Real Estate Developers Find Treasures in Downtown New Bedford

Jessica Raimondi, Standard-Times special. New Renaissance Realty developer Jim Muse led the remodeling of the former Standard-Times building into luxury apartments.

New Bedford – Two real estate developers have recently made major investments in New Bedford’s downtown with the purchase of a building in the middle of the Whaling National Historic Park at Five Dover Street and another with the rehabilitation of the former Standard-Times and Boys Club buildings at Purchase and Market Street into luxury condominiums.
Burgess Properties, Inc., one of greater Boston’s premier commercial real estate firms, will be opening a SouthCoast office in the 22,000 SF office building situated in the middle of the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park. The building is 90% leased to several prestigious tenants such as C. Raymond Hunt Associates and The South Coast Learning Network. The property was brokered by Jeff Pontiff of E.J. Pontiff Real Estate with a purchase price of just under $1.2 million.
Phillip K. Burgess, president Burgess Properties, Inc., said the company had been interested in expanding operations into the SouthCoast market for a few years “as this region is seeing more real growth in housing, retail and population than any other area of Massachusetts. The entire Route 195 corridor, from Fall River to New Bedford is booming. When Five Dover Street presented itself, it seemed like the right opportunity.”
Over the past five years, in and around the Whaling National Historical Park, there has been an explosion of historic condominium rehab projects, new restaurants and a vibrant arts community. Last November, the federal government presented a $6,000,000.00 grant for the rehabilitation of one of the largest buildings in the Park into a new interpretative center and visitor headquarters, construction on which is already underway.
These reasons, coupled with the fact that one of America’s premier yacht designers, C. Raymond Hunt Associates (www.huntyachts.com) just moved its offices from Boston’s waterfront into the property last fall, are why Burgess Properties decided that this was the right deal for them to move on.
“We have opened a New Bedford office in Five Dover Street to service our existing New Bedford exclusive listings, several of which are part to the former Interstate Bakeries (Sunbeam Bread) portfolio that was purchased by a Boston-based investor group last fall. In addition to these properties, we have also secured a number of other industrial and office listings. We are very excited about the region and the opportunities we are finding here. The New Bedford renaissance is real,” Mr. Burgess said.
A few blocks away there was cause for celebration recently when the City of New Bedford and real estate developer New Renaissance Realty, Bristol County Savings Bank, Stephen Kelleher Architects, Caldwell Residential Real Estate, and others opened the Market Street Condominiums. The condos, located in the heart of downtown New Bedford, will provide 17 condos, along with 3500 square feet of retail and commercial space.
The Market Street Condominiums have been renovated into luxury units ranging in size from 1500-3000 square feet featuring every modern amenity while preserving the Victorian charm. “This project is a prime example of adaptive reuse of historical buildings by the private sector,” said Jim Muse, president and CEO of New Renaissance Realty.
“This project, a true public-private partnership, will build our residency base and promote urban living. A 24-hour population in the downtown area will spur economic development and will serve as a model for a 21st-century environmentally friendly lifestyle,” said Mayor Scott W. Lang.
New Renaissance Realty has redeveloped three additional historic buildings including the former Smith Office Supply, the Tabor Market Building, and the former Jimmy Conners Building. These projects have transformed vacant, run-down properties that once failed to generate substantial tax revenue into vibrant commercial and residential space that is subsequently encouraged further investment in the downtown area.
The redevelopment of the Market Street building has yielded more than 45 new jobs in the areas of education, food service, technology, real estate and banking. New Renaissance Realty takes pride in having given first preference and employment contracts to New Bedford and SouthCoast area companies and residents.
“Bristol County is one of the fastest growing areas in the state. Now, New Bedford provides young professionals and baby boomers looking to move out of the suburbs and into an urban center, many amenities including a world-class performing arts center, outstanding restaurants and galleries, all situated in a historic waterfront setting and within walking distance,” said New Bedford Economic Development Council executive director Matthew A. Morrissey.
New Renaissance Realty is a wholly own subsidiary of Buyer’s Professional Real Estate Services Inc. They are particularly proud of the recognition they have received from the New Bedford Preservation Society and The Waterfront Historic League (WHALE) and Downtown New Bedford Inc. They are committed to continuing to preserve New Bedford’s History and to positively impact the city’s economy.
For more information about the Market Street condominiums call Maureen Cavanaugh (508) 965-5877 or visit www.newbedfordrealty.com.

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