NEW BEDFORD — Restaurants, fish markets and other amenities could be coming to the New Bedford waterfront, after MassDevelopment announced on Wednesday it was considering redeveloping the New Bedford State Pier.
The state development agency has issued a request for proposals to develop the eight-acre pier into a facility that will benefit the city and region, support maritime industries, create jobs and advance economic development.
State Senator Mark Montigny welcomed the announcement, saying he had been working since 2008 to restore and redevelop the pier.
The State Pier currently houses the ferry terminal on the waterfront in downtown New Bedford.
The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation owns the property, which is now managed by MassDevelopment.
Montigny said he had secured legislation to lease the pier to the state development agency to help properly manage the facility, which he said had been “grossly mismanaged”.
“It took a lot of effort to get it away from state bureaucrats and into a competent and experienced development agency,” he said.
According to Montigny, the pier project marks the third phase of his economic development vision for the city, which included the rehabilitation of the Star Store into a university arts campus as well as the redevelopment of Route 18.
“I’m very happy,” he said of MassDevelopment’s announcement. “Downtown has had a complete renaissance.”
He said he would like to see State Pier grow into a thriving multi-use facility, including a “fresh off the boat” fish market, a space for live music, arts and culture, and restaurants.
“The language clearly projects this vision of mixed use, so it’s not just a big empty warehouse, but it’s a thriving, job-creating project,” he said of the laws that drafted which included funding of $25 million and defined goals. for the project.
Other potential uses for the space include commercial fishing development, offshore wind, freight, shipping, etc.
“There’s a huge open space that hasn’t been developed and a bunch of different ideas,” Montigny said, adding that he was delighted to see the project come to fruition.
MassDevelopment said the agency plans to hold a site visit for potential developers on April 12.
Redevelopment proposals must be submitted by May 9.
Downtown New Bedford Then and Now
The development of downtown New Bedford has been slow and steady. It’s not something that happened overnight, but New Bedford has changed a lot over the past 10 years. Here is a glimpse of yesterday and today.