The Gateway Cities Journal
News and information for leaders who care about Gateway Cities


Leveraging state investment


The joint conference committee charged with reconciling the comprehensive economic development packages passed by the House and Senate (S 2241/H 4181) was announced yesterday. Important provisions to support Transformative Development in Gateway Cities were included in both bills.


One potentially game-changing provision the committee will have to consider is language found in only the Senate bill creating a Gateway Cities I-Cubed program. Modeled after an existing program that has provided hundreds of millions of dollars of state support to projects in the Boston area, the tool allows Gateway City projects to hold on to up to $50 million in sales and income taxes associated with construction.


In its current form, I-Cubed has proven to be unworkable in weak Gateway City real estate markets. The Senate's Gateway Cities I-Cubed concept would help finance development projects that currently stand little chance of getting out of the ground without this kind of state support. The approach is essentially revenue neutral since the state wouldn't see any tax proceeds generated by development "but for" this tool.


Both versions of the bill create a new fund for "Transformative Development" in Gateway Cities at MassDevelopment. The House version allocates an initial capitalization of $17 million to the fund, while the Senate places just $10 million in the fund.


At either level, the fund will only be sufficient to lay the groundwork for transformative projects. But this is nonetheless a major step forward for Gateway Cities. Having an agency like MassDevelopment with the resources and capacity to help Gateway Cities create sophisticated plans for catalytic redevelopment sets the stage for future investment. If you view this first capitalization not as project support but as leveraged state investment to lay the groundwork for efforts moving forward in Gateway Cities, the difference between $10 and $17 million becomes hugely consequential. The more communities that are positioned to plan for transformative projects and acquire land to build them today, the more pipeline we will have for transformative development tomorrow.


- Winthrop Roosevelt





Gov. Patrick announces $10 million grant to support the construction of Harbor Place in Haverhill, a mixed-use project that will house and UMass Lowell satellite campus and open up the city's riverfront. The City Council approves a $1.5 million tax package for the project.


Developers, state officials, and MAPC planners tour Malden as part of the Metro North Land Use Priority Plan study, the Observer reports.


Building Blocks, a neighborhood revitalization initiative in Fall River, cuts the ribbon on a six-unit apartment building to house veterans and their families.


Gov. Patrick announces $83 million in affordable housing projects, including awards to Dalton Apartments in Pittsfield and the Yarn Mill in Fitchburg.


Two unopened Market Baskets in Attleboro and Revere have mayors Kevin Dumas and Daniel Rizzo running out of patience. reports that the stall in opening the two locations may stem from what looks like a family feud within Market Basket's family-owned parent company, Demoulas Super Markets.


The Lynn City Council approves federal flood maps that will probably hike insurance premiums for many property owners, the Item reports.


Brockton officials are lobbying the EPA for approval to expand its sewage treatment capacity in order to spur more development and sell more services to nearby towns.


The federal Department of Energy makes a conditional commitment for a $150 million loan guarantee for the Cape Wind project. The Globe calls the move a "vote of confidence that the offshore wind farm will get built."


The Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) releases a new report looking at how foreign EB-5 visa investors are contributing to urban economic development projects.




It took seven years, but Worcester's Wayfinding Initiative (featured at MassINC's 2012 Creative Placemaking Summit) is finally funded, the Telegram reports. City Manager Augustus says the initiative will "show off the city's cultural assets and make it easy for visitors to find them."


Gov. Patrick announces $14 million in new Cultural Facilities Grants during a visit to Pittsfield.




Springfield Technical Community College and Holyoke Community College's new program, Training and Workforce Options (TWO), will operate at no cost to students and aims to prepare students to work in the region's manufacturing industry. TWO was created after employers in the region reported not filling open positions because they lacked qualified applicants.


In the new summer issue, Commonwealth profiles Phoenix Charter Academy in Chelsea, which targets former dropouts, teen parents, and other students who traditional high schools don't serve well.


The Pioneer Institute's Charlie Chieppo and Jamie Gass say new state regulations on charter schools that will limit their growth in Worcester, Lowell, and other cities are setting back the cause of educational excellence and opportunity for low-income students. 


According to GoLocal Worcester, the Worcester Public School District lost $2.3 million to other school districts in the 2013-2014 school year.




Officials say the number of riders using the new Lynn-to-Boston ferry is steadily rising, hitting 700 a day recently, the Item reports.


A new bus route launches in Lawrence. It takes residents to the business district and around the city, the Eagle-Tribune reports.


Heat restrictions on the Framingham/Worcester commuter rail line have been making trips west of Boston even longer, but relief may be in sight: Work begins on the rail line in two weeks and heat restrictions are expected to be brought to an end by 2016.




A recent spike in Lowell violence has prompted Mayor Rodney Elliot to call on the city's Police Department to strictly enforce 11 p.m. curfew for people under the age of 17.


Fall River lays off 28 firefighters this week because a $14.4 million federal grant is expiring; fire officials warn of safety issues and slower response times with the closing of two engines.




Chelsea is not happy with the Wynn Resorts mitigation agreements imposed on them by arbitrators, CommonWealth reports.


Voters favor the Mohegan Sun casino proposal in Revere over the Wynn Resorts plan in Everett by a 48-27 margin, WBUR reports.


A University of Massachusetts Dartmouth poll finds slim support for casinos.



For a full list of Massachusetts Gateway Cities, click here. The Gateway Cities Journal is a weekly news publication of MassINC. If you would like to unsubscribe to The Journal but would still like to hear from MassINC, please let us know. If you are not yet on our list and would like to sign up, click here. To contribute news or comments, please email MassINC.



davis foundationParkerThumb 

MassINC's Gateway Cities Innovation Institute
Tel: (617) 742-6800
Fax: (617) 589-0929


Facebook   Twitter   LinkedIn