In today’s edition – the Boston Globe continues its series on the reviatlization of mid-sized cities in the Commonwealth. The focus of today’s article is “reclaiming the center – midsize cities rediscover the allure of downtowns, attracting millions to transform them into 24-hour neighborhoods of businesses and homes.” It’s no surprise that Lowell and its current and on-going development and redevelopment activities are an important part of the tale.
“Downtown remains the one part of the city that belongs to everybody,’’ said Adam Baacke, director of planning and development in Lowell. “The success of a downtown reflects positively on the city as a whole, and we think the project here will have a transformative impact.’’
Lowell’s revitalization efforts stretch back more than 30 years, to the creation of the Lowell National Historical Park. Over the decades, they have included everything from a corporate training center to an arts district to loan programs for retailers and restaurants. The latest redevelopment effort, along a canal once used to power textile mills, involves construction of up to 725 homes, 424,000 square feet of commercial space, and 55,000 square feet of stores and restaurants.
It will remake about 15 acres of the city’s downtown, with many of the new structures reflecting the style of the historic mill buildings that still dominate the area.
Developer Trinity Financial Inc. of Boston is nearing completion of its first new building, a 130-unit apartment complex marketed as affordable live-work space for artists. Next is a 50,000-square-foot office complex, plus two more residential buildings. As with any development, however, the pace of the work will be dictated by the economy, which in recent years has made it difficult for developers to find businesses to fill new offices, and people to buy homes.
The cities of Worcester, Quincy, Springfield and New Bedford all have “center city” projects in the works. Read the rest of the Globe article here.