MassDevelopment Lends $1 Million to Complete Renovations to Downtown Leominster Building

Community HealthLink to Move 40 Jobs to Downtown Development Project

August 10, 2010

Kelsey Abbruzzese, MassDevelopment, 617-330-2086

MassDevelopment has provided a $1 million loan from the Agency's New Markets Loan Fund to 40 Spruce Street LLC, a single-purpose entity formed to purchase and renovate the once blighted property at 40 Spruce Street in Leominster. 40 Spruce Street LLC principal James Whitney will use the funds to renovate and outfit space in the building for its new anchor tenant, Community HealthLink, a large multi-faceted human service agency that provides a broad range of services to individuals and families in Central Massachusetts. The project is expected to move 40 jobs to downtown Leominster. This new loan comes on top of a previous New Markets Loan provided by MassDevelopment in the amount of $1,180,000 in 2008 that helped to finance the acquisition and first phase of the redevelopment of this property.

“40 Spruce Street's investment in the ‘Comb and Carriage' district of Leominster has helped revitalize and draw interest to this neighborhood, which is transitioning from an old industrial area to a vibrant commercial district,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Robert L. Culver. “This commitment to Leominster will bring a new tenant to the neighborhood and will bring 40 permanent full-time health care positions to the downtown. We're proud the Agency has helped to support one of the Commonwealth's critical growth industries.”

Whitney has attracted eight new tenants to the building since assuming ownership in 2008. Community HealthLink, an affiliate of UMass/Memorial Health Care, will occupy the previously vacant second floor, a total of 20,000 square feet in the building. Several surrounding properties have already been fully or partially renovated due in part to the upgrade Whitney has made to 40 Spruce Street, while the City of Leominster is using Community Block Grant funds to improve the streets and sidewalks in the area. The Comb and Carriage district is located on the edge of downtown Leominster and these public and private investments represent a major infusion of capital into the neighborhood.

“The signing of this long term lease at Whitney Square, along with the other top-notch tenants, tells me that all the preliminary planning, conceptual ideas, and changes we made as were going along were correct,” Whitney said. “I thank MassDevelopment for its belief in my vision of not only the building, but the potential for the entire neighborhood. I'd like to give a special thanks to my foreman Bob Hass for his continued commitment to this project. With the signing of this lease, Whitney Square will be at 90 percent occupancy.”

MassDevelopment, the state's finance and development authority, works with businesses, financial institutions, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2009, MassDevelopment financed or managed 229 projects statewide representing the investment of nearly $1.2 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are supporting the creation of 1,488 new housing units and 8,232 jobs: 3,362 permanent and 4,870 construction-related.