The Mill Revitalization District
Case Study

Clock Tower Place, Maynard, MA.
The emblematic clock tower serves as a community landmark
Source: Clock Tower Place
Clock Tower Place
Maynard, MA

Maynard, Massachusetts is a small town, 5.7 square miles with a population of 10,000 residents, located approximately 25 miles west of Boston. It is surrounded by several of New England's historic towns including Acton, Concord, Stow, and Sudbury. While its neighbors are most commonly described by such terms as rooted, Yankee, historic, quintessential New England, and affluent Maynard could be described as new, industrial, immigrant and working class. In short, Maynard exhibits many of the attributes of a typical New Englands mill town.

Front facade of Five Clock Tower Place.
Front facade of Five Clock Tower Place
Source: Clock Tower Place

Beginning in the 1840s through to the present, the town's economic base has been dominated by what is today a 40-acre, 1.1 million square feet complex of thirteen red brick mill buildings. From carpets made in the 1840s to the blankets for Union soldiers during the Civil War to flannels in the 1920s, plastics in the 1950s, and computers in the 1980s and 1990s, the complex (always locally referred to as "the mill") has consistently served as a center for the production of goods and provision of services. However, the town found itself in crisis with a non-operating mill in 1998.

In 1998, the mill was sold to a corporation called the Wellesley/Rosewood Maynard Mills L.P (or WRP). The partners of WRP had experience in adaptive reuse projects and were confident they could fill the mill buildings with software, office, and manufacturing tenants within a few years. WRP secured phased funding from Japan's Namura Bank, marketed the complex as The Clock Tower Place, named after a huge clock tower atop one of the mill buildings, and used creative and unique methods to attract the interest of realtors and prospective tenants. Mainly, WRP used Tax Increment Financing (TIF) agreements to help finance improvements to the buildings. As a result, between January 1998 and July 2000, it leased approximately one million square feet that was occupied by 85 different companies.

New additions - designed to fit surrounding aesthetics.
New additions were designed to fit surrounding aesthetics
Source: Clock Tower Place

Some inherent advantages with the mill buildings were that they were in relatively good shape, fiber-optically connected, and the complex had no environmental issues. As a result of the TIF agreement and through physically revitalizing the buildings so that they were "different and funky" from the inside, the Town got its economic center back in the form of a revitalized mill district. Between 1,500 to 2,000 people work in the Mill today.