MassDevelopment CEO Culver and Mayor Bissonnette Announce $100,000 for Uniroyal/Facemate Clean-Up

October 20, 2009

Mark Sternman, MassDevelopment, 617-330-2034
Tom Haberlin, City of Chicopee, 413-594-1486

MassDevelopment President and CEO Robert L. Culver joined Chicopee Mayor Michael Bissonnette today to announce that MassDevelopment, through its Brownfields Redevelopment Fund, has awarded up to $100,000 to assess contamination levels at the former Uniroyal Tire and Facemate properties. The sites have been designated a Priority Project by MassDevelopment, meaning a maximum brownfields award of up to $2 million could be available to remediate and prepare the site for development.

“This award marks another successful collaboration between the Agency and the City of Chicopee, which has recently shown its ability to attract up-and-coming businesses like Qteros,” Culver said. “Redeveloping this 65-acre site is another push in the right direction to spark developer interest in what Chicopee has to offer. The brownfields fund is a proven economic development tool, and in this case, cleaning up these properties will have a profound economic impact on both the city and the region.”

The Priority Project Program targets sites which municipalities have prioritized for redevelopment, and where reuse would be viable except for the obstacle of environmental contamination. The city has made it a top economic priority to redevelop the site, which will become the backbone of the City's Chicopee Falls neighborhood. Chicopee has performed periodic environmental assessment and cleanup work over the years, but the Priority Project designation and funding will allow for a comprehensive environmental site and building assessment. Remediation and demolition will then prepare the site for mixed-use redevelopment.

“Today marks the beginning of the end for a complex of buildings that for generations meant so much to Chicopee’s economy and social fabric. It is our goal, working with public and private sector partners, to provide a vision for the reuse of this property that rivals its glorious past,” said Mayor Bissonnette. “I look forward to continuing our working relationship with MassDevelopment and I want to personally thank the many of you here today and those unable to attend who played such a pivotal role in making such quick progress on a very complicated redevelopment project.”

Buildings on the Uniroyal site have been vacant and deteriorating for almost 30 years. MassDevelopment plans to demolish six of the 16 buildings at the Uniroyal property, most of which are more than 100 years old. MassDevelopment will provide construction oversight, and GZA GeoEnvironmental will help remove and dispose of asbestos and demolition debris removal. Project bids opened last week, and demolition and clean-up is scheduled to be completed by April 30, 2010.

MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development authority, works with businesses, financial institutions, and local officials to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2008, MassDevelopment financed or managed 265 projects statewide representing an investment of more than $3 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are supporting the creation of 4,001 housing units and more than 10,384 jobs: 5,424 permanent and 4,960 construction-related.