Gateway Park Wins National Award from U.S. Department of Commerce

Senior Officials from Washington D.C. Present Award to Worcester Polytechnic Institute and the Worcester Business Development Corp.
November 29, 2007

In recognition of its successful transformation of an underutilized 19th century industrial site into a state-of-the-art life sciences and biotechnology park, Gateway Park LLC has won the 2007 Excellence in Economic Development Award for Urban or Suburban Economic Development from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

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WORCESTER, Mass. – In recognition of its successful transformation of an underutilized 19th century industrial site into a state-of-the-art life sciences and biotechnology park, Gateway Park, LLC has won the 2007 Excellence in Economic Development Award for Urban or Suburban Economic Development from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

At a ceremony held at Gateway Park today, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Sandy K. Baruah and Congressman James McGovern presented the award to Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) President and CEO Dennis D. Berkey and Worcester Business Development Corp. (WBDC) President David P. Forsberg. Gateway Park, LLC is a joint venture of WPI and the WBDC.

“Gateway Park represents the best and brightest economic development methods and practices in use today,” Assistant Secretary Baruah said. “Gateway's commitment to sound, research-based, market-driven economic development is helping Worcester and Massachusetts grow their economies and create jobs. I am grateful for their participation in our national awards program.”

The Excellence in Economic Development Award is given annually in seven categories to recognize “innovative economic development strategies of national significance.” In particular, the award for Excellence in Urban or Suburban Economic Development is given to a project that “utilizes innovative, market-based strategies to improve urban or suburban economic development results.”

“This prestigious award is a wonderful recognition of the vision and the hard work of so many people in this community who helped to make Gateway Park a reality,” said President Berkey. “It is particularly fitting that this award is focused on projects that yield important results because WPI has a strong history of delivering results that help our community and our economy prosper. Now, by facilitating leading-edge work in the life sciences, I expect that in five or ten years time we will look back on this moment and marvel at the innovations that have sprung from the minds and the laboratories here and improved the lives of people around the world.”

WBDC President Forsberg agreed, saying “we are honored to receive this award. It shines a national spotlight on Worcester, Gateway Park, and the critical mass of public and private partners who have made this project a wonderful success. Gateway Park is now part of the western anchor of one of the largest life sciences clusters in the world. As we continue to build out the park and populate it with top-flight researchers and companies, Gateway will not only create good jobs, but it will generate a vibrant mixed use community.”

Throughout Gateway Park's development, WPI and the WBDC have worked closely with state and federal officials to make the park a centerpiece for growth of the life sciences industry in New England. Its buildings are custom-designed to answer the specific needs of life sciences researchers and companies with flexible, adaptable lab space and cutting-edge wireless infrastructure. Furthermore, Gateway Park is allowing for economic development in Worcester, while simultaneously preserving historically significant buildings and revitalizing the community.

"Gateway Park is an extraordinary project,” Congressman McGovern said. “I'm very pleased that the Department of Commerce is recognizing the hard work that has gone into making Gateway Park a reality.”

In addition to the restoration of two historic buildings, Gateway Park will include several new buildings, the first of which opened this year as the WPI Life Sciences and Bioengineering Center. The center is the focal point for graduate education and research in the life sciences and related engineering fields at WPI. Its research areas include regenerative medicine, molecular nanotechnology and biosensors, plant systems, tissue engineering, and untethered healthcare. Specifically, the center includes WPI's Corporate and Professional Education Division, the WPI Bioengineering Institute, and faculty researchers from several academic departments, including biology and biotechnology, biomedical engineering, chemistry and biochemistry, and chemical engineering.

The building also houses several business and commercial entities, including the Massachusetts Biomedical Initiatives (MBI), a leading non-profit incubator center that specializes in promoting the growth of start-up biomedical companies. In October, Gateway Park announced that RXi Pharmaceuticals, the company co-founded by Nobel Laureate Craig Mello, PhD, signed a 20-month lease to locate in the WPI Life Sciences and Bioengineering Center with the option to become the lead tenant of a future 100,000-square-foot building planned for construction at Gateway Park.

About Gateway Park

Gateway Park is a joint venture of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and the Worcester Business Development Corporation (WBDC). Located in Worcester, near the intersection of I-190 and I-290, Gateway Park is designed as an 11-acre, mixed-use destination for life sciences and biotech companies and the people who work for them. The project includes five life sciences buildings totaling 500,000 square feet of flexible, adaptable lab space designed to meet the needs of research organizations; 241,000 square feet of market rate, loft condominiums; and several planned retail establishments. WPI is also exploring the possibility of graduate student housing on one of the sites. Gateway Park is part of the larger 55-acre Gateway Redevelopment District. It is currently home to numerous businesses, offices, restaurants, and business services, as well as a Courtyard by Marriott hotel.

About Worcester Business Development Corporation

Established in 1965, the Worcester Business Development Corp. (WBDC) is a non-profit business organization whose mission is to serve as an innovative and leading force in the economic development of the Worcester region, resulting in job creation and tax base growth. Since its inception, WBDC has been responsible for developing seven industrial parks, creating thousands of jobs and significantly expanding the region's industrial tax base. WBDC's accomplishments include Higgins Industrial Park and Gold Star Distributor Park in Worcester, Goddard Industrial Park in Shrewsbury, and Holden Industrial Park in Holden. In the late 1980s, WBDC succeeded in developing the successful Massachusetts Biotechnology Research Park, and recently opened a new technology park, Centech Park, in Grafton. With a recent focus on downtown Worcester and Brownfields revitalization, WBDC is continuing its vision of economic development through property restoration and environmental remediation.