For Immediate Release - October 11, 2016

Baker-Polito Administration Breaks Ground on Lowell’s Hamilton Canal District Phase II

Secretary Ash joins federal, state, and local officials to celebrate the continued redevelopment of Lowell’s downtown

Lowell – October 11, 2016 – Today Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash joined Congresswoman Niki Tsongas, Senator Eileen Donoghue, Representatives Thomas A. Golden, Rady Mom, and David M. Nangle, Lowell City Manager Kevin J. Murphy, and community leaders, to break ground on the second phase of the redevelopment of the Hamilton Canal District. Development activity follows $4.7 million in state public infrastructure grants, awarded through the MassWorks infrastructure program, as well as $2.5 million in infrastructure grant funding from the US Economic Development Administration (EDA).

“MassWorks infrastructure funds unlock economic activity in communities, by removing roadblocks to private investment, job creation, and housing development,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “I’m thrilled that we’ve been able to partner with Lowell to accelerate the revitalization of the Hamilton Canal District. Our administration looks forward to continuing to assist communities in achieving their economic development goals.”

“Collaboration with municipalities is a central piece of our economic development strategy,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “We succeed, as a state, when we line up behind community leaders with a strong vision for the future, and provide them with the resources and support they need to bring locally-driven projects to fruition.” 

“The Hamilton Canal District project is a model of what we can do when key stakeholders unite behind a vision for our community and work to make it a reality,” said Congresswoman Niki Tsongas. “Since taking office, I have worked closely with the City of Lowell, state and federal officials to secure public funding, find legislative solutions to potential obstacles, and communicate efficiently with the state and federal agencies in order to transform and reinvent the Hamilton Canal District, the gateway to the City of Lowell. Combined with strong support from the state, this new funding is another key milestone, and represents the crucial partnerships that were necessary to envision and execute this innovative new neighborhood that will benefit Lowell economically and aesthetically well into the future.”

The Hamilton Canal District is the $800 million redevelopment of 15 acres of former industrial properties into a new, mixed-use neighborhood on the edge of Lowell’s downtown. The Baker-Polito Administration is supporting the second phase of the district’s redevelopment through $4.7 million in public infrastructure grants.

The state infrastructure funds, awarded in 2015 through the MassWorks infrastructure program, will fund the extension of road and utility infrastructure into the northern portion of the Hamilton Canal District.

The 2015 MassWorks funds also served as the match used to secure an additional $2.5 million in infrastructure funds from the US EDA. The US EDA funds will improve transportation access and circulation in the Hamilton Canal District, by supporting the construction of a new bridge into the district.

The public infrastructure funding immediately allows for the construction of a new corporate headquarters for the environmental engineering firm Watermark, new housing development, new public open space, and the development of a $40 million public parking garage, which is necessary to support the district’s full buildout. Previous MassWorks infrastructure grants in the Hamilton Canal District have enabled the redevelopment of abandoned mills into affordable and artist housing, as well as UMass Lowell’s Innovation Hub and Medical Device Development Center.

“Last year, through the MassWorks infrastructure grant program, we invested over $85 million in 46 communities across the Commonwealth, and each of those awards will allow municipalities to deliver high-impact economic development projects,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash. “The Hamilton Canal District represents an exciting vision for Lowell’s future. It is a truly transformative project, and the district is already generating an impressive level economic activity, and private investment. These infrastructure investments will allow Lowell to continue unlocking the District’s potential.”

“The MassWorks grant Lowell received last year is supporting the continued development of the Hamilton Canal District, but its impact will be felt in every neighborhood of the city,” said Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies Eileen Donoghue. “This transformative project will create new economic opportunities and build Lowell’s growing reputation as a great place to live, work, and open a business.”

“These infrastructure grants will lay the foundation for the Hamilton Canal District revitalization and facilitate economic development in order to create a thriving downtown neighborhood,” said Rep. Thomas A. Golden, Jr., Chairman of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy. “Collaboration like this takes hard work and I applaud the partnership between the state and the city of Lowell to transform this vision into a reality.”

“The extensive collaboration in the Hamilton Canal District between city, state, and federal governments, as well as the private sector, is key to substantial transformation taking place in our downtown,” said Rep. Rady Mom. “The Hamilton Canal District will serve as both a vibrant center of living, commerce, and community in Lowell, as well as a bridge to the rest of the City.”

“I am very pleased that the Hamilton Canal District project is moving forward and that the delegation has been able to effectively partner with the Baker-Polito administration to continue to revitalize downtown Lowell,” said Rep. David M. Nangle. “This project, along with the new Justice Center, will greatly assist us in our goal to make our city a model of innovation, measured development, and progress.”

“I applaud our federal, state, and private partners for taking the next step of the Hamilton Canal District with us,” said Lowell City Manager Kevin J. Murphy. “Together, we’re turning this industrial brownfield into a transformative development bringing hundreds of jobs and homes to the Commonwealth.”

The MassWorks Infrastructure Program provides a one-stop shop for municipalities and other eligible public entities seeking public infrastructure funding to support housing production, economic development, and job creation through strategic investments in public infrastructure. The 2015 grant round generated 101 applications for more than $245 million in infrastructure requests. The 2016 grant round is currently under review.

Each year, the MassWorks program allocates 10 percent of awarded funds to assist municipalities with populations of 7,000 or less in completing roadway safety and transportation improvement projects. The MassWorks Program has invested over $357 million across the Commonwealth since the first competitive grant round was held in September 2011.

In August 2016 Governor Baker signed An Act Relative to Job Creation and Workforce Development (H. 4569) to reauthorize MassWorks and support $500 million of future investment in critical infrastructure, a significant commitment by the Commonwealth. The Baker-Polito Administration’s 2017 capital budget increases funding for the MassWorks Infrastructure Program to $90 million. The administration has increased MassWorks funding by $35 million over the past two fiscal years.

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