|We once thought it took magic to do much with a brownfield. Trinity Financial has other ideas for transforming an old industrial downtown with a complicated mixed-use development. Case in point: projects in Lowell and New Bedford, and another possible in Boston.
|Sadio Desmond and Sarah Barnnat check with Abby Goldenfarb about the project she's managing: the $800M Hamilton Canal District development in Lowell,which will have a 10-year build-out. Since ?07 Abby has been working with the city to devise a master plan that will turn a brownfield into 424k SF of offices, 55k SF of retail, up to 725 units of mixed-income housing, a $175M Lowell Trial Court, open space, waterfront walkways, and a theater with a modern streetcar system. Last fall, 1.5 years of construction started on the $64M first building—130-artist lofts in a rehabbed Appleton Mill building, the first affordable artist rentals in the state. At 1.9M SF, HCD is Trinity?s largest project so far.
|We snapped Trinity partner Patrick Lee, who in ?87 founded the development firm with Jim Keefe, and doesn?t seem flustered by the economy. To sidestep the downdraft, the company is making ?careful bets,? wary of overextending. Luck always helps, and now, Patrick says, government at all levels has become more interested in cities and ?more willing to undertake the type of projects that stimulate us,? (think complex, big, public/private, mixed-use developments aimed at revitalizing CBDs). Working with the public sector, he says, ?is the only way to get these projects done.?
|Vince Droser, with colleague Eva Erlich, expects that the $30M overhaul he's directing of Regency Tower in New Bedford will bring back a derelict building, provide more affordable rental housing, and advance economic growth downtown, ?bringing in 100 new families.? The 16-story building, the tallest in SE Mass., has been substantially vacant for a long time. In March, Trinity started construction that will strip off and replace much of the exterior skin, install new windows, roof, waterproofing, and insulation. Apartment interiors will be upgraded with new kitchens, baths, and HVAC. What's so rewarding about this and many Trinity projects, Vince says, ?it's about economic development as well as housing.?