Early infrastructure investments by the City of Lowell and private partners are critical to the current development potential of the HCID. The construction of Canal Street and the Canal Street Bridge brought a public right-of-way and all utilities (sewer, water, gas, electrical, telephone, cable, etc.) to the section of land between the Hamilton Canal and the Lower Pawtucket Canal (See Canal Street as-built plans in “Exhibits to RFQ”). Around the same time the City of Lowell completed construction on the 900+ space Edward J. Early parking garage (135 Middlesex Street), a municipally-owned and operated facility with ground-floor retail. Technically, the garage is outside of the HCID boundaries, but it provides the necessary parking for construction on development sites before the City completes construction on the new HCID garage on Parcel 14.
Thanks to the infrastructure investments rehabilitation is complete on the two existing structures in the district. The Appleton Mills, 130 units of artist-preference affordable housing, was completed in 2009 and is fully occupied. UMass Lowell recently moved the Massachusetts Medical Device Development Center (M2D2) to create an Innovation Hub in the top two floors of 110 Canal, which is the former Freudenberg Non-wovens headquarters, and tenant fit-outs are on-going on the other three floors in the building. The right-of-way construction necessary for the Appleton Mills and 110 Canal building also created six (6) pad-ready development sites.
There are three critical and outstanding infrastructure improvements that the City is committed to deliver and will not be considered a responsibility of the development partner. The infrastructure improvements are as follows:
- The City received $15 million in state funding administered by MassDOT for the Lord Overpass project and the funding will complete many improvements to the Thorndike Street/Dutton Street corridor. Most importantly for the HCID, the funding will be used to create a new, four-way signalized intersection between Fletcher Street, Thorndike Street, Dutton Street and Jackson Street. The City is initiating design of the full improvements in fall 2015.
- The City is committed to constructing the necessary utilities in the area between the Lower Pawtucket Canal and the Merrimack Canal. Known as the “HCID North Infrastructure” project, the City is seeking state infrastructure funding for the public rights-of-way and associated utilities (See HCD North Infrastructure plans in “Exhibits to RFQ”).
- The City is committed to construct a 900+ space parking garage with ground floor and canal-side retail on Parcel 14. Design work is being initiated with the expectation that construction will be substantially complete on the building and two frontage roads in 2018.