City Projects Marketed at State-Wide Developers’ Event

City Promotes “Shovel-Ready’ Opportunities
By Joe Cohen Standard-Times Staff Writer

NEW BEDFORD — City officials seeking to encourage developers to take a more detailed look at New Bedford’s “shovel-ready development opportunities” held a show-and-tell Wednesday in Boston at a marketing event staged by the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties.
Twelve Bay State cities that comprise the so-called “Gateway Cities” made presentations at what was billed as a mini-trade show of shovel-ready properties held in the Hyatt Regency, Boston. About 450 people attended, most of whom were involved with commercial real estate development.
New Bedford’s effort was led by Mayor Scott W. Lang and Matthew A. Morrissey, executive director of the New Bedford Economic Development Council.
At the event, Robert L. Culver, president of MassDevelopment, introduced representatives from each of the 12 cities. In talking about New Bedford, Mr. Culver called Mayor Lang “aggressive” and “knowledgeable” when it comes to economic development and working with real estate development groups.
The real estate development association event was marketed as part of “the commonwealth’s plan to boost development beyond Route 128 and (prepare for) the impact of the federal stimulus bill on state projects.”
After the event, Mayor Lang and Mr. Morrissey said they were pleased with the number of contacts they had made with developers, and they came away with the sense that several developers are looking closely at New Bedford for new projects.
Mayor Lang said attending the session was part of his administration’s plan to be “pushing hard all the time” for economic development. He said there was a considerable amount of “buzz” involving New Bedford among the developers, in part because of the city’s recent successes with Fairhaven Mills, Wamsutta Mills and mills along the Acushnet River upper harbor, including Victoria Riverside and Cliftex Mill.
Mayor Lang said he and other city officials manned a kiosk, participated in open sessions and met privately with interested developers. “There was a lot of interest and there were a number of leads” for development opportunities, he said.
Mr. Morrissey said the New Bedford representatives connected with about two dozen developers at the event and talked with others in more general terms.
In a four-color sales brochure, the Economic Development Council included a letter from Mayor Lang that referred to the city’s status as the No. 1 commercial fishing port. “While our history is rich both on land and at sea, it is the city’s future that excites leaders in government, emerging businesses and education,” Mayor Lang wrote.
Cited as completed projects in the brochure were Wamsutta Place, the Coffin Lofts and Whaler’s Place. Cited as “in the pipeline” were the downtown hotel, Victoria Riverview, Fairhaven Mills, the Cummings Building and the Keystone site. The brochure also contained sites billed as ready to go including vacant land and buildings ready for restoration and reuse.
Also included in the brochure were available sites in the New Bedford Business Park.
Contact Joe Cohen at
February 05, 2009
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