Old brick mill complexes are abundant along major rivers in New England. These historic buildings, once major hubs of manufacturing, often sit empty for years as it can be difficult for property owners to establish contemporary building uses. In Lawrence, a community-based development group called Lawrence CommunityWorks (LCW) took this issue head on. In the process, LCW is providing an example for other communities in the region and across the country to use energy efficient rebuilding methods.
LCW is a community-based development group that is working with local, state, and federal agencies, several business interests, and hundreds of community members to revitalize and repurpose a complex of 19th century textile mill buildings along the Merrimack River into housing and business space, now named Union Crossing.
The Patrick-Murray Administration has invested over $7 million in affordable housing grants and tax credits in this innovative project – including $550,000 from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) allocated by the Department of Energy Resources’ (DOER) High Performance Buildings program. Other finacial support for the project came from a Brownfields grant from MassDevelopment and from the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development and the Department of Housing and Community Development. ARRA funds were used by LCW to buy energy efficient windows that are historically sensitive to the mill’s original structure.
Phase I of this project was just recently completed. At the ribbon cutting, stakeholders lauded the project for creating 350 construction jobs, 60 units of affordable and energy efficient family rental units, and new commercial and green space for the community.
Union Crossing is another in a long line of projects that benefitted tremendously from the Patrick-Murray Administration’s stimulus find investments in Massachusetts. It is also a strong example of the impact committed citizens can have in their communities. Congratulations to all involved with the Union Crossing Phase I completion!