By Joe Cohen
Standard-Times Staff Writer
NEW BEDFORD — The Greater New Bedford Industrial Foundation — which created and operates the New Bedford Business Park — reported Wednesday that 2007 was another year of success in drawing and expanding businesses at the park.
Executive Director Thomas G. Davis cited a string of companies that moved to the park or are growing there, resulting in 1,000 new jobs.
The park is on a roll, he said, having “generated significant job growth in 2006 and 2007, and we expect the park to experience further job growth in 2008 and 2009.”
He was speaking to the annual meeting of the foundation, held at Poyant Signs off Samuel Barnet Boulevard in the park, which is located in the city’s North End and Dartmouth.
“The past two years have been exceptionally strong with regard to activity,” he said noting that in 2006 the park completed three new roads that made available 10 lots for sale.
Among companies locating or expanding in the park in 2007, and which Mr. Davis credited with the creation of 1,000 jobs, were:
* AFC Cable Systems, which completed a new 202,000-square-foot plant.
* Konarka Technologies, which leased 257,000 square feet.
* Lighthouse Masonry, which broke ground on a 30,000-square-foot headquarters and supply facility.
* Titleist, which began a 38,000-square-foot expansion.
* Symmetry Medical, which took over an 82,000-square-foot plant.
* Vectrix, which leased a 65,000-square-foot plant.
* First Highland, which undertook a $1 million modernization of a 118,000-square-foot plant for lease.
* Horacio Tavares, which expanded its plant.
* Zapp Precision Steel, which completed a small addition.
There are currently 4,800 jobs in the park.
Carl Ribeiro, chairman of the foundation, said the Business Park “has been one of the hottest industrial parks in New England.”
He said it “has clearly become the number one economic development engine for the greater New Bedford and Dartmouth area.”
And, he said, “With 200 acres of developable lots left to sell, the New Bedford Business Park has the potential to create 3,000 additional jobs during the next five to 10 years.”
Mr. Ribeiro said the park is succeeding because of its cost-effective location, with lower land, construction and labor costs than greater Boston. In addition, the park offers hassle-free commuting, and cited the quality and work ethic of the regional work force.
He noted the park is only one of two in Massachusetts that has master plan approval, which can streamline permitting and reduce costs.
The foundation was formed in the 1960s as a nonprofit, job-creation entity for Greater New Bedford at a time of very high unemployment. Individual contributions were used as start-up funding and the business park was created. The park has sustained the organization since.
Members of the foundation attending the annual meeting were told the park is in strong financial condition.
Contact Joe Cohen at firstname.lastname@example.org
March 20, 2008
By Joe Cohen