WEYMOUTH, Mass. /Massachusetts Newswire/ — As part of his historic $4 billion Massachusetts Works program that will put nearly 20,000 people to work across the Commonwealth, Governor Deval Patrick today joined with federal, state and local leaders to celebrate the beginning of the redevelopment of the former South Weymouth Naval Air Station. Today’s event included breaking ground on Phase I of the new Southfield East-West Parkway, as well as announcing the first vertical constructions projects to begin onsite. This project was jump-started by several key investments made by the Patrick-Murray Administration as well as a significant infusion of federal funds, and will lead to thousands of construction and permanent jobs.
“The Southfield project is key to the redevelopment of the former South Weymouth Naval Air Station and to job growth on the South Shore,” said Governor Patrick. “I am proud that your state government could help make this happen.”
“This kind of construction project will help put people back to work as we focus on Massachusetts’ economic recovery,” said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray. “We are excited about today’s groundbreaking and look forward to seeing this project support economic development, sustainability and growth for the region and the Commonwealth.”
“This will create thousands of new jobs and will help Weymouth attract new businesses and investments, and deliver top notch cultural attractions,” said Senator John Kerry.
“Today, as we break ground on the new Southfield East-West Parkway, it is my hope that in the next few years we will see this former military base become an economic engine in the South Shore,” said Congressman William Delahunt. “I want to thank the Governor for his leadership and help, and I want to give a special salute to the late Senator Kennedy, who led our efforts in Washington, D.C. to secure all the federal funding for the project.”
Today’s groundbreaking marked the beginning of Phase I of construction on the Southfield’s East-West Parkway, a significant infrastructure project which will support the redevelopment of the former South Weymouth Naval Air Station by providing a connection through the base between Route 3 with Route 18. On June 30, 2010, the Patrick-Murray Administration issued $30 million in state bonds to make construction of the parkway possible. MassDOT has advertised the contract for the remaining $15 million portion of the parkway, and the selection of a contractor and notice to proceed is expected in October. Also to be included in the work completed in Phase I are multi-modal improvements to the South Weymouth commuter rail station located at the former Naval base. These will be paid for through $8 million in federal funding secured by the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Senator John Kerry and Congressman Delahunt.
Governor Patrick today also announced the signing of two purchase and sale agreements between LNR Property Corporation homebuilders and Interactive Building Group and the Whitman Homes. South Shore Tri-Town Development Corporation chose LNR as the master developer for the base in 2002. Since then, LNR estimates that it has invested $80 million in the site. The state bonds issued in June will help leverage another $13 million in bonds from South Shore Tri-Town Development Corporation, which maintains that this recent investment from the Administration will assist their sales. These agreements represent the first vertical construction projects to take place at Southfield. Construction of the homes is expected to begin in fall 2010 and to be completed by the following spring.
“The groundbreaking for the start of the East-West Parkway is a culmination of an immense amount of hard work by many local, state and federal officials and will result in the magnet that ensures that Southfield becomes a reality,” said Kevin R. Donovan, Chief Executive Officer of South Shore Tri-Town Development Corporation. “It will truly be the economic engine that begins the revitalization of the economy for southeastern Massachusetts by placing many construction workers back to work.”
“This parkway is a vital piece of transportation infrastructure for the region and will unlock millions of dollars in residential and commercial development at Southfield that will produce jobs, public revenues and economic growth across the South Shore,” said Kevin Chase, Regional Vice President, LNR Property Corporation. “The continued commitments of Governor Patrick and his Administration, the South Shore’s elected leaders and local community leaders have been the key to realizing the full vision of Southfield as a vibrant, smart growth community with the potential to help reshape the regional economy.”
“Redevelopment of the former South Weymouth Naval Air Station has been one of the most important endeavors of my career,” said Representative Ronald Mariano, Assistant Majority Leader. “Securing the $30 million bond that allows construction of the East-West Parkway to begin marks an important milestone of this project that is so crucial to the future of the South Shore. Once this essential road is completed and access is allowed to the site, I am confident that construction and building will begin through private investment. I would like to thank Governor Patrick and the other federal, state and local leaders, along with the master developer LNR, for their continued commitment to this successful public-private partnership.”
On April 24, 2008, the Patrick-Murray Administration designated Southfield as the fifth community in its Growth District Initiative. The Initiative is aimed at working with communities who have identified one or more areas as being appropriate locations for significant new growth, whether commercial, residential or mixed-use. Within those identified areas, Governor Patrick’s Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development works with the community and property owners to make the district truly “development ready” with respect to local permitting, state permitting, site preparation (including Brownfields Remediation), infrastructure improvements and marketing. The objective is to create a level of “development readiness” within each of these growth districts comparable to that now available at Devens, a location proven to be highly attractive to new development and to be truly competitive at a national and international level.
Over the next 12 years, the base is slated to be redeveloped into a mixed use, transit- oriented village including owned and affordable rental homes, 2 million square feet of commercial development, a hotel, a conference center and outdoor amenities such as an 18-hole golf course, as well as walking and hiking trails. The full build out will cost an estimated $1.4 billion, generate millions in state and federal tax revenues and will create thousands of construction and permanent jobs.
To learn more about Massachusetts Works, visit www.mass.gov/governor/massworks. For additional information on how the Patrick-Murray Administration’s agenda has led Massachusetts out of a global recession sooner and stronger than the rest of the nation, visit www.mass.gov/governor/agenda.