City of New Bedford: Downtown Development Opportunities

Report National Resource Network New Bedford, Massachussetts July 31, 2017 Economic Development

In 2017, the National Resource Network partnered with the City of New Bedford, Massachusetts, as part of the Massachusetts State Resource Network to provide a development feasibility analysis of pre-selected downtown sites for viability as residential development. The attached report summarizes the Network’s recommendations for redevelopment scenarios and development feasibility on each site to support the ongoing revitalization of Downtown New Bedford.

New Bedford is the anchor of Massachusetts’ south coast region and home to eastern seaboard’s most active commercial fishing port, with the highest value of landings in the country. New Bedford’s downtown has a beautiful historic building stock, rich in the city’s history of whaling, anti-slavery activism, commercial fishing, and textile manufacturing, and has begun to emerge as an arts and cultural hub for the region. Through efforts by the City, residents, non-profit organizations, and business owners over the past several years, Downtown New Bedford has begun to experience a renaissance. The City seeks to promote residential development to create more activity downtown and further its revitalization.

The Network conducted a market study to determine the feasibility of new development downtown with a focus on new residential housing. It also created hypothetical development scenarios for four sites pre-selected by the City and evaluated the financial feasibility of their potential development. The Network determined the scale of financial gap between total development costs and financing supported by market prices and identified programs and incentives to help close the financial gap.

The Network’s analysis culminated in a redevelopment plan for each site including coordinated redevelopment strategies where appropriate and any necessary public support to facilitate redevelopment.

The Network’s engagement team in New Bedford was led by Network consortium member HR&A, with a separate scope of work led by PFM.

City of New Bedford: Downtown Development Opportunities