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WORCESTER — On Thursday, Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito joined local and state officials and project stakeholders to highlight progress on the redevelopment of the former Worcester State Hospital campus into a hub for biomanufacturing, innovation and job growth in Central Massachusetts. When completed, the proposed facility will have capacity for up to 500 new jobs and is expected to attract research biotech companies seeking to move from research to commercial manufacturing.
“Transforming this prime unused property into a world-class biomanufacturing facility will spur growth, jobs and economic development across the Worcester and Central Massachusetts region,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Governor Baker and I are excited to see this project take another step forward, and I want to thank the WBDC for their continued partnership to make it a success.”
At a meeting of the Worcester Biomanufacturing Initiative, which is chaired by Lt. Governor Polito, the Executive Office for Administration and Finance’s Division of Capital Asset Management (DCAMM) formally entered into an agreement with the Worcester Business Development Corporation (WBDC) to redevelop the 44-acre site as part of the Commonwealth’s ongoing “Open for Business” initiative. In January, Governor Charlie Baker signed legislation authorizing the 44-acre land transfer. The WBDC was announced as the site partner by Lt. Governor Polito last September.
“We take our responsibility as stewards of the Commonwealth’s land seriously, and seek to maximize the value of these properties for taxpayers,” said Administration and Finance Secretary Michael J. Heffernan, who oversees DCAMM. “This major development project is a great example of how our ‘Open for Business’ initiative creates economic opportunity in the Commonwealth.”
“As a member of the City of Worcester’s Economic Development Coordinating Council (EDCC), the WBDC is pleased to be able to work with the Baker-Polito Administration on this exciting initiative that will re-activate an underutilized Commonwealth property, placing it back into active use to generate tax revenue and new employment opportunities for the Worcester region,” said Craig Blais, President & CEO of the WBDC. “The WBDC has a proud history of innovation in the biotechnology industry and is looking forward to building upon that history as we seek to complement the ongoing R&D in Worcester – moving from researching the future to manufacturing the future.”
“The City of Worcester and our partners take pride in our ability to work together to ensure that we take advantage of any opportunity that comes our way,” said Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus. “Biomanufacturing is an industry that will drive our economy forward and this agreement between DCAMM, the WBDC and the many other stakeholders involved highlights our commitment to seizing an opportunity that will have a long lasting positive impact on our city.”
“I’m happy that the Legislature was able to approve the sale of this property earlier in the year,” said Senate Majority Leader Harriette Chandler (D-Worcester). “Worcester is a city full of colleges and industrious people. The construction of this biomanufacturing facility is a boon to scientific and economic growth across the region.”
“This Land Disposition Agreement marks a new chapter in Worcester’s expansion in the biotechnology field,” said Representative Jim O’Day (D-West Boylston). “The 44 acres of this Bio-Manufacturing Zone will be a key footprint as Worcester continues to take steps to grow its leadership in biotechnology, innovation, and business. Since my colleagues and I passed this legislation in January, this agreement is the culmination of almost a year’s worth of close collaboration between the legislature, Governor Baker’s Open for Business Initiative, the City of Worcester, and many other stakeholders and advocates. This land means new jobs, new opportunities, and a brighter future for our city.”
The Baker-Polito Administration’s “Open for Business” initiative launched in 2015 and seeks to leverage Commonwealth-owned vacant or underutilized assets for reduced costs, increased revenue and local economic benefits, including office and open space, retail, and housing. To date, 32 state-owned assets have been sold, leased, or put under agreement, and when fully developed, will generate $554 million in revenue, 2,258 new housing units, nearly 1,500 new jobs, 1.3 million square feet of new commercial space, and $20 million in annual property taxes to local cities and towns.