Twenty-two commercial properties in Gateway Cities across Massachusetts will be rehabilitated thanks to $2,230,052 in grants awarded by MassDevelopment. The grants represent the final portion of awards from the Fiscal Year 2023 round of MassDevelopment’s Transformative Development Initiative (TDI) Equity Investment program, and will have significant economic impacts on commercial corridor revitalization goals. In May, the agency awarded $714,893 in TDI Equity Investment grants to five commercial properties.
Gateway Cities are small to midsized cities in Massachusetts (population 35,000-250,000) that anchor regional economies around the state, with below state average household incomes and educational attainment rates. The 26 Gateway Cities include: Attleboro, Barnstable, Brockton, Chelsea, Chicopee, Everett, Fall River, Fitchburg, Haverhill, Holyoke, Lawrence, Leominster, Lowell, Lynn, Malden, Methuen, New Bedford, Peabody, Pittsfield, Quincy, Revere, Salem, Springfield, Taunton, Westfield, and Worcester.
Through TDI Equity Investment, MassDevelopment invests in near-term projects that activate ground-floor and commercial spaces that will have significant economic impacts within a TDI district; are consistent with Commonwealth and agency priorities; engage and build capacity in local communities and with partners; catalyze market demand and support TDI district goals; and lack other sufficient funding sources to proceed.
“For generations, Gateway Cities have been welcoming places to live, start a business, and build community,” said Economic Development Secretary Yvonne Hao, who serves as chair of MassDevelopment’s Board of Directors. “MassDevelopment’s Transformative Development Initiative allows the state to work hand-in-hand with local partners to ensure these cities remain places of opportunity for all and we are proud these TDI Equity Investment grants support that goal.”
The Transformative Development Initiative works with cross-sector partnerships in targeted commercial districts in Gateway Cities in order to engage community members, implement local economic development initiatives, and spur further public and private investment. Since 2015, MassDevelopment has invested $20 million in TDI districts through tools such as technical assistance, real estate investments, grant programs, and fellows who work in the districts. That investment has directly influenced over $100.2 million in public and private investments in the districts, and assisted an additional $219.9 million.
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Eight of the properties awarded grants in this round were funded by the Barr Foundation, which awarded $1 million to MassDevelopment’s TDI in order to expand the number and scope of projects eligible to receive funding, particularly those with a focus on the cultural and creative economies and community empowerment.
“We are awarding $2.2 million to support a diverse group of Gateway City business owners, entrepreneurs, and community leaders who are committed to strengthening our downtowns and commercial districts,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Dan Rivera. “These projects will bring new life to highly visible properties, helping draw in new patrons, advance business growth and entrepreneurship, and improve the vibrancy of neighborhoods. We are grateful to the Barr Foundation, whose support has made many of these projects possible.”