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MassDevelopment Loans Help New Bedford Developer Buy Downtown Building

July 25, 2012

Kelsey Abbruzzese, MassDevelopment, 617-330-2086 & 617-448-9077 (cell)
Andrew F. Rockett, Candleworks Ventures, 617-548-2205

MassDevelopment has provided $1,445,000 in loans – a $945,000 New Markets Tax Credit real estate loan and $500,000 from the Southeast Revolving Loan Fund – to Candleworks Ventures LLC, a New Bedford real estate holding entity that will use loan proceeds to buy the historic Rodman Candleworks building. The downtown New Bedford building has a longtime anchor tenant, Candleworks Restaurant, on the first floor, with office tenants on the upper three floors. Andrew Rockett, an experienced Massachusetts real estate investor, manager, and developer, formed the real estate entity, and his purchase of the building shows continued demand for downtown New Bedford properties.

“This is a great announcement, and I applaud Candleworks Ventures and the MassDevelopment on recognizing the potential of downtown New Bedford,” said Jen Murphy, Assistant Secretary for Gateway Cities. “The Patrick-Murray Administration is committed to investing in the potential of our Gateway Cities and generating economic development throughout the Commonwealth.”

“Candleworks Ventures' investment in this historic building has potential to spark even more interest in downtown New Bedford, continuing the area's rejuvenation,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Marty Jones. “We're pleased to provide these loans as part of the continued revitalization of this unique and proud Gateway City.”

Built in 1810 by Samuel Rodman to make candles out of whale oil, the Federal-style building was restored in 1976. At 72 N. Water Street, the property is on the cobblestone streets of the New Bedford Historic District, near the downtown central business district. Candleworks Ventures expects to create five jobs as a result of the project. The company is working with the New Bedford Economic Development Corporation, under the leadership and vision of Mayor Jon Mitchell, to incorporate a mixed-use development project into this unique national park setting. Candleworks Ventures, a wholly owned subsidiary of Rockett Real Estate Investments, LLC, is reviewing several projects in New Bedford, any of which could provide construction jobs as well as permanent jobs for the area.

“This historic building is a high-visibility asset and serves as the gateway property to the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park,” said developer Andrew Rockett. “We are pursuing themes Mayor Mitchell laid out in his inaugural speech, ‘Poised for Progress,' all of which focus on returning New Bedford to the prosperity it once enjoyed during its whaling heyday.”

MassDevelopment, the state's finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, financial institutions, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2011, MassDevelopment financed or managed more than 300 projects generating investment of $3.8 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are projected to create more than 10,000 jobs (2,547 permanent and 8,129 construction), and build or rehabilitate more than 1,000 residential units.