For Immediate Release - October 22, 2010


Affordable housing groundbreaking marks 50th in Administration's 50 in 2010 initiative; statewide total private investment passes $1B mark

LAWRENCE - Friday, October 22, 2010 - Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Greg Bialecki today joined with legislators, as well as community, business and industry leaders from the City of Lawrence for the groundbreaking of the Union Crossing project. Union Crossing is the 50th housing/economic development construction project, jump started by an investment from the Patrick-Murray Administration, to break ground this year. This project will create an estimated 40 new permanent jobs and 175 construction jobs, and brings the collective private investment number of these 50 projects over the $1billion mark.

"This is what it's all about - putting shovels in the ground and people to work immediately," said Governor Deval Patrick. "This project is an excellent example of the critical collaboration and investment that leads to both construction and permanent jobs, as well as support for the vital industries that are critical to the Commonwealth's long-term economic success."

Union Crossing has leveraged more than $23.5 million in total investments from city, state and federal sources, as well as substantial private investment. In addition to supplying a $3.46M MassWorks Infrastructure grant, the Patrick-Murray Administration partnered with the Massachusetts congressional delegation to secure federal funding that provided critical support for the project. Union Crossing received $6.16 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Tax Credit Assistance Program (TCAP), which is implemented by the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). Additionally, the project received over $1 million in federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit program which assists the production and preservation of affordable rental housing for low-income families and individuals. Union Crossing also received $550,000 in competitive federal State Energy Program funds to help ensure the energy-efficient nature of the project.

"This kind of project will help put people back to work as we focus on Massachusetts' economic recovery," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray. "We are excited about today's landmark groundbreaking and look forward to seeing this project support economic development, sustainability and growth for the region and the Commonwealth."

The MassWorks Infrastructure funds will be used to make new public roadway improvements along Island Street, including the installation of the new Island Street Bridge, the creation of a 100 new public parking spaces, and general roadwork and streetscape improvements. These public infrastructure upgrades will support Union Crossing's redevelopment of an historic but underutilized complex of mill buildings along the Merrimack River to create a thriving new neighborhood, located less than a quarter mile from Lawrence's commuter rail station. Today's groundbreaking marked the start of Phase I of construction, which will create 60 units of healthy, energy-efficient and affordable family rental housing, an on-site day care center, new green space, and 65,000 square feet of commercial and office space, targeted to small and mid-size companies in clean tech and education industry clusters. The infrastructure improvements completed through the MassWorks Infrastructure Program grants will also unlock future redevelopment of commercial space in the are over the coming years.

Bill Traynor, Executive Director of Lawrence CommunityWorks commented, "This is a wonderful day for Lawrence as we gather to begin construction at Union Crossing. In 12 months time a vibrant, new neighborhood with housing, business spaces and parks will be available to Lawrence families. During one of the worst economies in recent memory, Lawrence CommunityWorks is moving forward on this critical project, because of the support of our Federal, State and Local Governments and Elected officials as well as our private investors and community members. We sincerely thank all of those involved with Union Crossing for helping to make this day possible."

This project is one of more than 50 housing and economic development projects, both renovation and new construction, that broke ground this year, totaling more than $1 billion dollars in development investments in the Commonwealth. Each of these projects has been initiated by an investment from the Patrick-Murray Administration. Together, they will create thousands of jobs throughout Massachusetts. Learn more about these projects here.

Today's announcement included the installation and commemoration of the new Island Street Bridge, which was fabricated offsite and flown onto location for its installation.

Secretary Bialecki also participated in a ribbon cutting for the recently rehabilitated JJ Levis Building, which underwent renovation by Lou and Juan Yepez. This project will benefit from the state's investments in public infrastructure and housing, and is a prime example of how such investments can leverage private development.

Thes investments are just one part of the Administration's multi-pronged strategy for growth through supporting small businesses; regional economic development; and strategic investments in education, infrastructure and innovation. Key to supporting this strategy is partnership with local communities and the private sector that fosters residential and commercial growth, and the successful leveraging of a number of state resources that spur that growth including:

• The Growth Districts Initiative - by working with communities to plan ahead for new growth and development that is consistent with their long-term community vision, regional needs and with the Commonwealth's sustainable development principles, the Administration is creating an entire network of places around the state where new growth is being welcomed and encouraged.

• The Chapter 43D Expedited Permitting - by working with communities to support prompt and predictable permitting for development that is consistent with community plans, dozens of communities have made a commitment to issue permits for commercial development in six months or less in order to helps facilitate targeted economic development that is consistent with their long-term plans.

• The Massachusetts Opportunity Relocation and Expansion (MORE) Jobs Capital program - by targeting public infrastructure investments and improvements needed to support private development activity and business expansion, cities and towns get the tools they need to spur economic development, job retention and expansion.

• The newly reformed - by partnering with companies and municipalities focused on job creation, manufacturing job retention and private investment, the Administration is working to stimulate business growth throughout the Commonwealth.

• Through a wide array of state and federal programs administered by the state Department of Housing and Community Development, the Commonwealth can provide direct financial assistance, where appropriate, to residential and commercial development projects through low-cost financing, tax credits and other forms of financial support.

Learn more about the results of our strategic investments in new development here.