The Big Reach: Will Bundy
I own a home in Easthampton and live less than two miles from Eastworks – the old, rambling mill building on Pleasant Street that is full of artists, entrepreneurs and restaurants. So, when I interviewed Will Bundy, the Eastworks owner, last November for a story for The Republican, I told him I was counting on him to increase my property value.
I wasn’t kidding. Eastworks is a collaborative community that has been part of Easthampton’s revival, and Will and his new marketing director, Kim Carlino, have the power to just keep building on the positive momentum this city has seen.
This because Will is a leader, and he has a great vision.
He lives at Eastworks with his wife and children on the fourth floor – all residential – and he runs the business from his office on the third floor. He is surrounded by the kind of collaborative community he hoped to build when he bought the building and its half million square feet of space in 1997.
He is proud of his appreciative tenants and the fact that, in 16 years, he has filled roughly 85 percent of the available space in the massive building, which is home to Apollo Grill, Riff’s and The Hideaway.
I am proud of Eastworks too. You can renew your license there, get a haircut, volunteer for a nonprofit, buy a comic book, see an exhibit, take a yoga class, visit the chiropractor, have a beer or dinner with a friend and on and on.
Will’s early career roots were in the arts. He became interested in Eastworks after dabbling in furniture design at the Arts and Industry community in Florence, and the concept captured his attention. He bought Eastworks with a partner in 1997 for $650,000 and now owns it solely with his wife, Paula.
To ramp up their efforts in developing their hub, the Bundys recently hired Kim Carlino as Eastworks’ marketing director. An artist transplant from New York City, Carlino met them through a summer camp that both of their children attended.
Kim is a painter. She has energy and enthusiasm. She is plugged into the arts community, and she is excited about telling Eastworks’ stories.
The Eastworks building was developed by the West Boylston Manufacturing Co. at the end of the 19th century, and it extended from the current Eastworks building all the way to Ferry Street.
Over the years, it fractured into separate structures – some of which no longer exist – and it housed various manufacturing entities. Bundy bought the building from Stanley Home Products.
Will has focused on replacing infrastructure – such as the heating system – as well as on building his tenant base and building community. He has 72 residential tenants in 46 units on the fourth floor, and, of the 128 nonresidential spaces, from the basement to the third floor, 107 are occupied.
Some of his best tenants were great surprises, such as Gary Dolgoff, a collector and seller of comics. And a half dozen nonprofits with a regional and, in some cases, national reach.
Will and Kim talk about creating an event space in Eastworks that would be akin to Northampton’s APE Gallery. I am very excited about such a concept.
Bring on those amazing possibilities – and that increased property value.
Kim and Will, thank you and keep reaching!
To learn more about Eastworks, visit http://eastworks.com/site/.