As the WBDC celebrates its 53rd year of working on economic development in the greater Worcester area with a focus on job creation and tax base expansion, we pause to reflect on our accomplishments and offer a bold vision for the future of the City of Worcester and the region.
Incredibly, we have experienced another very successful year with our projects and programs. We continue to work with the City of Worcester by expanding our investment in 20 Franklin Street, the Theatre District, and launching a new housing and retail redevelopment of the Central Building at 332 Main Street. We are working block by block on connecting the successful CitySquare project to Main Street. We have opened new storefront retail spaces with the completion of “Taste of Mediterranean” and the new Worcester PopUp Gallery on Franklin Street. In addition, we worked with MassDevelopment and the TDI Program to relocate the Pawn Shop at 526 Main Street and assisted them with the acquisition of the building. Our work will continue on the implementation of a formal Business Improvement District and assist in the repositioning of Mercantile Center.
Our Brownfields efforts have paid off in 2017 with the opening of the Fidelity Bank Worcester Ice Center in the Canal District. The new twin-rink facility opened in September with 35,000 square feet of retail space. We will continue to expand our Brownfields efforts working in partnership with the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce to identify and create “pad ready” industrial sites.
Our largest project in 2017 was being designated by the Governor as the State’s first “Open for Business” redeveloper of the former Worcester State Hospital site off Belmont Street into a Biomanufacturing Park. We are proud to present the 2018 Robert S. Bowditch Economic Development Award to Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito and the Biomanufacturing Task Force. Lieutenant Governor Polio agreed to chair this important Task Force which ultimately led to the establishment of the Park, with the assistance of the Worcester Legislative Delegation who passed the required legislation in record time during the final hours of the legislative session. Lieutenant Governor Polito and the Task Force truly exceeded Mr. Bowditch’s expectations for success with this WBDC project.
Finally, we will continue our successful SBA 504 Loan Program, lending critical capital to small businesses in Worcester County with our partners at BDC Capital of New England. We will continue to work closely with our clients to advance their projects at Mercantile Center and the Southbridge Innovation Center as well as our dedicated involvement with the very successful Economic Development Coordinating Council (EDCC). We look forward to another great year in 2018 by expanding the tax base and creating more jobs for the people of Central Massachusetts.
Jill C. Dagilis Craig L. Blais
Board Chair President & CEO