By Thomas G. Davis, Executive Director Greater New Bedford Industrial Foundation
Despite the deepest recession since the Great Depression, the New Bedford Business Park has experienced explosive growth during the last three years.
Since January of 2008, 11 new companies have moved into the park and four existing companies have expanded.
Symmetry Medical, a New York Stock Exchange Company from Warsaw, Ind., acquired an 85,000 square-foot facility for the manufacture of orthopedic medical devices.
Symmetry Medical has been in the park for only three years and is already a top-five employer in the park with close to 300 workers.
Konarka Technologies purchased the 257,000 square-foot former Polaroid facility to manufacture lightweight flexible solar plastic films. Konarka has very high-growth potential, and we expect that they will be a top-five employer in the park within three to five years.
Lighthouse Masonry completed a beautiful new 30,000 square-foot headquarters office and supply facility. Lighthouse Masonry has been in the Park for almost three years and is currently a top-10 employer.
Titleist expanded its golf ball plant on the New Bedford side of the park from 187,000 square feet to 225,000 square feet.
Titleist is by far the largest employer in the park with two large golf ball plants and a research facility.
Reinhart Foodservices, which acquired Natco, completed an expansion of its food distribution facility from 82,000 square feet to 116,000 square feet. Reinhart is a top-10 employer in the park. They have increased their workforce by 20 percent since beginning their expansion project.
Morgan Advanced Ceramics, which manufactures state-of-the-art medical device and x-ray components, reconfigured its existing facility to accommodate a significant increase in sales and employment.
Morgan Advanced Ceramics is a top-five employer in the park and expects to increase its workforce by 25 to 50 percent during the next five years. Veolia Energy, which is a multi-billion dollar French company, began operating a 55,000 square-foot thermal energy plant to supply heating, cooling and electricity to Konarka Technologies’ facility.
An affiliate of Gold Peak Industries from Hong Kong leased a 65,000 square-foot plant to manufacture electric motor scooters under the Vectrix brand.
Con Edison Development began construction of a solar farm with 7,000 panels.
And, Massachusetts Mentor, the State Lottery, Stone Experts, Better Image Apparel, Polyneer and Book Enterprises leased a total of 105,000 square feet in three different park buildings.
In total, this new activity has already generated 750 jobs for working families in New Bedford, Dartmouth and the surrounding towns.
The New Bedford Business Park has also become an excellent location for foreign companies. Currently, we have a French, German, Belgium, U.K. and Chinese company in the park.
Also, the business park is now a major center for renewable energy companies and projects. In addition to Konarka’s solar photo-voltaic products, Con Edison Development’s Solar Panel Farm and Vectrix’s electric motor scooters, we have two other renewable energy companies.
Maximum makes sensors for large commercial windmills and Commonwealth Energy takes methane gas that had been flared at the adjacent landfill and uses it to generate 3.5MW’s of electricity. This gas is supplied to park companies.
Also, several renewable energy projects have recently been implemented. Titleist completed a 2MW co-gen plant for its 180,000 square-foot golf ball plant on the Dartmouth side of the park.
Lighthouse Masonry installed solar panels on the half of its roof that faces south-ward. They are the first park company to install solar panels on their roof, and their solar panels supply all of their electricity requirements.
We are also in active discussions with several other renewable energy companies and existing park companies about renewable energy projects.
Looking ahead to 2011, two park companies are planning significant expansions. In addition, we are in discussions with several high-end companies about locating in the park. In summary, as we still have over 250 acres of land left to sell in the park, I am very optimistic about the near-term business expansion and job generating potential of the New Bedford Business Park.
Tom Davis has been the executive director of the Greater New Bedford Industrial Foundation and has managed and marketed the New Bedford Business Park since 1998. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
January 21, 2011