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City of Fitchburg News

Posted on: May 1, 2018

MassDevelopment selects Fitchburg District for Transformative Development Initiative



MassDevelopment's Transformative Development Initiative (TDI) 

For Immediate Release: May 1, 2018

MassDevelopment Selects Fitchburg District for Transformative Development Initiative

Tom Skwierawski, City of Fitchburg Executive Director of Planning & Community Development
(978) 829-1892 

[Fitchburg, MA] - The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, through quasi-public agency MassDevelopment, has designated the downtown Fitchburg district under its Transformative Development Initiative (TDI) program. This 3-year program, aimed at downtown revitalization for Gateway Cities, will include assignment of a TDI Fellow, a mid-career real estate professional who will work exclusively on achieving the vision for the district, which is to serve as a thriving arts and culture hub for North Central Massachusetts. The initiative will also include opportunities for real estate technical assistance, capital investment, and grant programs. Fitchburg’s TDI proposal was structured using a local collaborative partnership that includes: City of Fitchburg, Fitchburg Art Museum, Fitchburg State University, NewVue Communities, Montachusett Opportunity Council (“ReImagine North of Main”), North Central MA Chamber of Commerce, Fitchburg Pride, and The Fitchburg Plan.

“Through targeted state investments and the support of local leadership, the Transformative Development Initiative helps communities support long-term, sustainable growth and tackle broad challenges,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The resources we are announcing today will extend support to exciting new economic development projects across the Commonwealth.”

“This is another example of how Fitchburg leadership has the city on track for success. Partnering with MassDevelopment through the TDI program is an ideal opportunity for collaboration that will lead to transformative economic development downtown.”
Matt Fournier, President of Elite Construction & Design Inc. (TDI partner)

The overall goals of TDI are to concentrate revitalization efforts, resources and investments in a compact downtown area, thus creating a critical mass of activity that inspires investments by local residents, entrepreneurs, and businesses which leads to additional private development. Fitchburg’s TDI district has the Theater Block and City Hall at its geographic center, extending outward for a distance equal to a five-minute walk radius, continuing from Main/Prichard Streets to the Upper Common and from Longsjo Middle School to Laurel St. Included within the TDI district are Fitchburg State University’s “Theater Block,” the former B.F. Brown School (“Fitchburg Arts Community”), and historic Fitchburg City Hall.

“Timing is excellent for Fitchburg to receive this TDI program and we cannot be more thankful to MassDevelopment and the Baker-Polito Administration. $75 million in total investment is already underway downtown by three major projects. A strong momentum is clearly building, and TDI will be a catalyst toward even greater development and investment downtown. It is another great example of the power of collaboration to create economic growth in the City of Fitchburg.”
Mayor Stephen L. DiNatale, City of Fitchburg (TDI partner)

“I have had the pleasure of touring many TDI districts across the Commonwealth, and have seen the transformations that are underway in many of our Gateway Cities,” said Lt. Governor Polito. “This innovative program helps our Gateway Cities leverage existing assets and target opportunities to advance their city’s economic development goals, generate new opportunities for residents and build thriving downtowns.”

MassDevelopment’s TDI is a place-based development program created specifically for Gateway Cities. It has been designed to: enhance local public-private engagement and community identity, stimulate an improved quality of life for local residents, and spur increased investment and economic activity. MassDevelopment’s finance products and real estate services will be combined with coordination between private and public-sector partners to encourage development activity by private landowners, enterprises and investors. Of the twenty-six Gateway Cities were eligible for the program, Fitchburg was one of only two cities selected for a three-year TDI District designation.


About the Fitchburg TDI Partnership: The Fitchburg TDI partnership grew out of another partnership, ReImagine North of Main, which began in 2014 through a grant from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s Working Cities Challenge, and further supported by the Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts. The Fitchburg TDI partnership extends the team’s reach further, including the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce, Elite Construction & Design, and two local business partnerships: Fitchburg Pride—a downtown business coalition—and The Fitchburg Plan, chaired by Fitchburg State University President Richard Lapidus and Enterprise Bank Board Member Ken Ansin.

About MassDevelopment: As the Commonwealth’s economic development and finance authority, MassDevelopment is committed to achieving three goals: stimulating business, driving economic growth, and helping communities thrive across Massachusetts. TDI is a program for Gateway Cities designed to accelerate economic growth within focused districts. In TDI’s first three years, MassDevelopment has invested $9 million in the TDI Districts through tools such as technical assistance, real estate investments, grant programs, and fellows who work in the districts.