Through the Commonwealth’s innovative Infrastructure Investment Incentive Program (I-Cubed), MassDevelopment has issued a $10 million tax-exempt special obligation bond on behalf of University Station in Westwood, Massachusetts, which is transforming an industrial park into a vibrant mixed-use neighborhood. New England Development, the project’s developer, is using bond proceeds to help build infrastructure, such as roadway and utility improvements, to support development of the project. University Station, located on a 130-acre site near the intersection of I-95 and I-93, will have roughly 560,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, including Wegmans and Target; 350 residential units, with between 10 and 25 percent of those units as affordable housing; and parking to accommodate more than 3,000 vehicles. The I-Cubed funding leverages a $2.5 million MassWorks Infrastructure Program grant awarded in 2013 to the Town of Westwood by the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development in support of University Station.
“I-Cubed is an innovative way to establish public-private partnerships, promote accountability, and ultimately support important projects like University Station,” said Kristen Lepore, Secretary of the Executive Office for Administration and Finance. “I want to thank everyone involved for their hard work on this deal which will spur economic development and create jobs.”
I-Cubed, a bond-funded program designed to generate private investment and economic growth, creates a partnership among a developer, a host community, and the Commonwealth. This tool helps municipalities and developers fund street, sidewalk, water, sewer, and other infrastructure projects that ignite private development and stimulate the economy. Principal and interest on I-Cubed bonds is paid by the Commonwealth. Before issuance, the state must be satisfied that it will receive new tax revenues from the private project that the infrastructure will support equal to at least 1.5 times the cost to service the bonds. Other I-Cubed projects include Assembly Row in Somerville, and Fan Pier, Boston Landing, and the Van Ness project in Boston.
“University Station is converting formerly vacant industrial property into a destination for commercial and residential uses in greater Boston, creating economic drivers for the Town of Westwood,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Marty Jones. “Infrastructure investment is crucial to ensuring these large-scale developments are successful, and we’re thrilled to partner with the Baker Administration, the Town, and New England Development on this innovative project.”
“On behalf of New England Development and our partners Eastern Real Estate, National Development, and Clarion Partners, we’d like to thank the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Town of Westwood for their support in making this project a reality,” said Douglass Karp, President of New England Development. He continued, “This public/private partnership has been instrumental in moving this project forward.”
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.