- Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development
- Office of Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito
Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Announces $4.9 Million MassWorks Award for Lee
Colleen Arons , Communications Director
LEE — Today, Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito joined Chief Administrative Assistant Chris Ketchen and other local and state officials to announce a $4.9 million MassWorks Infrastructure Program grant to Lee to upgrade water lines and support residential and commercial development.
The MassWorks grant will fund 9,000 linear feet of new water main from the town’s water treatment plant to the proposed Eagle Mill mixed-use development at the north end of Main Street. The funding provides a foundation for 80 market rate and affordable rental units at Eagle Mill, as well as commercial and recreational spaces planned for the future. When completed, the Eagle Mill project is expected to generate more than $60 million in private investment in the Main Street area.
“Our Administration is committed to programs like MassWorks, which impact not only local infrastructure, but also play a critical role in strengthening businesses and the communities that surround them,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “MassWorks is one of many administration initiatives that enable local communities to tap into private investment and accelerate local economic growth across the Commonwealth.”
“I am pleased to be here in Lee to announce the Baker-Polito Administration’s support for the continued development of Eagle Mill and future housing and commercial projects, which will now be possible because of this vital upgrade to Lee’s infrastructure,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “The Governor and I are pleased to continue to make the investments in the public infrastructure our cities and towns need to create sustainable growth.”
“Through the flexibility of MassWorks, we have been able to drive over two million square feet of new commercial space, made possible by listening to individual communities’ needs and by responding with individualized programs that benefit many stakeholders, such as the Eagle Mill development,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash. “Our office saw another competitive round of MassWorks for 2018 and we are happy to keep the momentum going across the Commonwealth.”
“The improvements funded by the MassWorks program will not only make the redevelopment of the mill possible, they also serve as a foundation for ongoing infrastructure reinvestment in Lee’s vital commercial center. The timing of the Commonwealth’s support is absolutely critical to the Town of Lee. We are very excited and appreciative,” said Christopher Ketchen, Chief Administrative Officer for the Town of Lee.
“MassWorks grants provide critical assistance when towns need it most. We are thrilled to support this strategic investment into Lee’s infrastructure, which will help grow the Town’s economic growth,” said Senator Adam G. Hinds, who serves as the Senate vice-chairman of the Joint Committee on Economic Development & Emerging Technologies.
“The Lee Eagle Mill Project is going to serve as a transformative development for the Berkshires,” said Representative Smitty Pignatelli. “I have been proud to work on this project for the past five years, and truly believe this MassWorks funding grant will serve a vital role in helping complete the project. I want to thank former Senator Ben Downing and former Town Administrator Bob Nason for their influential contributions towards this project, and express my gratitude to the Baker-Polito Administration for this critical infrastructure investment, which will not only impact Lee, but will impact the entire Berkshire Region.”
“The saying ‘It takes a village to build a village’ is certainly true in the case of Eagle Mill and the Baker-Polito Administration’s participation is essential to the success of this endeavor,” said Eagle Mill developer Jeff Cohen. “Today’s announcement enables us to continue to move forward with the development of the Eagle Mill; its 80 residences, to be developed by Rees-Larkin Development and Berkshire Housing, its market, to be developed by The Marketplace Hospitality Group, its hotel, as well as its mercantile and office buildings. We look forward to obtaining site plan approval, Conservation Commission approval, the allocation of historic tax credits and the commercial financing which will enable us to commence construction in the fourth quarter of 2019! Since December 2012, we have worked and consulted with the people of Lee, its boards and commissions, its Town Administrators Bob Nason and Chris Ketchen, as well as Congressman Richard Neal, State Senators Ben Downing and Adam Hinds, and especially Representative Smitty Pignatelli. We are excited to continue this collaboration as we revive and restore the historic Eagle Mill and bring more than 200 new jobs to Lee.”
Since 2015, the Baker-Polito Administration has awarded over $275 million in MassWorks grants to support 138 projects in 106 communities. MassWorks funding has been critical to the addition of over 2 million square feet of commercial/retail space, approximately 10,000 full and part time jobs, more than 7,000 immediate housing units, at least 7,000 square feet of new public space and 1,200 new hotel rooms.
Through the 2018 MassWorks round, the Administration will award more than $82 million in new grants for 40 projects that intend to leverage $2.9 billion in private investment, and drive an anticipated 4,000 units of new housing and more than 9,000 full time jobs. 37 communities across the Commonwealth will benefit from this round’s investments.
Governor Baker signed economic development legislation in August that includes substantial new funding for municipalities, including another $250 million for MassWorks awards. The legislation builds on the Baker-Polito Administration’s work to partner with communities to catalyze economic development and create new opportunities for residents across the Commonwealth, including the 2016 Job Creation and Workforce Development act, which authorized $1 billion to support economic development efforts across the state, including $500 million authorization for MassWorks Infrastructure Program, enhanced tools and the introduction of new strategies for job-readiness efforts.
Learn more about MassWorks at mass.gov.