On January 23, 2020, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy, and MassDevelopment President and CEO Lauren Liss joined Boston Chief of Housing and Neighborhood Development Sheila Dillon, Brownfields Advisory Group Chair and President and CEO of MACDC Joe Kriesberg, Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation (JPNDC) Executive Director Richard Thal, and state and local officials to announce over $2.6 million in Brownfields Redevelopment Fund awards to support the environmental assessment and cleanup of 16 contaminated and challenging sites across the Commonwealth.
“The Commonwealth’s Brownfields Redevelopment Fund is a key tool in righting environmental justice wrongs and in helping community development projects cross the finish line,” said Representative Liz Malia. “So many formerly blighted parcels in my district would be bad neighbors to this day, if not for the Brownfields Fund’s invaluable technical assistance and grants. I thank the Administration and MassDevelopment for continuing to prioritize the fund and to put it to good use statewide.”
Once complete, the 16 projects are projected to redevelop 44.3 acres, create or preserve 682 housing units, and provide 1,625 full-time, part-time, and construction jobs.
“The Brownfields Redevelopment Fund breathes life into vacant or underused properties where redevelopment may be complicated by environmental contamination,” said Baker. “Today’s awards will provide communities with the resources they need to transform some of the state’s most challenging sites, clearing the way for much-needed new housing units and opening the door for new jobs across the Commonwealth.”
MassDevelopment oversees the Brownfields Redevelopment Fund, which helps to transform vacant, abandoned, or underused industrial or commercial properties by financing the environmental assessment and remediation of brownfield sites in “Economically Distressed Areas” of the Commonwealth.
“I want to thank the Administration for this funding, which will enable the City of Boston to move forward with the much needed revitalization at these six project sites,” said Walsh. “Through this partnership on brownfield remediation, we’re excited that we’ll be able to move forward with the creation and preservation of hundreds of units of affordable housing. I look forward to our continued work ahead to transform these blighted properties into homes for our residents.”
Since the Brownfields Redevelopment Fund’s inception in 1998, it has supported 743 awards for a total investment of more than $107 million.
“Along with other state resources like MassWorks and the Site Readiness Program, the Brownfields Redevelopment Fund helps municipalities unlock key sites and set the stage for economic development to occur,” said Karyn Polito. “We are proud to help cities, towns and other local economic development partners overcome barriers to growth, and to bring projects to completion.”
The awards announcement took place at the Hattie Kelton Apartments, a 47-unit affordable housing facility in Jamaica Plain. JPNDC received a $36,000 award from the Brownfields Redevelopment Fund in 2015 to conduct an environmental site assessment of this site. The organization is receiving funds this year as a member of Jackson Square Partnership LLC to remediate properties at 25 Amory Street and 250 Centre Street, which will host two housing developments creating 154 mixed-income housing units, 88 of which will be affordable.
“We can’t overstate the importance of Brownfields funding to Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation’s ability to create affordable housing,” said Thal. “As is the case with many past projects, the homes we’re about to break ground on in Jackson Square would not happen without it.”
“We are thrilled to see these investments in community driven projects across the Commonwealth,” said Joseph Kriesberg, President of the Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations and Chair of the Brownfields Advisory Group. “The Brownfields Redevelopment Fund provides critical early stage capital to clean up our neighborhoods and unlock their true economic potential. Community development corporations would be unable to complete these important projects without this vital funding.”
The following municipalities and organizations received Brownfields Redevelopment Fund awards in FY20:
- 25 Amory and 250 Centre Street, Boston, $250,000
Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation, a member of Jackson Square Partners LLC, will use funds to remediate the Jackson Square Redevelopment Initiative Site III, which will host two housing developments creating 154 mixed-income housing units, 88 of which will be affordable.
- 137 Amory Street, Boston, $27,000
Urban Edge Housing Corporation will use funds to assess this site in advance of the construction of its Holtzer Park project, a 62-unit affordable housing development.
- 10, 22, 32 Bowdoin Street, Boston, $500,000
Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corporation will use funds to assess and remediate three contiguous parcels of land, allowing for the development of Four Corners Plaza, a proposed 35-unit affordable housing development.
- 191 & 195 Bowdoin Street, Boston, $315,000
Viet-AID will use funds to remediate this site in advance of building 41 affordable housing units.
- 599, 609-627 Columbus Avenue, Boston, $500,000
Fenway Community Development Corporation will use funds to assess and remediate the Newcastle Saranac Apartments, part of the organization’s plan to preserve the complex’s 97 affordable housing units.
- Amory Street Parcel, Boston, $220,100
The City of Boston Department of Neighborhood Development will use funds to assess and remediate this .075-acre parcel, which has the potential to be assembled into an adjacent affordable housing development.
- 62 Academy Street, Fitchburg, $20,000
62 Academy Street, Inc., an affiliate of NewVue Affordable Housing Corporation, will use funds to remediate the former B.F. Brown School in advance of the planned development of 62 units of mixed-income artist live/work units that will be known as the Fitchburg Arts Community.
- 80 Lunenburg Street, Fitchburg, $67,000
The City will use funds to remediate this vacant 1.3-acre lot near downtown Fitchburg, as it continues to market the site for a mixed-use commercial redevelopment.
- 246-248 Central Street, Gardner, $19,148
NewVue Affordable Housing Corporation will use funds to remediate this site, which will then be redeveloped into a veterans’ housing and outreach center.
- 206 Main & 5 Elm Streets, Gloucester, $150,000
The North Shore Community Development Coalition (CDC) will use funds to assess and remediate the site of the former Cameron’s Restaurant. The North Shore CDC together with Action, Inc. have proposed a new, four-story building with 30 affordable housing units and 2,500 square feet of ground-floor retail space.
- 8 & 10 Maple Street, Kingston, $52,028
The Town will use funds to assess contamination from the former Hergot Oil site to improve its marketability to the private sector for a senior housing development.
- 207 Marston Street, Lawrence, $250,000
The City will use funds to remediate the 11.3-acre former Tombarello junkyard, with the goal of creating a site that could support a variety of development options including retail, commercial, and light industrial uses.
- 262 Broadway, North Attleborough, $81,000
The Town will use funds to assess this 1.64-acre privately owned site, which contains the 40,000-square-foot, partially collapsed Webster Mill, a former silver plating facility. Re-use of this site, located at the edge of downtown, will be targeted to include an affordable housing development.
- 47 Elm Street, Norton, $100,000
The Town will use funds to assess the 16.25-acre former Reed & Barton site, which has been vacant since 2007. Re-use of this site will be targeted to accommodate a mixed-use development.
- 3280 County Street, Somerset, $45,000
The Town will use funds to assess this former gas station prior to seeking commercial or industrial redevelopment of the site.
- 12 North Main Street, Westford, $64,500
The Town will use funds to assess this 1.5-acre site, which contains an historic, 32,000-square-foot mill building formerly home to Westford Anodizing. The Town seeks to preserve the mill building and incorporate its re-use into a future development plan.
“In the 20-plus years since its creation, the Brownfields Redevelopment Fund has been a proven resource for converting challenging properties into assets for a community,” said Lauren Liss. “MassDevelopment is proud to administer the Fund on behalf of the Commonwealth, and we thank the Baker-Polito Administration and the Legislature for their continued support.”
“Both an environmental and economic development tool, the Brownfields Redevelopment Fund provides early-stage financing for site assessments and cleanup activities that drive development forward,” concluded Kennealy. “Here in Boston and across the state, this program is building vibrancy by revitalizing complex sites into critical housing units, office space, industrial uses, and more.”
Photo courtesy of Office of Governor Charlie Baker.