Transforming New Bedford’s Downtown: MassDevelopment Invests in Co-Creative Center

August 8, 2016

We are pleased to announce that MassDevelopment has provided $1 million in financing for WHALE to acquire and build the Co-Creative Center project in the heart of the historic district. MassDevelopment has also awarded a $70,000 “fit-out” grant for the project’s current construction work. The $2.3 million dollar development will harness public and private investment into the downtown, stimulating other revitalization efforts and having a transformative impact. Full construction on the two buildings will begin in the fall after construction plans are completed by project architect studio2sustain.

The 139 Union and 141 Union Street project, called the Co-Creative Center, are abutting vacant historic commercial buildings, circa 1840, on Union Street in downtown New Bedford that will house a makerspace, collaborative learning center, arts gallery and market as well as co-work space, two new eateries, and four apartments. The Co-Creative Center development will provide local artists, engineers, makers, and thinkers the tools and learning resources to make their ideas a reality. The Center will promote science, technology and art; while working and experimenting on innovative ideas to encourage learning and capacity building within the community.

Mayor Jon Mitchell says “This project is a perfect example of how to spur urban revitalization by combining historic preservation with a creative economy use. The Co-Creative Center will go a long way toward physically transforming that block, and will further our goal of solidifying downtown New Bedford as a magnet for artists and other creatives. ” The City of New Bedford awarded $395,000 of HOME funds to support the build-out of the three affordable apartments.

Anne Haynes, Director of Transformative Development at MassDevelopment, said, “These funds will support a crucial project in our New Bedford Transformative Development Initiative District. We’re pleased to work with WHALE on its mission to restore the City’s historic downtown and catalyze investment in this neighborhood.”

Andy Burnes, President of WHALE, says “WHALE identified this block of vacant buildings as the opportunity to unite the creative community and in the process restore two vacant and blighted downtown commercial buildings.”

For more information on the project or how to get involved, contact Executive Director Teri Bernert at (508) 997-1776.

About MassDevelopment
MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, financial institutions, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2015, MassDevelopment financed or managed 294 projects generating investment of more than $2.5 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are projected to create about 6,100 jobs and build or rehabilitate about 2,000 residential units.