South End of New Bedford – Reclaimed Berkshire Hathaway Mills Provide Space for Hundreds of Jobs

Opportunities for Success, Growth Abound at Diverse Cove Street Complex
New Bedford Economic Development Council

A diverse mix of 40 manufacturing, office and industrial tenants occupy the former Berkshire Hathaway mills and there’s still substantial space available for sale or rent, according to Roland Letendre, developer.
The complex boasts an array of uses ranging from an architectural salvage and antiques company to importers of Portuguese fishing nets, Chinese antiques and furniture replicas, an electric motor scooter warehouse facility and a plant that provides packaging to the fishing industry.
“Historic buildings in general have a lot of character and are ideal places to house your businesses,” said Letendre, who bought the one million square feet of space back in 2000. Dating back to the late 1880’s, the site’s 30 buildings spanned across 17 acres and the company employed more than 5,000 textile workers. Investor Warren Buffet gained control of the company in 1965 and closed the mill operation 20 years later.
Times have changed but the ethics and loyalty of the city’s employees remain intact. “The work force in New Bedford is excellent and many of our tenants are long standing and their companies keep growing,” Letendre said. Other pluses of the location include its proximity to beaches and water views, neighboring farm and coastal communities, easy access to Route 18 and other highways, ample parking and limited traffic.
“The whole south end area is great,” Letendre said. “It’s near downtown but not in the middle of it. This is a hub zone and as such, special consideration is given by government agencies to companies when bidding on contracts that are located in this zone.”
The Division of Marine Fisheries is among the agencies to recently rent space. Additional examples of tenants include a photographer, a medical practice supply warehouse, a surveyor and bookkeeper, and Letendre’s company, a leather goods manufacturer that supplies equestrian riding products as well as saddlebags and riding chaps for motorcycles to vendors nationwide.
“There’s ample, affordable space and a lot of opportunities here,” Letendre said, adding that it wouldn’t be unheard of to add a restaurant or artist’s apartment/studio into the mix. Letendre is looking for buyers to purchase or rent the buildings.
In the past, the New Bedford Economic Development Council has provided assistance and Letendre expects that partnership to continue. “It made a huge difference having the NBEDC involved and helping with financing. They are an asset to the city.”
September 24, 2007

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