Devens Maintains Steady Growth despite Hurdles
The reuse project at the former Fort Devens outside of Boston continues to grow despite the struggling economy and the closure of a large manufacturing plant earlier this year.
A second hotel, a Hilton Garden Inn, opened on Devens Common last month. The first phase of New England Studios, a planned, $100 million television and movie studio complex, is expected to break ground shortly. Over the past year, several large tenants have moved into the former Army post that closed in 1996. Last year, Bristol-Myers Squibb completed construction of a $750 million drug manufacturing plant.
“I’m happy with the way things are going in Devens, notwithstanding the tough economy we’re all dealing with,” George Ramirez, executive vice president of Devens operations for MassDevelopment, told the News Telegram.
Housing is also a critical element of the installation’s redevelopment. One developer has proposed converting military buildings at into 246 apartments, although it first needs the approval from a “super town meeting” of the project’s three host towns.
One recent setback was the decision of Evergreen Solar, which received $59 million in state incentives, to shut down its solar panel factory early this year and lay off 800 employees. Since then, the firm declared bankruptcy and now is selling off its assets.