness offerings will continue at Bousquet Sport.  “These properties tie together mountains, water, fields, and trails. With the supporting infrastructure we have a strong foundation to grow new programs and offerings in the future,” Holland noted.

Brennan tied Mill Town’s development plans across the three sites as a boon for other Berkshire County outdoor recreation stakeholders and supporting economies across the retail, hospitality, and culinary sectors. Predicting increased traction for outdoor-focused visitors, Brennan noted, “The addition of The Camp and Bousquet Sport to Mill Town’s work at Bousquet Mountain goes well beyond what we could have predicted at the onset of our Outdoor Recreation Plan research.  This comprehensive, interconnected approach is going to be a game changer for multi-season, repeat visits from outdoor recreation enthusiasts to the Berkshires.”

Outdoor recreation initiatives have become a larger part of Mill Town’s mission to enhance the quality of life in the Berkshires. In addition to the plan, Mill Town has also partnered with the City of Pittsfield and Greenagers to rehabilitate and program the trail networks at Springside Park in Pittsfield; supported the Berkshire Natural Resources Council “High Road” and Berkshire Trails App projects; provided funding for the completion of the county’s first public turf sports field at Berkshire Community College; launched the Berkshire County Outdoor Recreation Summit collaborative; produced several trail running races and cycling events; initiated three trail-building connection projects in Central Berkshire County; and has announced a 2021 launch of the Berkshire Outdoor Festival (postponed from 2020 due to COVID-19).