Ten Gateway City Districts Identified for Enhanced Assistance Through MassDevelopment’s Transformative Development Initiative

December 15, 2014


Emily Dahl, MassDevelopment, 617-330-2086 & 978-394-3506 (cell)

MassDevelopment is pleased to announce the 2014 TDI Districts in Development through the Transformative Development Initiative: Brockton, Haverhill, Holyoke, Lynn, New Bedford, Peabody, Pittsfield, Revere, Springfield, and Worcester. Two additional Gateway Cities, Everett and Malden, will receive directed regional planning and implementation assistance to advance their district visions. The ten TDI Districts in Development will receive enhanced technical assistance, real-estate services, and equity investments in real estate to support local visions for redevelopment, and to catalyze and leverage investments and economic activities.

City District Description
Brockton The Downtown Gateway District will be a national example of successful TOD redevelopment that will be a pleasant, walkable neighborhood with shops, restaurants, offices and residences for all income levels.
Everett The Norman Street District will be a unique area to explore various food/beverage manufacturing and retail venues made on-site in Everett.
Haverhill The Merrimac Street Transformative District connects two ends of a vibrant downtown—an attractive, safe and diverse place to work, live, study, recreate, dine and shop.
Holyoke The TOD District will be a center for innovative entrepreneurs, makers, artists, and boutique manufacturing and services and a place where casual and structured collisions and partnerships allow for ideas to be generated, developed and deployed first.
Lynn With its proximity to Boston, including the popular commuter ferry and a vibrant arts and culture scene, the One Lynn District will be the next great place to buy a home as well as be a top destination for unique arts-based retail and diverse restaurant scene in the region.
Malden The Commercial Street Gateway District will be known for successful, diverse industries, both start‐ups and established businesses, that will be outward‐facing with companies interacting with the public, showing off their products as part of a revitalized community space.
New Bedford The Union and Purchase Innovation District is the heart of New Bedford and will be the nation’s best urban neighborhoods in every sense: welcoming, cultured, diverse, fun, with great design and open space and an anchor presence of arts and innovation.
Peabody The North River Neighborhood District is a mixed-use neighborhood with an identity all its own, including a Riverwalk component with restaurants and open space oriented towards the North River making a more inviting and safer area.
Pittsfield The Tyler Street District will be a thriving residential neighborhood to an adjacent innovation district where typical day-to-day needs can be met within walking distance at locally owned stores that provide a high level of service.
Revere The Revere Coastal Development District will be a vibrant urban area featuring good live, work, and play opportunities and that enjoys excellent transportation options and a magnificent setting on the shore with unique restaurants and entertainment venues.
Springfield The Springfield Innovation District will be known as a mixed use, vibrant, urban center that is a place for education, innovative thinking, entrepreneurship as well as arts, entertainment and dining.
Worcester The Theatre District will be known as a bustling hub of cultural activity and entertainment within the downtown that will leverage additional anchors in institutional, residential, and commercial growth to create a mixed-use neighborhood for residents and visitors alike to live, work, and play.


“MassDevelopment is thrilled with the redevelopment potential of the inaugural Districts that will receive assistance through the Transformative Development Initiative,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Marty Jones. “These TDI Districts represent the great diversity—in culture, geography, and history—of Gateway Cities, and MassDevelopment looks forward to helping to catalyze the realization of as many of their visions as possible.”

After 26 of the Gateway Cities identified local collaborative partnerships, strategic district visions, and community engagement plans, their submissions from the 2014 Call for Districts were reviewed by an outside committee of experts to select cities for the initial pilot program. The committee considered the quality of the submission, the vision for the district, the district type (downtown, residential, and industrial), geographic distribution, and the opportunity for program impact in the early years of the program. The districts submitted included a variety of mixed-use district types, the majority of which have been the subject of ongoing planning and redevelopment efforts.

The members of the review committee included partners from diverse geographies and backgrounds that had either knowledge of the Gateway Cities, or experience in district redevelopment in environments similar to Gateway Cities. The TDI District Review Committee provided a recommendation to the MassDevelopment Board of Directors, which approved the Districts at its December 11 Board Meeting.

“When I proposed the Transformative Development Initiative, my goal was to create a pool of money to make targeted investments in Gateway Cities, and I’m very pleased that New Bedford is poised to benefit from the program,” said Rep. Antonio F.D. Cabral. Cabral is the House chair of the Gateway Cities Legislative Caucus.

“The Morningside neighborhood of Pittsfield has all the potential to be a vibrant, thriving community. I am confident that this announcement is the first step in making this a reality,” said State Senator Benjamin B. Downing. Downing is the Senate chair of the Gateway Cities Legislative Caucus.

“It is great news that Lynn has been selected as one of the ten Gateway Cities for MassDevelopment's Transformative Development Initiative,” said Senator Thomas McGee. “This partnership will enable our City to build on the continued economic development progress we have been making with the ultimate goal of improved quality of life for our community. Thank you to all who were involved in the application process and I look forward to working together as we build a better future for Lynn.”

“This marks a turning point for the redevelopment of downtown Brockton,” said Brockton Mayor Bill Carpenter. “We have a group of development professional who reviewed proposals from across the state and selected Brockton to be one of the first TDI Districts. The investment our administration made in rebuilding the city’s planning department is already paying dividends.”

“The City of Everett is excited to be one of the communities included in the Transformative Development Initiative,” stated Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria. “We want to utilize the designation to help market, brand, sign, and improve a promising commercial area in on our City that has garnered the interest of several current and innovative businesses, which will help stimulate economic growth and activity.”

“This is yet another great move for our downtown. It allows us to leverage the Harbor Place project,” said Haverhill Mayor James Fiorentini. “Our vision has always been that Harbor Place would be the start, not the end, of a revitalization of downtown. This district designation allows us to continue the Haverhill Renaissance.”

“I’m excited to hear that this first round of announcements for the Transformative Development Initiative includes the City of Holyoke,” Mayor Alex Morse said. “The strategic equity investments made by the TDI will complement the efforts of our Urban Renewal Plan, capitalizing on the momentum we’ve already generated through significant public investment in our infrastructure. These kinds of investments are critical in furthering our efforts to attract private capital to our downtown.”

“This exciting opportunity will give the City of Lynn the tools and expertise needed to link development and place making efforts in the downtown, and will serve as a catalyst for future investments,” said Lynn Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy. “Our hope is to continue building upon the great work that our community has done in establishing the downtown as a vibrant arts destination and to further collaborate with The Downtown Lynn Cultural District to provide the community activity necessary for transformative development. I am extremely encouraged that MassDevelopment recognized this great potential and I look forward to this promising endeavor.”

Malden's Mayor Gary Christenson said, “We are thrilled that the TDI program is supporting the Commercial Street Gateway District which is a new focus of our redevelopment activities at the gateway to our city, building on our ongoing work in the downtown. In a rapidly changing market of redevelopment in the metro region, we want to support a vibrant district for jobs, training, and promote diverse enterprises of all sizes, supporting our residents with opportunity and increased prosperity.”

“Downtown New Bedford is an important center of history, culture and commercial activity for the region. We appreciate our partners at MassDevelopment supporting our efforts to grow and strengthen New Bedford's business districts. MassDevelopment's commitment to providing the often difficult to identify gap funding for projects that help transform districts in “Gateway Cities” like New Bedford is truly an investment in the growth of our statewide economy,” said New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell.

“On behalf of our partners, which include the Peabody Area Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Action Team, Cultural Collaborative and the North Shore Community Development Coalition, we are thrilled that our North River Neighborhood District was chosen,” said Peabody Mayor Edward A. Bettencourt Jr. “Our goal is to create a diverse mix of commercial and residential options that can establish and sustain this particular section of our downtown. We look forward to working with MassDevelopment's team in moving this neighborhood forward.”

“The selection of Revere's Coastal Development District to receive assistance through the Transformative Development Initiative was the result of a true collaboration of time and effort with many public and private partners,” said Revere Mayor Daniel Rizzo. “We look forward to continuing to work with MassDevelopment and showcasing the many investment opportunities and possibilities that lead to meaningful and sustainable development.”

Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno stated, “With Springfield's legacy of innovation as the –City of Firsts” we're excited to be named as one of the first ten innovation districts in the Commonwealth. The city has had an outstanding working relationship with MassDevelopment and looks forward to this next chapter based around innovation.”

“The City of Worcester is pleased to be among the first communities selected to receive MassDevelopment's TDI District designation for the Worcester Theatre District. This designation will allow Worcester to continue the forward momentum created by the Theatre District Master Plan and recent public and private investments in the heart of our downtown,” said Worcester Chief Development Officer Michael E. Traynor. “The City and its partners, the Worcester Business Development Corporation and Worcester Cultural Coalition, are excited to strategically leverage the valuable tools available through the TDI Initiative to strengthen the District's assets and spur new development that will bring a renewed vibrancy to the area and make the Theatre District a walkable, thriving mixed-use, 18-hour destination.”

Gateway Cities that were not designated this pilot year are eligible and encouraged to submit for future rounds. MassDevelopment will compile a pipeline of potential equity investments in all districts submitted to gauge development needs for future funding. All 26 Gateway Cities, in addition to all other cities and towns, will continue to receive and be eligible for typical MassDevelopment services.

TDI provides resources for all Gateway Cities with Cowork grants for innovative collaborative workspaces, and small Placemaking grants of $1,000 to $10,000 for small-scale projects supportive of district visions to help build community identity while supporting improvement of public spaces—such as pocket parks, pop-up stores, community gardens, and farmers' markets.

In early 2015, after in-depth site visits, three of the ten TDI Districts in Development will be matched with TDI Fellows for three-year terms. The Fellows will provide on-the-ground district-specific planning and implementation expertise.

MassDevelopment, the state's finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, financial institutions, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2014, MassDevelopment financed or managed 314 projects generating investment of more than $2.9 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are projected to create more than 6,300 jobs and build or rehabilitate more than 1,600 residential units.