The Baker-Polito Administration announced over $3.6 million for 12 projects in its fourth annual round of Site Readiness Program awards. These awards provide vital resources to municipalities, private-sector businesses, and nonprofit economic development entities to help overcome obstacles to developing otherwise prime locations.
The funding announced today will finance feasibility studies, master planning, environmental work, strategic land acquisition, and site improvements, resulting in critical additions to the Commonwealth’s inventory of large, development-ready sites.
Governor Charlie Baker called the Site Readiness Program “a key tool to help communities reach local and regional economic development goals. These awards will assist in community stabilization efforts, including downtown revitalization, helping advance prime locations to shovel readiness to spur investment and job growth.”
Lt. Governor Karyn Polito said, “Our administration continues to partner with municipalities, regional economic development groups, and growing businesses to promote smart, sustainable development across the Commonwealth. We are proud to provide this fourth round of Site Readiness awards, which will help convert key parcels and activate underused sites to boost local economic growth.”
Administered by MassDevelopment, the Site Readiness Program aims to boost Massachusetts’ supply of large, well-located, project-ready sites; accelerate private-sector investment in industrial and commercial projects; and support the conversion of abandoned sites and obsolete facilities into clean, actively used, tax-generating properties.
Created as part of the 2016 economic development legislation, An Act Relative to Job Creation and Workforce Development, the Site Readiness Program’s first three rounds included $6.75 million for 36 projects in almost every region, increasing the development potential of 2,824 acres across the Commonwealth. On March 4, 2020, the Baker-Polito Administration filed new economic development legislation, An Act Enabling Partnerships for Growth (updated on June 26, 2020), providing $15 million in reauthorizations of the Site Readiness Program.
Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy said, “As outlined in our economic development plan, Partnerships for Growth, the Baker-Polito Administration is committed to building vibrant communities in every region. In the long term, the Site Readiness Program will help communities in recovery as they prepare sites for development projects that help build vibrancy in their neighborhoods, on Main Streets, and in industrial areas.”
MassDevelopment President and CEO Lauren Liss said the program “funds necessary, but sometimes cost-prohibitive, predevelopment work to help communities advance key parcels for productive use. MassDevelopment is proud to administer this economic development program on behalf of the Commonwealth, and congratulates all of this year’s grant recipients.”
MassDevelopment anticipates announcing funding for the fifth round of the Site Readiness Program in September 2020.
2020 Site Readiness Program Awards
Carriage Grove, Belchertown – $265,000
The Belchertown Economic Development and Industrial Corporation will use Site Readiness funds to partially match the U.S. Economic Development Agency’s $550,000 grant for infrastructure improvements in Carriage Grove’s industrial district, supporting the construction of new roadway, sidewalks, utilities, and stormwater improvements.
Good Samaritan Life Science Center, Brockton – $150,000
The City of Brockton will use Site Readiness funds to develop a master plan that will foster creation of a life science and biotech hub along Route 24 on underutilized land adjacent to the Good Samaritan Medical Center.
Matthews Street Business Park, Gardner – $80,000
The City of Gardner will use Site Readiness funds to conduct a feasibility study of a 140-acre site to determine if the location is suitable for the development of a new business park.
South Shore Smart Growth Analysis, Hanover, Hingham, Norwell, Rockland, & Weymouth – $75,000
The Metropolitan Area Planning Council will use Site Readiness funds to conduct a high-level assessment of water and wastewater supply and demand dynamics for a number of potential growth areas in the South Shore region.
Marriner Building, Lawrence – $250,000
Lawrence Community Works will use Site Readiness funds to undertake needed building code improvements for the unoccupied Marriner Building, which will allow commercial tenants to occupy the building’s ground floor.
Merrimack Paper Mill, Lawrence – $750,000
The City of Lawrence will use Site Readiness funds to demolish the dilapidated Merrimack Paper Mill complex in preparation for the site’s redevelopment for light-industrial uses.
Ayer’s City Business Park, Lowell – $375,000
The City of Lowell will use Site Readiness funds for appraisals, environmental due diligence, and title research for approximately 50 parcels of land in the Ayer’s City district, the subject of a recent Urban Renewal Plan.
70 Church Street, Lowell – $300,000
UTEC will use Site Readiness funds to acquire its rented building at 70 Church Street in Lowell, enabling the organization to expand its woodworking operations. Funds will also be used to develop plans for the renovation of the adjoining building at 80 Church Street.
Ludlow Mills Market, Ludlow – $80,000
Westmass Area Development Corporation will use Site Readiness funds to update marketing data, prepare a strategic marketing plan, and prepare specific redevelopment build-out concepts for individual mill buildings and districts within the Ludlow Mills complex.
Revere Copper Site, New Bedford – $735,000
East Coast Fabrication, Inc., will use Site Readiness funds to support the development of a commercial shipyard on the 13-acre former Revere Copper site by helping fund the replacement of the existing, failing sheet pile and timber bulkhead.
Hedges Pond Road Site, Plymouth – $60,000
The Plymouth Regional Economic Development Council will use Site Readiness funds to plan for the development of the 60-acre Hedges Pond Road Site.
Gardner Street Railroad Bridge, Worcester – $500,000
The City of Worcester will use Site Readiness funds to lower the elevation of an existing roadway, at the intersection of Gardner, Tainter, and Canterbury Streets, under a railroad bridge to provide for improved clearance for trucks, supporting the feasibility of Table Talk Pies’ new manufacturing facility and enhancing the marketability of other industrially zoned land nearby.