Construction Begins on New Downtown Apartment Building

New Bedford, MA – On Tuesday, August 22nd, Mayor Jon Mitchell, New Bedford Development Corporation (NBDC) President Steve Beauregard, and other City and state officials gathered for a ground-breaking to officially launch construction of the $27 million five-story mixed commercial and residential building at 117 Union Street in the City’s downtown.  They were joined by representatives from the project’s general contractor, D.F. Pray, and property manager HallKeen.

The redevelopment of the 117 Union Street property is one of several housing investments in the development pipeline to reach the construction stage in the City.  The project combines new construction with the preservation of the historically significant Moby Dick Chandler Building to create 45 units of mixed-income housing and approximately 3,500 square feet of ground-floor retail space.

The City’s support for the project stems from Building New Bedford, a comprehensive housing plan announced by Mayor Mitchell in March.  The project is an important step toward achieving the Mitchell Administration’s effort to create attainable housing opportunities for all residents. The project was funded in part through a grant of $1.5 million from the City using federal ARPA funds under its control.

Consistent with the City’s housing plan, the project will create a mix of units at varying price points. In total, the project will offer 14 studio apartments, 21 one-bedroom apartments, and 10 two-bedroom apartments.  The architectural firm Stantec designed 12 units for handicapped accessibility and the entire building incorporates high energy efficiency systems and design features.

“The creation of new housing units will help alleviate our housing shortage and boost activity around Custom House Square,” said Mayor Mitchell. “Not only will this project offer dozens of New Bedford residents a great place to live, but it will create additional population density in a walkable, thriving downtown.”

“I am excited by the partnership that has come together to make this project a reality. It’s an important step for the downtown commercial district and for New Bedford residents looking for housing opportunities in a challenging market,” said NBDC President Steve Beauregard. “I am also pleased that we’ve been able to develop this project in a way that aligns with the City of New Bedford’s goal to promote a mixed-use environment in the downtown to ensure a vibrant community and walkable neighborhoods. Finally, I am proud that this project will preserve the historically significant Moby Dick Chandler Building and ensure that the character of this section of Union Street is maintained.”

“The American Rescue Plan was written to speed up our nation’s recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and I applaud this effort to combat the housing shortage in the City of New Bedford,” said Congressman Bill Keating. “This project will increase available housing units downtown while preserving the historic character that drives tourism to the City, which is a win for all involved. New Bedford is a leader in the Commonwealth on fighting the housing crisis, and this project is yet another example of Mayor Mitchell’s leadership in prioritizing long-term community benefits when allocating COVID-19 relief funds.”

“We are excited to see this important project get underway. We look forward to getting these 45 units on line, and point to this key groundbreaking as an example to others interested in developing housing at scale in our city: we are open for business and serious about providing attainable housing for all residents,” said the Director of the Office of Housing and Community Development, Joshua Amaral.