Alternative investment association taking over AmherstWorks space

  • AmherstWorks, a cooperative work space, is located in a former 1920s bank building at the corner of Amity and North Pleasant Street in Amherst. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

  • Amherst writer Carl Vigeland works at a table in the “flex floor” area of AmherstWorks, a cooperative work space on Amity Street in Amherst on Feb. 12, 2018. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 10/20/2021 1:52:38 PM

AMHERST — An international organization dedicated to advocating for the highest ethical standards in the alternative investment industry, founded in Amherst in 2002, will be moving its headquarters to a historic downtown building later this year following the closure of the AmherstWorks co-working space.

The CAIA Association — short for Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst Association — will take over the 4,000 square feet of space in a 1920s-era bank at 11 Amity St., where AmherstWorks has been located for the past five years.

“We’re excited to be calling the First National Bank home,” said Ruth Carolan, CAIA’s chief operating officer. “This will be a chance to be more connected to the local community.”

Carolan said CAIA will be leaving its current home at 100 University Drive, where it has been located since 2009, beginning Dec. 1, with the move to be completed by Jan. 1. This will be its third Amherst location, after previously outgrowing 29 South Pleasant St., also in the town center. CAIA came into being with assistance from the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts.

The collaborative, open design inside the downtown site will be the perfect space for CAIA’s hybrid work models, Carolan said. CAIA has 50 employees around the world, with other locations in Geneva, Mumbai and Hong Kong, but about half the workforce is based in western Massachusetts.

CAIA, whose mission is to “improve investment and societal outcomes of capital allocation through professional education, transparency and thought leadership across all investor alternatives in our industry,” has 30 local chapters that host more than 200 events annually.

Meanwhile, an email was sent to AmherstWorks members and others this week alerting them to the pending closure on Nov. 30.

“AmherstWorks is proud of the impact that our community has had on the Amherst community. Through networking, team building, and community events, it has been our pleasure to meet and learn from you all, to watch everyone help each other prosper and grow over these five amazing years,” the email reads.

AmherstWorks formed as a partnership between building owner Barry Roberts and Archipelago Investments LLC principals Kyle Wilson and David Williams, who have developed several mixed-use projects in Amherst, including One East Pleasant, Kendrick Place and Boltwood Place.

Roberts said Tuesday that he didn’t have details about AmherstWorks’ membership numbers, but that it was his decision to seek out a new tenant.

“I chose not to renew AmherstWorks,” Roberts said. “The space is re-leased again, to CAIA.”

Amherst Business Improvement District Executive Director Gabrielle Gould wrote in an email that while it’s sad to see AmherstWorks close, she understands the pandemic has changed the business landscape. But the new tenant, Gould said, will be a component in the downtown’s success.

“If all goes well Amherst will see nary an empty window and will be returning post-COVID stronger than ever with new culinary and retail experiences,” Gould wrote.

AmherstWorks’ message also notes its members’ accomplishments: “We’re pleased to have elongated and make sure this building will still be a part of the wonderful downtown facade. We want to wish the new tenants the best of luck and to enjoy this wonderful building.”

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.


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