February 26, 2008

Image removed.

WORCESTER, Mass. – State and local officials gathered today at Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s (WPI) Life Sciences and Bioengineering Center at Gateway Park to launch the Massachusetts Growth Districts Initiative—a new program to focus resources on economic growth opportunities across the Commonwealth.

Speaking at Gateway Park, Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Daniel O’Connell said the state’s new initiative will help accelerate development at sites local leaders identify as most appropriate for significant new growth, whether commercial, residential, or mixed-use.

“Focusing economic development in appropriate areas is precisely what we have done, and are continuing to do, here at Gateway Park,” said WPI President and CEO Dennis D. Berkey, who hosted today’s announcement.  “The rebirth of the Gateway Park area as a center for life sciences and biotechnology initiatives will lead this important new district in downtown Worcester, and I hope serve as an example for other places in Massachusetts. So we are very pleased and honored that Secretary O’Connell has chosen Gateway Park as the place to launch this important new initiative.”

Through the Growth Districts Initiative, O’Connell said the state would partner with municipalities and property owners to help coordinate local permitting, state permitting, site preparation, infrastructure improvements and marketing.  The objective is to create a level of development readiness within each growth district, so they can compete on a national and international level.  In the next several months, the state plans to designate 16 new growth districts across Massachusetts, O’Connell said.

The first new growth district includes the Gateway Park neighborhood as well as the Lincoln Square area in downtown Worcester. City Manager Michael O’Brien, State Sen. Harriette Chandler (D-Worcester), State Undersecretary for Housing and Economic Development Greg Bialecki, and dozens of community leaders attended today’s announcement and voiced support for the state’s new program.

“When local, state, or federal governments leverage private investments, such as WPI's investment in Gateway Park, great and important results are achieved,” said D’Anne Hurd, WPI’s general counsel and vice president for business development at Gateway Park. “As we continue to build out Gateway Park, this new designation will be a great asset. We are pleased and proud to be the anchor of the state’s first new growth district.”

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 a 12-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.