Road extension will open up new land in New Bedford business park

newsletter-110-5NEW BEDFORD — An access road is being built in the New Bedford Business Park that will open up a 54-acre lot for new development, including possible future offshore wind partners.
The 800- to 900-foot extension of Flaherty Drive is expected to be completed by the end of June.
“It will open up an area we can market for economic development,” said Ron Labelle, the city commissioner of the Department of Public Infrastructure who said work is continuing on the road every day from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
“It’s a beautiful area,” said Thomas Davis, executive director of the Greater New Bedford Industrial Foundation. The space the new road will open up is in the southernmost part of the park by the Acushnet Cedar Swamp with protected land on three sides.
The industrial foundation runs the business park.
Davis said he hopes to market the property to a biotech or software company that could build a campus there. It could create 100 construction jobs and 500 long-term jobs.
“It could be a very nice campus for one company with a great view from the top floor,” he said.
The $3 million project started last year includes roadwork, as well as extension of water, sewer, gas, electric and telecommunications services. It was funded by a combination of state and city economic development funds, Labelle said.
With the city officially breaking ground Monday on a $100 million marine commerce port meant to make New Bedford the go-to location for offshore wind, space in the park could also be used by future offshore wind development partners.
“It’s bigtime on the radar,” Davis said. “It won’t happen in the next year but medium-term and long term, this is really big.”
The city recently hired a consultant to identify companies in the region that could benefit from the offshore wind project. While the study will take several months, Davis said there are several power companies that could be interested “in a big way,” as well as existing businesses in the park with spare acreage that could become suppliers or expand.
The offshore wind industry “is big for New Bedford and it’ll be big for a lot of companies in the business park.”
Despite a very challenging marketing environment since the 2008 recession, 10 new companies came to the park and seven existing companies expanded, Davis said in a column earlier this year.
The focus on continuously improving the park and attracting and retaining high-quality companies has resulted in significant growth since 1998. Companies in the park have grown from 18 to 43 and jobs in the park have increased from 1,500 to 4,500, according to reports.
For the future, there is a potential to create more jobs and business within the next five to 10 years by leasing or selling available buildings and the remaining 150 acres of developable land available, according to Davis’ guest editorial.
Source: The Standard Times
By Auditi Guha
Photographer: Peter Pereira
May 08, 2013 12:00 AM
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