Baker-Polito Administration Awards $1.8 Million for Site Development Readiness
14 awards aim to increase shovel-ready sites for local development goals
ORANGE – The Baker-Polito Administration today awarded $1.8 million for the inaugural round of the Site Readiness Fund Program, enacted within the administration’s 2016 Economic Development Bill authorizing a $15 million to provide vital resources to municipalities, developers, and community development corporations to increase the inventory of development-ready sites across the Commonwealth.
“The Commonwealth continues to be a competitive place to do business, and this program supports local goals that drive growth and job creation,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We are pleased this funding will increase the resources available for municipalities and their partners to attract investment and job growth in communities across Massachusetts.”
Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito joined Orange Town Planner Kevin Kennedy to announce the awards in Orange, which is receiving a Site Readiness grant to engage a planning and engineering team to assess the development potential of 432 acres of vacant and underused land near Exit 15 off Route 2.
“These grants will provide Massachusetts’ cities and towns the resources and tools to move their economic development goals forward,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “We are pleased to make these inaugural awards to support local efforts to increase housing, eliminate blight, revitalize urban settings and create jobs.”
“Putting what resources we can into converting project-ready sites for new and existing Massachusetts companies makes great sense,” said Senate President Stan Rosenberg. “Our economy, and our people, are depending on it.”
The Site Readiness Fund Program aims to boost the Commonwealth’s inventory of large, well-located, project-ready sites; accelerate private-sector investment in industrial and commercial projects; and support conversion of abandoned sites and obsolete facilities into clean, actively-used, tax-generating properties. MassDevelopment administers the program on behalf of the Commonwealth, and 14 grants were issued in this first year to 11 communities across the state and one entity representing Metro Boston.
“The Site Readiness Fund Program jump-starts economic development by triggering the first step in the process,” said Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Jay Ash. “Having sites ready for development when businesses, restaurants and retailers come calling is essential to job creation and the revitalization of communities.”
“The Site Readiness Fund will allow the Commonwealth to support economic-development projects with strategic consulting and technical assistance,” said MassDevelopment Executive Vice President for Real Estate Richard Henderson. “Thanks to the Baker-Polito Administration and the Legislature for creating this transformative tool that will promote business growth and job creation at underused sites.”
Site Readiness Program Grant Awards:
Bigelow Spinning Mills Redevelopment Study, Clinton - $50,000
Bigelow Spinning Mills is a 265,000-square-foot mill complex in downtown Clinton. Site Readiness Funds will allow for a redevelopment study focused on tenanting the properties with employment-intensive uses.
Airport Road Sand Pit Redevelopment Study, Fitchburg - $40,000
The City of Fitchburg will use funds for an environmental assessment, constraints plan, and multiple site concept plans for this 41-acre plot currently used for sand storage and yard waste disposal.
Airport Road Industrial Corridor Modernization, Fitchburg - $250,000
Grant funding will bring broadband into an underused industrial corridor in Fitchburg, increasing the competitiveness of the corridor’s current tenants, and readying underused parcels for future development opportunities. Grant funds will also bring broadband to Fitchburg’s Main Street, providing critical infrastructure for all forms of economic development. Broadband connection will be available throughout the City of Fitchburg upon the completion of this project.
Acquisition of 50 and 52 Parker Street, Gardner - $400,000
The City of Gardner will acquire two adjoining buildings located at 50 and 52 Parker St. in downtown Gardner. The purchase will enable the City and its Redevelopment Authority to reposition the underused and neglected buildings for new redevelopment opportunities and support the revitalization of Gardner’s downtown.
Whiting Farms Road Parcel Master Plan, Holyoke - $40,000
The Holyoke Economic Development and Industrial Corporation will use funding for engineering studies to address access, utility connections, and site grading at this undeveloped 11-acre parcel of land.
Jungle Road Master Plan, Leominster - $100,000
Funds will allow the City of Leominster to create a master plan for this largely vacant site that is relatively level, zoned for industrial use, and immediately adjacent to the intersection of Route 190 and Route 117.
Municipal Golf Course Redevelopment, New Bedford - $300,000
Funds will allow for the redevelopment of 100 acres of a municipally-owned golf course in New Bedford for industrial uses. The site offers excellent highway access and will undergo environmental and geotechnical investigations in the first phase of the project.
Greylock Works Market Assessment and Outreach Strategy, North Adams - $95,000
Greylock WORKS is a multi-phase redevelopment project of a 240,000-square-foot former cotton mill. The grant will provide for a targeted market assessment, tenant outreach strategy, capital plan and implementation plan for the site.
Exit 15 Strategic Plan, Orange - $40,000
Funds will allow for a planning/engineering team to assess the development potential of 432 acres of vacant and underused land near Exit 15 off Route 2. The consultant will make a recommendation for a priority site or sites that should be advanced in the future to assist with future site readiness.
40’s Site Sub-Slab Environmental Assessment, Pittsfield - $75,000
This grant will help the City of Pittsfield and the Pittsfield Economic Development Agency gain a better understanding of on-site conditions through a subsurface investigation and engineering review at this seven-acre site within the William Stanley Business Park.
Turnpike Industrial Park Expansion Plan, Westfield - $300,000
Funding will allow the City of Westfield to pursue predevelopment work of this 66.3-acre, industrially-zoned site that was previously a landfill and is located adjacent to the existing Turnpike Industrial Park.
Business Park Infrastructure Analysis, Westminster - $25,000
Simplex Drive Infrastructure Analysis, Westminster - $25,000
Simplex Drive is an undeveloped privately-owned site. Westminster Business Park is a sand-and-gravel, privately-owned operation with rail access. The Town will use funds to undertake an assessment of available infrastructure capacity versus industry requirements at these sites.
495/MetroWest Partnership, Identification of Industrial Sites - $50,000
This grant will update the 2012 495/MetroWest Development Compact Plan, a regional planning exercise to identify areas for development. The Partnership will produce a pipeline of potential industrial sites by eliminating areas that have been developed since the 2012 planning exercise and determining which Priority Development Areas are most appropriate for future industrial development.
MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, financial institutions, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2016, MassDevelopment financed or managed 352 projects generating investment of more than $4 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are projected to create about 8,200 jobs and build or rehabilitate about 4,200 residential units.