PATRICK-MURRAY ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCES $13 MILLION GRANT TO CONTINUE DOWNTOWN REVITALIZATION IN LOWELL
Support for residential development latest in significant administration investments in Lowell
"We are creating opportunity here in Lowell and in communities across our Commonwealth," said Governor Deval Patrick. "The jobs, housing and infrastructure that are all a part of this partnership will help bring recovery to the people of Lowell."
"Today's groundbreaking for Appleton Mills is a critical step forward in the development of the Hamilton Canal district and for job creation, economic development, and the continued growth of Lowell," said Congresswoman Niki Tsongas. "It is also an excellent example of federal, state, and local partners working together to advance the quality of life for city residents. I want to thank Governor Patrick for his commitment to economic growth in Lowell and to all of the members of the Lowell delegation for their hard work in continuing to advance this project."
Lowell's 50-acre Hamilton Canal area was originally designated as a Growth District in September 2008, and the Administration allocated $3.5 million in grant funds, enabling the state to make targeted projects "development ready" and expedite commercial and residential development in the area. This new $13 million investment will aid in the creation of 130 new affordable live/work spaces geared toward attracting artists and spurring a creative economy in downtown Lowell. The units will be created through the renovation and restoration of Appleton Mills over the next 18 months by developer Trinity Financial. The $64 million project is collaboratively supported by the Commonwealth's Growth District Grant initiative which includes $42 million in private equity provided by MetLife, Inc, a permanent mortgage of $1.6 million from MassHousing, and a $34 million construction loan from Mass Housing.
This is the first project to complete the Patrick-Murray Administration's new Integrated MEPA/Permitting Review process, also referred to as "super MEPA." Through that process, state permitting agencies committed significant resources to performing an inter-agency, coordinated and streamlined environmental review process that allowed for environmental review and permitting to take place simultaneously, thereby significantly reducing the overall time required for project permitting. This pilot program is one of the administration's many permit streamlining efforts and this project has demonstrated how successful those efforts can be in facilitating efficient and predictable permitting while maintaining Massachusetts' high environmental standards.
"This has been an exciting, complex project that would not have been possible without the support of the Patrick Administration, the State Delegation, the City of Lowell, and our investors," said Abby Goldenfarb, Trinity Financial. "We look forward to completing this important first phase of the revitalization of the Hamilton Canal District."
When complete, the Hamilton Canal District Plan will boast 1.9 million square feet of mixed-used, transit-oriented development, including approximately eleven new energy efficient LEED-certifiable buildings and four historic rehabilitations. The total development will comprise up to 725 units of housing, up to 55,000 square feet of retail, and up to 425,000 square feet of commercial/office space, including the potential for a 450-seat community-based professional theatre. The Massachusetts Department of Capital Asset Management will also be constructing a new $175 million Lowell Trial Court on a portion of the site. The complete build out of the development is expected to take approximately ten years to complete.
"The Appleton Mill renovation is the catalyst for the successful reinvention of the Hamilton Canal District and it would not be possible but for this GDI grant and the support of Governor Patrick. Thanks to the administration's commitment to economic development and the City of Lowell, we are poised to transform this entire area of the city. For that, we should all be extremely grateful to the Governor for his understanding of the economic struggles that midsized cities throughout the Commonwealth face and his willingness to invest in those areas," said Senator Steven Panagiotakos.
"Governor Patrick understands the difficult economic times and this infusion of money is exactly what our community needs," said Representative Thomas Golden.
"Every major development in Lowell has the backing of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts," said Representative Kevin Murphy. "The most recent funding of the Appleton Mills complex is an example of the Commonwealth's commitment to Lowell."
"The success of Hamilton Canal is key to the economic vitality of the City of Lowell and I want to thank the Governor for all of his support on this project and for his support of the City overall," said Representative Dave Nangle.
"The restoration of the Appleton Mills into 130 units of affordable artist housing will be an exciting step forward for Lowell's growing creative economy sector. Even more importantly however, the restoration of this mill complex will dramatically improve the gateway into Downtown Lowell and unlock the full potential of the Hamilton Canal District to attract $600-800 million in private investment and create over 1000 new permanent jobs in a transit-oriented site in the heart of a gateway city," said City Manager Bernard Lynch. "The City of Lowell is sincerely grateful for the state assistance with both funding and permitting without which this project would not be proceeding today."
Earlier in the day, the Governor and other officials visited several sites across the city to witness the results of state, federal, and private investments in Lowell. The tour included a stop at the Connector Park, where an allocation of $1 million through the Massachusetts Opportunity Relocation and Expansion ( MORE) Jobs Capital Program helped to provide the infrastructure necessary to leverage private investment and bring new business to the site. Construction for a Lowe's Home Improvement store is currently underway.
From there, the group traveled to Community Teamwork, Inc., a local nonprofit community action agency using over $800,000 in federal Community Services Block Grant recovery funds to support an array of housing opportunities and social services for low-income families, including a first time homebuyers program, homelessness prevention, financial literacy, diversion and stabilization programs, as well as job training focused on machinist, healthcare and weatherization training.
Other investments that the Patrick-Murray Administration have made in the City of Lowell include $15 million in financing for ten companies through MassDevelopment, supporting the creation of 132 permanent new jobs, 52 construction-related jobs and 65 units of housing.
To learn more about Growth Districts go to www.mass.gov/eed/GDI.