August 3, 2020
NTCIC is happy to announce the successful financing of the former Bradford Durfee Textile School in Fall River, Massachusetts. Once rehabilitated, the building will become the Creative Class Lofts, a 74,000 square foot campus that will include mixed-income and practicing artist housing, as well as small business incubation, nonprofit, and retail space. This is the eighth project to utilize NTCIC’s Irvin Henderson Main Street Revitalization Fund.
A Rich Textile History
The city of Fall River, has a long history in the textile industry. Directly following the Civil War, both the city’s population and its cotton production capabilities grew dramatically, and, by the late 1800s, Fall River was the world’s second-largest textile manufacturing city. The Bradford Durfee Textile School opened its doors in 1904 to provide advanced courses in textile manufacturing and chemistry to educate the rapidly growing population of local mill workers.
The school flourished over the decades and was ultimately acquired and merged with several branches of the University of Massachusetts in 1991 to become UMass Dartmouth, which vacated the building in the transition. The historic building sat underutilized for nearly 20 years, with several unsuccessful attempts at redevelopment in between. Now, under the direction of developer Alan Macomber, the historic school will be revitalized into an active live/work environment.
The Creative Class Lofts
Once complete, the Creative Class Lofts will create 55 units of mixed-income housing, including affordable housing for practicing artists, as well as new homes for the Spectrum Empowerment Project and the Youth Musical Theater Corporation (YMTC). Spectrum provides autistic adults with an alternate path to college and employment through economic independence, social growth, and creative expression. YMTC is a nonprofit, all-volunteer organization that provides young people with the opportunity to participate in theatrical experiences and produces two Broadway-style musicals each year. The building will also include a 170-seat event space/black box theater to support these groups, as well as an art gallery open to the public.
Groundwork, a Massachusetts-based coworking space provider, will be opening a new site within Creative Class Lofts after celebrating five years of successful growth in their New Bedford location. The Groundwork space will provide coworking memberships and support several local businesses, including Entrepreneurship for All (E for All), a year-long small business incubation program.
Economic and Main Street Community Revitalization
The revitalization of the historic building will create an estimated 126 quality construction jobs and an estimated 46 permanent jobs once complete. The Groundwork coworking space will support an estimated 400 participants annually, including E for All, a year-long small business incubation program that will provide 30 entrepreneurs a year—predominantly women, minorities, and immigrants—with the opportunity to move their businesses forward.
The larger space and new theater will enable both the Spectrum Empowerment Project and YMTC to greatly develop and expand their community programming. With a dedicated theater at their disposal, YMTC plans to add 4 additional performances to their annual calendar, growing their audience to 800 people annually. Additionally, the new location’s proximity to the Fall River District Court will allow Spectrum’s Employ Workforce Integration program, which provides job training for adults on the spectrum, to develop a new Paralegal Assistant program.
The $20.7 million project was financed in part by NTCIC through the Irvin Henderson Main Street Revitalization Fund, which supports historic revitalization efforts in our country’s underinvested Main Street communities. This financing includes $3.25MM in federal Historic Tax Credit equity and $2 million New Markets Tax Credit allocation. Additional funding supported by NTCIC includes $2.09MM in state HTC equity and tax credit equity generated by the Massachusetts Housing Development Incentive Program.
To learn more about the project, click here.