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All In a Day’s Work

November 2, 2011 : Real Estate Bisnow

When Marty Jones stepped into one of the state's most powerful real estate jobs in June as president and CEO of MassDevelopment (it generated nearly $3.7B in investment in fiscal year ’11), she knew she had landed in a special spot.

Last week's ULI conference and pre-winter snowstorm reminded her of how unique her job is, she told us yesterday. At ULI, Marty couldn't find another agency that does financing and real estate development like MassDevelopment. Take Friday: The agency announced that it closed on $6.5M in New Market Tax Credits and a $3M loan, which with additional funding from Eastern Bank enables the renovation of 146k SF and construction of 64k SF of new space at the Riverwalk Mill in Lawrence, a city struggling economically. Meanwhile, since Mass Development is the landlord of the 4M SF of residential and commercial space developed at Devens, she worried during Saturday’s snowstorm about getting the lights turned back on and the heat cranking; it took just five hours.

We snapped Marty with Zoe Agnew and Zach Greene, two of her 175-person staff which is using real estate development to bolster weak spots in the state economy. They tackle projects like the $11M renovation, leasing, and management of 1550 Main St, a key office building in downtown Springfield. But the small jobs are just as important: Marty says it issued $2.6M in bonds earlier this year to the Pratt family so it could build a plant to fabricate stone from their land in the Berkshires. As Ashfield Stone, the family sells it for countertops, floor tiles, and other finishes.

We snapped David Bancroft, Don LeShane, and Benny Wong, part of the finance team for the quasi-public agency. It is working with state agencies on Massachusetts's first statewide economic development plan to help all regions grow as robustly as Boston. Then tomorrow, some staff will huddle with the Massachusetts Cultural Council on grants for arts groups. Marty also wants to help expand the state's manufacturing base. After 30 years with developer Corcoran Jennison (where eventually Marty was president) she has the development, management, and financial expertise. As a new empty nester (one of her girls just left for college and the other is in Bali), she has time to learn the rest.

© Copyright 2011 Real Estate Bisnow.