Press Release

Press Release Baker-Polito Administration Announces New Support for Transformative Development Initiative Districts in Gateway Cities

Transformative Development Initiative provides substantial technical assistance and support for urban revitalization
For immediate release:
  • Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development
  • Office of Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito

Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Announces New Support for Transformative Development Initiative Districts in Gateway Cities

Colleen Arons , Communications Director

WORCESTER, MAToday, the Baker-Polito Administration announced the selection of 10 Transformative Development Initiative (TDI) districts in a second round of TDI awards, a highly competitive program for Gateway Cities designed to accelerate economic growth within focused areas. The second round includes four new districts in Chelsea, Fitchburg, Lawrence, and Worcester; and the extension of existing TDI districts in Brockton, Holyoke, Lynn, New Bedford, Pittsfield, and Springfield. Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito made the announcement with Secretary Jay Ash, Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus and members of the Worcester legislative delegation at the YMCA of Central Massachusetts in Worcester.

“Through targeted state investments and the support of local leadership, the Transformative Development Initiative helps communities support long-term, sustainable growth and tackle broad challenges,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The resources we are announcing today will extend support to exciting new economic development projects across the Commonwealth.”

“I have had the pleasure of touring many TDI districts across the Commonwealth, and have seen the transformations that are underway in many of our Gateway Cities,” said Lt. Governor Polito. “This innovative program helps our Gateway Cities leverage existing assets and target opportunities to advance their city’s economic development goals, generate new opportunities for residents and build thriving downtowns.” 

The TDI Districts receive enhanced and customized technical assistance, real estate services, and additional capacity to implement district plans. The four new districts will gain TDI Fellows, who will provide economic development expertise and collaborative leadership in these cities. The new fellows will join established fellows in existing districts. All districts will be eligible for grants and real estate investments. 

“Congratulations to the TDI Districts that are new to the program, and to the cities that received an extension of their current TDI Districts,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash. “The Baker-Polito Administration is pleased to create opportunities for Gateway Cities across the Commonwealth through programs like TDI, which makes strategic investments in these communities.”  

MassDevelopment will also offer benefits to six applicant cities that did not receive a full TDI District designation. Chicopee and Fall River will receive one-year directed strategic assistance and partnership building support to advance their district visions, after which each city may be eligible for a two-year follow-on term with a dedicated TDI Fellow. MassDevelopment also designated four “TDI Affiliates”: Haverhill, Peabody, and Revere – three current districts whose three-year designation is ending – and a new district in Salem. These cities will have access to peer-to-peer learning opportunities, workshops, and other designated assistance. MassDevelopment’s traditional real estate services, which help municipalities and other public entities address planning and development projects, and regional teams remain available for all Gateway Cities.

“Today’s Transformative Development Initiative announcement will help encourage, guide and leverage future investment and economic development in a way that benefits and nurtures the families, businesses and organizations that call Main South home," said City Manager Edward M. Augustus Jr. "We’re thankful to have the strong support of the Baker-Polito administration in this important effort.” 

“Since its launch in 2014, the Transformative Development Initiative has proven to be a powerful economic development tool for Massachusetts’ Gateway Cities,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Lauren Liss. “We are proud of what the program has accomplished so far, and look forward to working with the cities selected through this round to spur transformative development and help them achieve their economic development goals." 

“The Transformative Development Initiative is a pivotal program which helps reinvigorate Gateway Cities across Massachusetts,” said Senate President Harriette L. Chandler. “Massachusetts residents deserve a high quality of life, and reinvigoration of city districts and downtowns help to create a better Commonwealth for all of its residents. I am very happy that Worcester and these other great cities have been empowered to succeed.” 

"Worcester has always been about collaboration and this Transformative Development Initiative assistance from MassDevelopment is going to be of great help in furthering our city's revitalization of the Main South District," said Representative Kate D. Campanale. "As Worcester's skyline changes the determination of the residents to bring the city back to full productivity and vibrancy remains steadfast. Thank you to MassDevelopment for recognizing the great potential the Main South District has and being a part of its transformation."   

MassDevelopment’s TDI program works with cross-sector partnerships to engage community members, implement local economic development initiatives, and spur further public and private investment. In TDI’s first three years, MassDevelopment has invested $9 million in the TDI Districts through tools such as technical assistance, real estate investments, grant programs, and fellows who work in the districts.

MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, financial institutions, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During Fiscal Year 2017, MassDevelopment financed or managed 377 projects generating investment of more than $4.3 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are projected to create about 9,488 jobs and build or rehabilitate 1,863 residential units. 






The existing Downtown Transformative District will build on organizational capacity, and explore the designation of a cultural district and the formation of a Business Improvement District. 


The new Bellingham Square District will become a vibrant shopping district with a mix of affordable and market-rate housing that will engage the community, redevelop key sites, and improve the impact of a cluster of small businesses.


MassDevelopment staff will help Chicopee develop a district partnership and will offer targeted technical assistance for a one-year term, after which the city may be eligible for a two-year follow-on term with a dedicated TDI Fellow.

Fall River

MassDevelopment staff will help Fall River develop a district partnership and will offer targeted technical assistance for a one-year term, after which the city may be eligible for a two-year follow-on term with a dedicated TDI Fellow.


The new Fitchburg Arts and Culture District in the city’s historic downtown will become a regional destination that changes perceptions and celebrates its diversity.  


The existing TOD Innovation District will build on the planning already completed to focus on building site readiness for local entrepreneurs and engaging more members of the community.  


The new Lawrence Downtown/Central East District will build on past planning studies, provide support to small businesses and developers in the district, and develop a market strategy to help the district reach its potential.


The existing One Lynn District will explore additional investment opportunities and technical assistance that will unlock the potential of downtown Lynn through support for small businesses, branding and marketing, and wayfinding.

New Bedford

The existing New Bedford Union and Purchase Street District will expand on branding and marketing efforts, focus on placemaking opportunities, and undertake a study to explore sustainable funding sources for future efforts that will build on TDI work in the district. 


The existing Tyler Street District will continue supporting housing rehabilitation efforts, building greater capacity of the Tyler Street Business Group, and strengthening the participation of residents and anchor institutions. 


The existing Springfield Downtown/Stearns Square District will support residential development in the district and help grow the city’s dining district by attracting new businesses and expanding existing ones. The district partnership will also make investments to match MassDevelopment’s resources for the Springfield TDI Fellow.   


The new Main South District will focus on engaging local business and property owners, organizing a business association, and working on strategic reuse plans for vacant sites to become a walkable and vibrant neighborhood. MassDevelopment selected Worcester’s Theatre District for TDI District designation through the first round of the program in 2014, and the city applied for designation of a new geographic district through this 2018 round.





Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Announces New Support for Transformative Development Initiative Districts in Gateway Cities

Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development 

The Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development promotes vibrant communities, growing businesses, and a strong middle class.

Office of Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito