MassDevelopment Brownfields Redevelopment Funding Now Open

08.25.2020

 

Staff Contribution

 
MassDevelopment’s Brownfields Redevelopment Fund finances the environmental assessment and remediation of brownfield sites in Economically Distressed Areas (EDAs) of the Commonwealth. The 2016 Economic Development Bill authorized $45 million over ten years from the Commonwealth’s capital budget for the Fund, a portion of which is being made available through this solicitation.
 
This solicitation does not replace MassDevelopment’s traditional process of evaluating proposals and awarding loans and recoverable grants on a rolling basis when the timing is urgent due to a clearly identified development opportunity.
 
This opportunity has been created to help municipalities and other municipal entities advance the redevelopment of sites where the development potential has been identified but an end-user has not yet committed to redeveloping the site.
 
Under this solicitation, eligible applicants may apply for up to $100,000 in site assessment funding, or up to $250,000 in remediation funding.
 
The deadline for application submissions for this solicitation is September 18, 2020.
Awards will be announced in November 2020.
 
For more information, visit MassDevelopment.com/brownfields, email brownfields@massdevelopment.com, or contact your regional MassDevelopment Community Development representative.

Restaurant/entertainment complex at Davy’s site is moving forward

At last week’s Planning Board meeting, the board voted unanimously to approve the site plan for Cisco Kitchen + Bar, proposed by Stephen Silverstein, the founder of Not Your Average Joe’s and owner of the Black Whale and his partner Jay Harmann of Cisco Brewers in Nantucket.

According to Director of City Planning Tabitha Harkin, they are drafting the decision on the site plan and once it is signed it will be in the appeal period for 20 days. After that, Harkin said they can obtain building permits.

It was the second time the site plan had been before the Planning Board, and based on recommendations from the first hearing and their interaction with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, Steve Gioiosa, President of SITEC Engineering, said some changes were made. Gioiosa was presenting the plan on behalf of Silverstein and Harmann.

The biggest changes to the original plan includes changing the surface of the entertainment area, which will have a space for live music and portable kiosks offering food and beverage service, from a turf surface to sand.

“We settled on going with a sand surface, the idea is to establish more of a coastal feel for the site,” Gioiosa said. “We have a beach area that exists to the south of the site.”

They also worked to make the space more accessible to cyclists, with bike racks offering spaces for 66 bikes, according to Gioiosa, and pulled pavement away from the shoreline to comply with environmental protections.

“I do feel that the Planning Board’s comments took us to a better place,” Silverstein said when reached for comment, saying their recommendations made the site more user and environmentally-friendly.

The Planning Board also said they would support the project as it pursued permission from the Zoning Board of Appeals to put in a seashell parking lot at the site.

At the Planning Board meeting Silverstein did say he and his partner were getting “fatigued with this project” because of the delays which were costing them money.

“The economics and the delays will make this a project that we’re not able to go forward on,” Silverstein said, if they didn’t get the necessary approvals soon.

Since the Planning Board voted to approve the site plan, Silvesterin said, “We fully intend to go forward. We still have to get through the Conservation Commission, we need our final approvals from the DEP, so there are a couple of things hanging out there, but I don’t expect any issues.”

Silverstein said he doesn’t think the approval process he’s gone through is atypical but he decided to say something at the meeting because, “I just needed them that night to not delay us any further, so I made a statement that we need approval otherwise the deal’s going to die.”

Now that they’re receiving site plan approval, Silverstien said, “It’s not a done deal but we are gaining momentum. I would be disappointed and surprised if it didn’t go forward.”

Silverstein said they expect to start site work construction on the estimated $5 million project in January, which would allow them to open in May.

Kathryn Duff, Chair of the Planning Board, said she imagines the project is going to be quite successful and told Silverstein at the meeting “I love how the plans were updated, really nice job.”

However, Duff did bring up a concern about pedestrian safety since they will be leasing a parking lot three blocks away for overflow and event parking.

“We’re proposing a deep use on this site and we need to think of many people walking from a parking area that’s three blocks away,” Duff said.

One of the conditions that the Planning Board added to their approval was that the applicant works with the Department of Public Infrastructure on delineating the pedestrian path from the additional parking area to the site.

Ward 6 Councilor Joseph Lopes attended the meeting and said he doesn’t see any traffic issues arising from the project.

Lopes said he had neighborhood meetings to discuss the project and said “Not one of the neighbors expresses any concerns related to [pedestrian travel to the parking area]. Their main concern was no parking on the west side of East Rodney French Boulevard.”

Lopes said he is already working with the appropriate groups to get no parking signs on that side of the street.

The neighbors of the site have been supportive, Silverstein said.

Something was going to go on that site, Silverstein said, and “The neighbors have decided that this operation under my oversight is the best it can be.”

The site will be based on Cisco Nantucket, and Silverstein said, it’s just a place where everybody feels good, with music, food, beverages, and sunshine.

“If Jimmy Buffett were to open a place, this is kind of what it would l like,” Silverstein said of the New Bedford project. “Sand and flip flops and fish sandwiches, outdoor cooking with pigs on rotisseries, and lobsters steaming, and oysters being shucked.”

Original story here.

A “Capitol” investment in New Bedford’s north end

By Steven Froias / Contributing Writer

NEW BEDFORD, MA – There may be no building more poignant on the urban streetscape than a former movie theater shorn of its original purpose and left to fend for itself in a world which has relegated it to oblivion. These noble structures dot the landscape of cities across America as symbols of obsolescence – yet retain a powerful hold on the collective imagination and help form the emotional infrastructure of any given place.

The former Capitol Theater in New Bedford, Massachusetts is just such a building. Its position in the city’s history as a destination location and community incubator on the commercial corridor Acushnet Avenue is legendary.

But its role into the future has long been in doubt.

Until now.

THE CEDC BUYS THE CAPITOL THEATER

The Community Economic Development Center (CEDC), a non-profit organization dedicated to enabling opportunity for all segments of society, has recently purchased the former Capitol Theater. The CEDC has also entered into a partnership agreement with Waterfront Area Historic League (WHALE), which will rehabilitate the building for adaptive reuse. Together, the two will return it to center stage in the civic life of the City of New Bedford.

The impressive effort will see the Capitol Theater repurposed into office space, affordable housing units, street level retail and a new home for the CEDC with enhanced economic development and vocational programming. When complete, the $5.7 million project will prove transformative in scope for this revitalizing north end neighborhood.

“There’s a reason theaters occupy a hallowed place in preservation history,” explains WHALE Executive Director Teri Bernert. “They were and are centrally located to have maximum impact on a city’s commercial and cultural well-being. The Capitol Theater is a perfect example of that in the past, and now into the future.”

An initial feasibility study for the project was funded with a Local Initiatives Support Corporation grant. LISC is one of the country’s largest organizations supporting projects to revitalize communities and bring greater economic opportunity to residents, according to its website, lisc.org.

When the economic resilience of the property and project was judged sound, the CEDC then secured Community Preservation Act Funding in 2019 in the amount of $350,00 to help purchase the Capitol building, which sold for $450,000. The application for CPA funding was the first in the City of New Bedford to utilize those funds for a project that includes affordable housing.

REPURPOSING HISTORY FOR THE FUTURE

WHALE’s mission is to foster historic preservation and continued use of the city’s architectural heritage to enhance community and economic vitality in New Bedford. The non-profit development corporation accomplishes this through the restoration and reuse of historic structures which provide commercial development, affordable housing to low and moderate income individuals and families, promotes arts and culture, and educates on the importance of the historic and architectural culture of New Bedford’s diverse people.

WHALE entered into the partnership with the CEDC after completing its usual feasibility assessment for any project. The conclusion was reached that not only was the project feasible, but also necessary to further promote the CEDC’s mission in the north end of the city.

The Community Economic Development Center, currently located at 1285 Acushnet Avenue, fosters economic justice in the local economy through people-centered development, with a focus on community members who have recently immigrated here. They connect youth and adults to skill-building opportunities and resources. They also help foster community networks and collaborations to promote cooperative action for social change. The CEDC will relocate to a refurbished Capitol and expand their efforts when construction is complete.

“Ensuring that everyone in New Bedford is engaged in every facet of its economic and civic life is our primary goal,” says Corinn Williams, Executive Director of the CEDC. “With this project, we can realize that mission for years to come while anchoring Acushnet Avenue in the city’s future as well as its past.”

Preliminary plans include offering a mix of programs in an opportunity center that can accommodate demand and meet the needs of the diverse North End population. Uses under consideration for this center include textile and culinary incubator spaces, arts and culture studios and workshops, and vocational training programs in Spanish. The greater Acushnet Avenue neighborhood has a large population of Central American, Latino and Hispanic residents who are critical to stabilizing urban areas.

The entire project will also include six retail storefronts and six affordable apartments. Several of the retail locations have already drawn interest; future tenants may include a Vietnamese restaurant and an attorney’s office, joining an existing bodega. When complete, the project will, in effect, return the building to its former prominent place as a commercial destination.

THE CAPITOL TAKES CENTER STAGE ON THE AVE

The Capitol Theater building at 1418-1440 Acushnet Avenue was constructed in 1920 in an early twentieth-century American commercial style. It is a two-story brick building and was originally designed as a multi-use building to include street-level storefronts, second-floor office spaces, and a single-screen, 1500-seat movie theater.

According to research compiled by WHALE, The Capitol Theater building contributed both to the growth and development of the twentieth-century entertainment industry and to the rapid late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century development of the Acushnet Avenue commercial corridor, affectionately known as “The Ave” in New Bedford.

As several mills opened to the north of the old city boundaries of development, hundreds of houses were built along the intersecting streets of the thoroughfare, and hundreds of businesses opened and developed in turn along “The Ave” to provide services and entertainment to the growing population.

The Capitol Theater was constructed for Allen-Charrette, Inc., a local theater company owned and operated by theater proprietors George W. Allen, Jr. and Thomas J. Charrette. Today, the building still bears their names in concrete on the facade of the building.

Much of the block has been vacant since the theater closed in the mid-1970s, and the second floor of the commercial block has been largely vacant since the 1970s/80s. Some of the first-floor storefronts have been occupied until more recently, but four out of the six storefronts are currently vacant. A redemption center is located in one of the storefronts and uses the vacant theater as warehouse space, and a market is located in another storefront.

The commercial block section has undergone a patchwork of interior renovations, and the building has suffered overall from vacancy, lack of maintenance, and, particularly in the theater block section, considerable water infiltration. The building currently ranges from fair to very poor condition.

Still, the Capitol Theater is one of only a few surviving theater buildings in New Bedford. While over twenty theaters opened here during the first quarter of the twentieth century, the Capitol Theater building is one of only five surviving theater buildings in the city, and one of only two located in the north end. (The other is the former Strand Theater, now also under WHALE’s care and under renovation for use as a fully-functioning Cape Verdean Cultural Center.)

The Capitol Theater’s location on Acushnet Avenue is significant as you travel the street. It’s renovation will have a large visual impact on the streetscape. Yet, it is the project’s social and economic impact which will make it transformative in this neighborhood, as WHALE well knows from its impeccable planning before beginning any project.

A Capitol Theater restoration deserves a capital fund-raising effort, and 2020 will be devoted toward bringing this vision to life on “The Ave.” In addition to historic tax credits, additional CPA funding and other preservation funding, an appeal will be launched for private donations.

The CEDC is one of a handful of community development centers that was chosen by Massachusetts to receive tax credit allocations. What this means is that as a donor of $1,000 or more, you will receive a 50% state tax credit on top of the federal tax deduction. Effectively, a donation of $1,000 is reduced to an out-of-pocket $325 contribution due to this tax provision.

WHALE, too is a beneficiary of this tax credit. In partnership with the CEDC on the Capitol Theater project, a variety of fundraising measures and appeals will help each reach their goal of a restored Capitol Theater community hub for New Bedford’s north end within two years.

Quinn Fisheries buys six of Carlos Rafael’s scallop boats

NEW BEDFORD — Quinn Fisheries, a father and son who own six city fishing boats and who are expanding into their other waterfront operations, has purchased six of Carlos Rafael’s 11 scallop vessels.

According to Undercurrents, a fishing industry publication, the acquisition was confirmed by Michael Quinn, the operations manager and co-owner of the company with his father Charlie Quinn. The purchase doubles the size of their scallop fleet to 12 and will cost the company about $40 million.

Mayor Jon Mitchell announced the purchase at a hastily announced 3:30 press conference Wednesday afternoon. The mayor had sought to keep the bulk of Rafael’s boats in New Bedford after federal courts ordered the fleet owner to get out of the fishing industry after he was convicted of falsifying fishing records. He is currently serving a nearly 4-year federal prison sentence at Fort Devens.

“With the Quinn family’s acquisition of Carlos Rafael’s scallopers and related permits, New Bedford can be assured that a major piece of Rafael’s fishing business will remain here, as we have advocated all along,” Mitchell said in a statement released later in the afternoon. “The Quinns are a widely respected local fishing family that continue to reinvest in the port, and create and retain good paying jobs.”

The Quinns made news in July when their company, Shoreline Resources, LLC, purchased the 14-acre Revere Copper Products property on the waterfront for $50,000. They plan on turning the former copper products factor on North Front Street into a commercial shipyard for both shipbuilding and repairs.

According to Undercurrent, the Quinns had a previous deal to buy seven of Rafael’s vessels for nearly $46 million in August. BASE’s seafood auction owners Richie and Raymond Canastra attempted to block the agreement as part of an apparent attempt to acquire the same vessels, according to Undercurrent News. A Bristol County court associate judge blocked a restraining order, freeing up the Quinns and Rafael to complete their purchase.

The new vessels acquired include the Acores, Athena, Apollo, Gypsy Girl, Hera II and Villa Novo Do II, according to Mitchell’s statement.

Original story here.

$18M Plumbers’ Supply headquarters opens in New Bedford Business Park

NEW BEDFORD — Plumbers’ Supply Company’s $18 million distribution facility and corporate headquarters in the New Bedford Business Park is officially operational.

The company held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at their new 175,000 square foot building on Thursday as part of the Greater New Bedford Industrial Foundation’s annual meeting.

The building is comprised of 20,000 square feet of office/training space and 155,000 square feet of warehouse space, according to Kevin Jones, who owns the company with other members of his family.

Jones said constructing the new building “was by far the largest undertaking in the history of our company.”

“This facility here is twice the size of our previous headquarters and should allow our company to add additional branches in the state which in turn we think will transfer to more good jobs in New Bedford,” Jones said.

Currently their facility will house 45 employees between their warehouse team and those working in the office, according to Jones.

The company has 20 locations — 17 wholesale and three kitchen and bath centers — in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire.

A news release sent out by the city of New Bedford in advance of the ribbon-cutting described Plumbers’ Supply as a “New Bedford-based, family-owned plumbing, heating, and HVAC distribution business that was founded in New Bedford in the late 1800s.”

Mayor Jon Mitchell noted the company’s long history with the city at Thursday’s event. “I want to congratulate and thank the Jones family for investing in New Bedford and reinvesting in New Bedford. It’s a really great legacy going all the way back to the 1880s as Plumbers’ Supply and the Jones family since..the early 70s or so.”

“If business is good to New Bedford, New Bedford will be good to you in the long run in ways that you might not anticipate,” Mitchell added.

Jones specifically thanked the City Council and Mayor Jon Mitchell for “the approval of the TIF which was essential in making this project a reality.”

TIF stands for Tax Increment Financing and the New Bedford Economic Development Council describes it on their website as a program where “participating companies receive favorable state and local tax treatment in exchange for job creation and commitments for private investment.”

Members of the New Bedford Economic Council and the Greater New Bedford Industrial Foundation were present at the ribbon-cutting and they highlighted the fact that 41 businesses are located in the business park and the arrival of Plumbers’ Supply only leaves them with one lot left to fill, which they’re already in negotiations to do.

“The city of New Bedford is prepared to support business expansion,” Mitchell said. “We want you to succeed.”

The Jones family wants to do just that. “We’re hoping to welcome you back in a few years for our expansion,” Jones said.

Orginal story here

$15M-plus building slated for Union Street in downtown New Bedford

Downtown is well on its way to getting a noticeable addition.

A proposal to build a five-story, $15 million to $17 million mixed commercial and residential building at the corner of Union and North Second Streets has received the necessary permits from the Planning Board, the Zoning Board of Appeals, and the Historical Commission, according to City Planner Tabitha Harkin.

“It’s a project we support because it adds residential density to the downtown, will add some retail space on the ground floor, and it has an architecturally appealing design,” said Mayor Jon Mitchell. “It remains to be seen whether the developer can finance the project, but it’s certainly one that we support because it fits with what we’re trying to do along the Union Street corner.”

Constructing the proposed 42,650-square-foot building would require the demolition of several single-story buildings currently located at the site on the corner of Union and North Second streets. The demolition permit still needs to be approved, said Harkin.

“All the one-story buildings on the property are just old retail buildings; they have no historical significance to them and they are in very poor condition,” said Michael Galasso, executive director of the New Bedford Development Corporation and the project’s developer.

The five-story building constructed in their place would have 42 residential rental units with a cafe/restaurant and coworking space on the ground floor, according to Galasso.

The residential units will include microunits, studios, and one- and two-bedroom apartments, said Galasso, and five of them will be completely handicap-accessible.

“This project is intended to provide housing for the downtown workforce, that is our main market,” explained Galasso, “We see that as a growing market.”

One of the reasons the market is growing, said Galasso, is because more office space is being leased downtown and the offshore wind industry will be bringing in new workers.

The rates for rent have not yet been decided, but Galasso said a portion of the building is going to be affordable housing and the rest will be market-rate.

When reached for comment about the project in her ward, Councilor Dana Rebeiro said, “I’m interested to see if the affordable housing is forever or just for the first three years and what they consider ‘affordable.’”

In addition to the affordability of the housing, Galasso has to consider how the building will fit in with the historic nature of the city’s downtown.

Galasso said the brick facade, the size of the windows, the scale of the building, and material they plan to use are all in keeping with the downtown aesthetic.

“We wanted a building that had some modern feel to it, but was done in a very historic way,” he said.

117 Union Historic Comm Presentation by Standard-Times on Scribd

The modern aspects of the building will include a contemporary design of the interior with a community kitchen and patio overlooking the harbor on the fifth floor, said Galasso, and microunits that are fully furnished with high-end amenities (including kitchenettes).

The design is also meant to encourage people walking by the building to come inside.

“It’s very important that the first floor is very transparent so people that are walking by would get excited and want to come in whether it’s the lobby area or restaurant,” Galasso said.

He referenced the Seaport District in Boston as inspiration for the design, that also includes outdoor seating for its cafe.

Another proposed modern aspect of the building is resident access to a shared electric vehicle and a bike-sharing program, said Galasso.

The current plan only includes the construction of one handicapped parking space, even though a residential building this size would normally require a total of 106 parking spaces.

The proposal received a special grant for reduction in parking, according to Harkin, because “there’s ample parking downtown” with the parking garages.

Rebeiro said she is also concerned about the effect of adding people in what she described as an already dense area, but she did say she likes the car and bike sharing ideas.

“I think it takes away from the problem of too many cars parking downtown,” said Rebeiro.

Mitchell said he doesn’t think parking will be a problem for residents, “The city in the weeks ahead will announce a new parking study that will really pave the way for better parking management in the long run, that will emphasize the use of the garages.”

Going forward the developer has to close the purchase of the properties on Union and North Second streets, which he said he expects to do by the end of this week, and look for financing for the project.

Galasso said the project includes redeveloping the Moby Dick building next door into 8 studio apartments and a restaurant. He still needs to go through the permitting process for that part of the plan.

Once the project is financed through a “combination of conventional financing using some tax credits and funds from the city and from the state,” which Galasso said will take six months, construction on the new building will begin.

Galasso said they’re aiming to complete construction by the end of 2020/early 2021.

“This is potentially a real catalyst for downtown to create millennial focused-housing… and activate a street corner that has been inactive for a long time,” said Harkin.

“We really wanted to set the mark high for future development in downtown and I think we’ve really achieved that,” he said.

Follow Kiernan Dunlop on Twitter @KiernanD_SCT

Original story here.

Proposal to turn New Bedford Armory into apartments

By Kiernan Dunlop

The city’s own castle, the New Bedford Armory, may have a chance at a new life after sitting unused for nearly two decades.

Winter Real Estate Investors has submitted a proposal with the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance to turn the state-owned buildings into apartments and storage units, while maintaining their historical features, according to WREI President Gregory Winter.

The state held an open request for proposals for the property, 989 Pleasant St., that were due in April. WREI was the only company to respond.

The armory was opened in 1904; it consists of the castle-like headhouse, a drill hall, an operations maintenance shop, and a garage. The building housed some form of the Massachusetts National Guard for most of its history, but was closed by the state in 2003.

Since then, the state has put the building up for auction at various times, as previously reported by The Standard Times, but none was successful.

WREI’s proposal would redevelop the headhouse into nine apartments, according to White: two studios, three one-bedrooms, three two-bedroom, and one three-bedroom.

Winter said rent would range from $1,000 to $2,100 per month based on their size.

The drill hall and operations maintenance building would be transformed into self-storage facilities. The proposal states “the drill hall’s dimensions work very well for this adaptive re-use while allowing for the preservation of the historical exterior.”

Since the proposal was submitted, however, Winter has said, “we’ll be studying very hard during the due diligence whether self storage is in fact going to work.”

Due diligence is a 90-day period where the developer is allowed to enter the site and determine the feasibility of the plans.

Winter said during that time they will decide if the building can structurally handle the weight incurred by storage units and if the site is identifiable enough to draw in customers.

If WREI decides to move forward with the storage units, Winter said the two buildings would house approximately 270.

The garage would be used for parking for armory residents.

Since the headhouse was vacated in 2003, it has experienced significant damage to the interior, most of which was caused by a fire in 2009.

“Water has been soaking the wooden structure for over 10 years,” said White, “and that’s led to pretty significant concerns as to whether (we’re) going to be able to keep the structure or do a total gut rehab.”

Winter said they submitted a total budget of $8.7 million, but now says “we’re going to spend more than that by a pretty handsome margin based on what we’ve learned about the conditions of the building.”

When asked why he decided to take on the project, Winter, whose resume includes the renovation of the Prudential Center in Boston, said, “I think it’s a beautiful historic building and I like working on challenging projects; this project presents more than its fair share of challenges.”

Winter won’t be taking on those challenges alone, Cruz Companies will act as the construction manager, DBVW Architects of Providence as the preservation architect, and various others will act as engineers and consultants for the project.

John Cruz, the president of Cruz Companies, said, “for me this was a golden opportunity to start the base of the construction division in the New Bedford area.”

They plan to open up a construction office in New Bedford as part of a larger plan for the company to do more in the Southeastern region of the state, said Cruz.

He also explained that he loves working on historical buildings.“I particularly think that one of the reasons New Bedford is going to make a comeback is because it’s a city that hasn’t lost its historic fabric.”

The armory project will require working with the city and state to receive historic preservation, new market, and housing development incentive program tax credits, according to White.

White’s Permitting Attorney, John A. Markey Jr. explained it’s still too early to know what city departments will be involved in the process, but it could possibly include the Historical Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals, Planning Board, and City Council.

Markey said going forward they want to work closely with the mayor, City Council and state legislators.

State Sen. Mark Montigny has supported the redevelopment of the armory in the past and “is encouraged by the most recent developer’s interest,” according to spokesperson Audra Riding.

Mayor Jon Mitchell said WREI’s proposal is “good news” in a statement and that the armory “is an architecturally significant building that holds an important place in the city’s history.”

“I also appreciate the information Winter Real Estate has provided to city staff about their plans for the armory,” said Mitchell, “and we look forward to working more with them as the project progresses.”

If everything goes according to WREI’s proposal, the redevelopment of the armory could be completed as early as February 2021.

Follow Kiernan Dunlop on Twitter @KiernanD_SCT.

Original story here.

State awards New Bedford Port Authority, UMass Dartmouth combined $390K

BOSTON — The state awarded $6.4 million in grants Wednesday, including $390,000 for projects in SouthCoast for revitalization and business development.

Seaport Economic Council grants awarded include $150,000 for the creation of a regional marine science and technology collaborative to encourage growth in relevant industries at UMass Dartmouth and the SouthCoast Development Partnership and $240,000 for planning of the redevelopment of a waterfront property in New Bedford.

“This region’s historic connection to the ocean is a powerful unifying asset,” said Hugh Dunn, Executive Director of Economic Development at UMD, in a statement. “This project is designed to identify and marshal our marine economy assets to expand economic opportunity. To date, nothing of this scale has been executed on the Atlantic Coast.”

The funding will create an environment where relevant regional institutions, businesses, and universities can collaboratively develop the Southeastern Massachusetts Marine Science and Technology Corridor, according to a news release.

“I want to thank the Baker-Polito Administration for supporting UMass Dartmouth and our region as we develop our blue economy corridor from Rhode Island to Cape Cod,” said UMD Chancellor Robert E. Johnson in a statement. “In awarding this grant, the Seaport Economic Council is demonstrating the Commonwealth’s commitment to an industry sector that can transform our economy.”

Plumbers’ Supply is building one of the largest facilities in the New Bedford Business Park

NEW BEDFORD — Plumbers’ Supply’s footprint in the city is growing.

Motorists entering New Bedford from the north at night undoubtedly spot the neon glare of water spouting out of the faucet on the front of the Plumbers’ Supply store.

Further south on Water Street, the 19th Century version of Plumbers’ Supply is now apartments. In the North End, its warehouse is located on Church Street.

By the end of next summer a new 175,000 square foot building will be completed in the Far North End Business Park.

Mayor Jon Mitchell toured the construction site on Wednesday.

“For us, we have a lot of great employees and we didn’t want to stray too far,” co-owner Brian Jones said. “So when this opportunity came along, it’s a five minute commute. We don’t expect to lose an employee, that certainly appealed to us.”

In fact, the move and expansion should lead to the creation of at least seven jobs, Jones said.

“Our hope is we blow past that,” Jones said.

Plumbers’ Supply’s current warehouse measures 85,000 square feet with ceilings 16 feet high. The new warehouse will encompass about 155,000 square feet with about 30-foot ceilings. The remaining 20,000 square feet will be used for its corporate headquarters, which is already located in New Bedford.

“We want make use of every square inch of this park,” Mitchell said. ”… All this effort is about keeping and growing jobs but also fully utilizing what we have. New Bedford is fairly land constrained.”

Every parcel in the business park is either built on, under construction or under agreement, Mitchell said. The Plumbers’ Supply plot is the largest in the industrial park at 45 acres. Currently, the $18 million project is the third largest facility in the park. However, the company could potentially expand the warehouse to 300,000 square feet, which would be by far the largest, Derek Santos, executive director of the Economic Development Council, said.

“This gives us more than enough than we need in the near term,” Jones said.

Jones’ uncle, Jay, took ownership of the company in April 1977. More than 40 years later, Jay’s brother, his son, and three nephews are a part of Plumbers’ Supply. Development for the move to the far North End began in September of 2017. Ground broke earlier this summer.

“The city has been great to us,” Brian Jones said. “It’s three generations strong.”

Follow Michael Bonner on Twitter @MikeBBonnerSCT

MassDevelopment issues $132M bond for UMD project

MassDevelopment has issued a $132,185,000 tax-exempt bond to help build, furnish and equip a five-story, 306,900-square-foot residence hall at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

The new facility, which will house approximately 1,210, mostly first-year students, will include a dining hall and space for student activities and academic support. The residence hall will replace an existing dormitory, built in the 1970s, which the university will demolish once the new facility is opened.

The bond was issued on behalf of Provident Commonwealth Education Resources II Inc., a public-private partnership, according to a news release.

PCER is a nonprofit corporation created by Provident Resources Group Inc., the University of Massachusetts Building Authority, and Greystar GEDR Development LLC. PCER will enter into a long-term ground lease with UMBA for the land on which the building will be located, and will finance, construct, own, and operate the dormitory. The university will participate in the management and operation of the dormitory through its participation on the Project Operations Committee and through its residential life programs. Once PCER’s ground lease expires, ownership will revert to UMBA for the benefit of UMD.

“Our students will benefit from these investments in quality living and learning facilities that will prepare them to succeed in a rapidly changing, highly competitive global economy,” said UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Robert E. Johnson in a statement. “When combined with our first-rate faculty, these facilities will guarantee our students the private college educational experience and public university value they so deserve.”