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Shuttered meat packing plant gets new life to fuel small businesses, create jobs
BOSTON, Oct. 23, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A once-blighted Dorchester meat packing plant will be the emblem of a restored Quincy Corridor tomorrow as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan and Mayor Tom Menino kick off a major federal investment here.
The Pearl Meats facility at 196 Quincy has been an economic scar on this area for years. Now, its redevelopment is part of a massive public-private effort to attract new businesses, build quality affordable housing and create jobs in the Quincy Corridor.
That includes a $20.5 million grant from HUD's innovative Choice Neighborhoods program, which Secretary Donovan and Mayor Menino will celebrate at the Pearl construction site on October 24, 2013, at 10 a.m. Pearl is benefiting from $500,000 of the Choice Neighborhoods grant.
"There is no way to overstate the impact of a program like Choice Neighborhoods or the importance of a project like Pearl," said Bob Van Meter, executive director of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) program in Boston. Boston LISC has invested more than $28 million in grants, loans and equity in the Fairmount commuter rail corridor, which includes the Quincy Corridor.
LISC tapped $10 million of its New Markets Tax Credit allocation to help rebuild the 36,000-square-foot Pearl, which is being transformed into a small business incubator for as many as 50 food entrepreneurs, particularly focusing on businesses that plan to hire from within the surrounding community. Pearl will give business owners access to top-flight equipment and a state-of-the-art facility that reduces their cost of operations and allows them to expand their workforce.
At the outset, the Pearl project is expected to create more than 150 construction and permanent jobs. Notably, Van Meter said, that includes good jobs for lower skilled workers who have a difficult time competing in the current economic environment.
"Changing the trajectory of a neighborhood takes more than isolated investments and one-off programs," Van Meter said. "We need to do it comprehensively, looking at housing and business development-at helping families stabilize their financial outlook and save for the future-while we're also working on schools, community safety, health and jobs. That kind of interconnected work is underway. And now, Choice Neighborhoods will help us bring it to scale, reaching more people as we revitalize this core commercial corridor."
Pearl is being redeveloped by the Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation, LISC's lead community development partner in the area and a major partner in the Choice Neighborhoods effort. PNC Bank worked with LISC's New Markets Support Corporation (NMSC) to help finance the project with equity connected to New Markets Tax Credits.
Other funders, in addition to Choice Neighborhoods, include the City of Boston, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, MassDevelopment, Department of Health and Human Services Office of Community Services, the Boston Community Loan Fund, Coastal Enterprises and the Dorchester Bay Neighborhood Loan Fund.
LISC combines corporate, government and philanthropic resources to help nonprofit community development corporations revitalize distressed neighborhoods. Since 1980, LISC has invested $12.9 billion to build or rehab 298,300 affordable homes and apartments and develop 49 million square feet of retail, community and educational space. In Boston, LISC has financed more than 12,000 affordable homes and apartments, housing approximately 30,000 people, and fostered economic growth by financing over 2 million square feet of retail, office and industrial space.
Bob Van Meter, Boston LISC
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