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MassDevelopment provides $258K to clean up site for $18M Main South housing project

May 12, 2021 : Worcester Business Journal, by Sam Bonacci

MassDevelopment has awarded $257,800 from the Brownfields Redevelopment Fund to the Main South Community Development Corp. for work on a former foundry site vacant for 60 years. The funds will help move an $18-million mixed-use Worcester housing project forward, according to a release from MassDevelopment on Wednesday announcing the funds.

The Main South CDC is working to assess and remediate the lot at 92 Grand St. in Worcester’s Main South neighborhood. The organization plans to build a mixed-use development at the site, the Grand Street Commons, which will feature 48 units of mixed-income rental housing and ground-floor commercial and retail space. Forty-six of the new facility’s units will be rented to households earning no more than 60% of the area median income, according to the release.

“This award from the Brownfields Redevelopment Fund will help the Main South Community Development Corp. breathe life into a blighted parcel of land that has been vacant for more than 60 years and bring new housing and commercial development to the neighborhood,” MassDevelopment President and CEO Dan Rivera said in the release.

The 92 Grand St. property was once part of the industrial-era Crompton Knowles and Standard Foundry mill complex lining the Grand Street area. The 90,000-square-foot property has been vacant since 1960 when the site’s remaining residential buildings and industrial facilities were demolished, according to the release.

The Main South CDC purchased the site in 2018 with the goal to redevelop it. Construction for the $18-million Grand Street Commons began in February.

However, soil samples showed contaminants such as arsenic, barium, lead, and naphthalene, which will need to be managed and removed during the construction phase of the project. The funding will be used to remediate the site and prepare it for use.

“Brownfields reclamation is not just an economic development issue, it’s also an environmental justice issue. We look forward to this project in partnership with Main South CDC to create additional, much-needed affordable housing options in the neighborhood by redeveloping this vacant brownfields site,” Worcester City Manager Edward Augustus said in the release.