Economic Development Council, Inc.
Celebrating Five Years of Progress 2000-2005
On the Cover: “The Merrimack Valley”
Original watercolor by Lowell artist
Janet Lambert Moore, created for the
Merrimack Valley Economic Development
Council, Inc. on the occasion of the
Council’s Fifth Anniversary.
“...to advance the economic
interests of the Merrimack Valley of
Massachusetts. The Council encourages
greater communication and cooperation
between the public and private sectors, and
fosters collaborative efforts between and
among communities, leading to sustainable
economic growth and prosperity for all.”
This glass façade is one of several
preliminary designs under consideration
for the former Lucent property in
North Andover, now known as 1600
Osgood Street Commerce Center.
Irving E. (Chip) Rogers, III, Publisher, The Eagle-Tribune (Co-Chair)
Kendall M. Wallace, Chairman, The Sun (Co-Chair)
Vincent C. Manzi, Jr., Manzi & McCann (Treasurer)
Thomas Minichiello, President, Minichiello Insurance Agency (Clerk)
Robert D. Ansin, President, Mass. Innovation
Pedro L. Arce, Senior Vice President, Banknorth
Sen. Steven A. Baddour
Dr. Carole A. Cowan, President, Middlesex Community College
Normand D. Deschene, President, Lowell General Hospital
James Fiorentini, Mayor of Haverhill
Rep. Thomas A. Golden, Jr.
Orit Goldstein, President, Ozzy Properties
Dr. David Hartleb, President, Northern Essex Community College
Dr. William T. Hogan, Chancellor, University of Massachusetts Lowell
Elkin B. McCallum, Chairman & CEO, Joan Fabrics
U.S. Congressman Martin Meehan
Armand Mercier, Mayor of Lowell
Rep. Kevin J. Murphy
Sen. Steven C. Panagiotakos
Sharon M. Pollard, Mayor of Methuen
William T. Sherry, VP Business Services, National Grid/Massachusetts Electric
Rep. Harriett L. Stanley
Nickolas Stavropoulos, President, Keyspan Energy Delivery
Michael J. Sullivan, Mayor of Lawrence
U.S. Congressman John F. Tierney
Rep. David M. Torrisi
Sen. Susan C. Tucker
Leonard A. Wilson, Sovereign Bank
Sam Ambra, Jr., Sales/Marketing Director, Rep. William G. Greene
Simply Elegant Catering, Inc. Rep. Geoffrey D. Hall
Rep. Cory Atkins Neil Harrington, Town Manager, Salisbury
Peter Aucella, Assistant Superintendent, Sen. Robert Havern
Lowell National Historical Park
David Hildt, Mayor of Amesbury
David Aucoin, Economic Development Director, Methuen
Rep. Barbara L’Italien
Deborah A. Belanger, Executive Director
Rep. William Lantigua
Merrimack Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau
Robert A. LaRochelle, President, Andover Strategic Alliances
Joseph J. Bevilacqua, President,
Steven Ledoux, Town Manager, Westford
Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce
Sal Lupoli, President & CEO, Sal's Just Pizza
Peter Bowman, Regional Director of Public Affairs, Verizon
Bernard F. Lynch, Town Manager, Chelmsford
Rep. Arthur J. Broadhurst
Julie McConchie, Executive Director,
Paul Boushell, Town Manager, Tyngsborough
North of Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau
Gaylord Burke, Executive Director,
Merrimack Valley Planning Commission Joseph S. McManus, President, Lawrence General Hospital
Gary Campbell, Chief Operating Officer, Gilbert Campbell Michelle Hatem Meehan, Executive Director,
Robert Caruso, President, Lowell Five Cent Savings Bank Boys & Girls Club of Greater Lowell
Jennifer Casco, Executive Director, Billerica Plan Rep. James R. Miceli
Sally L. Cerasuolo-O’Rorke, President, Maria Miles, President, Salisbury Chamber of Commerce
Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce Richard Montuori, Town Manager, Billerica
John Chemaly, President, Trinity EMS Rep. David M. Nangle
Mary Anne Clancy, Mayor of Newburyport Barbara O’Neil, Director,
Timothy Coco, COCO+CO., Haverhill Greater Lowell Workforce Investment Board
J. Matthew Coggins, Assistant City Manager, Lowell Eugene O’Neill, Consultant
James J. Cook, Executive Director, Lowell Plan Jeanne Osborn, President,
Greater Lowell Chamber of Commerce
David L. Costello, Managing Partner, ADS Ventures
William J. Papp, Jr., Senior Vice President, Prudential Securities
Rep. Michael Costello
Christopher Perley, Managing Director, Wyeth BioPharma
John Cox, City Manager, Lowell
James Petri, Senior Vice President, Enterprise Bank & Trust
Nicholas J. Cracknell, Planning Director, Newburyport
Dennis Piendak, Town Manager, Dracut
David G. Cressman, Town Manager, Tewksbury
William K. Piercey, President,
James D’Angelo, Principal, TEC Transportation
Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce
Charles Daher, Commonwealth Motors, Lawrence
William Pillsbury, Director of Economic Development, Haverhill
Stephen Delaney, Town Manager, Georgetown
Mark Rees, Town Manager, North Andover
Rep. Brian S. Dempsey
Miriam L. Regan, Director, Fleet First Community Bank
Robert J. Devaney, Jr., GenCorp.
Shaw Rosen, Executive Director,
Mark S. DiSalvo, Semaphore USA, Methuen
Merrimack Valley Workforce Investment Board
Scott Emerson, General Manager, Wheelabrator North Andover
Richard J. Santagati, President, Merrimack College
Sen. Susan C. Fargo
Chet Sidell, KGR, Inc., Lawrence
Joseph W. Fahey, Community Development Director, Amesbury
Reginald Stapczynski, Town Manager, Andover
Fred Faust, President, The Edge Group, Lowell
Christopher Starr, Vice President, WinnDevelopment
Elaine Finbury, President, Rufus Choate Group
Sen. Bruce Tarr
Rep. Barry R. Finegold
David A. Tibbetts, Smith, Segel & Sowalsky
Robert W. Flynn, Executive Director,
William Traynor, Executive Director,
Northern Middlesex Council of Governments
Lawrence CommunityWorks, Inc.
Barry P. Fogel, Keegan Werlin LLC
Dennis Warren, President, Merrimack Valley Venture Forum
Thomas F. Galligani, Jr., Economic Development Director,
Dennis Welcome, Executive Director, Alliance for Amesbury
Rep. Colleen M. Garry
ive years have passed since the Merrimack Valley Economic
F Development Council held its inaugural meeting at Lowell’s
Tsongas Arena. For the first time in the history of the
Merrimack Valley, business and government leaders from
Greater Lowell to the sea joined together with a common mission:
“...to advance the economic interests of the Merrimack Valley of
Massachusetts. The Council encourages greater communication
and cooperation between the public and private sectors, and fosters
collaborative efforts between and among communities, leading to
sustainable economic growth and prosperity for all.”
From it’s inception, the Council has focused on the four “c’s” –
communication, collaboration, coordination and cooperation – that
Irving E. “Chip” Rogers, III
are the Council’s hallmarks. Business and community government
leaders throughout the Valley know where to turn for help, because
MVEDC Co-Founder and Co-Chair
they have seen the results. The Council has brought together members
of Congress, state government leaders, business professionals,
community-based organizations and municipal government officials.
Individual agendas are set aside to work together and get the jobs
The Merrimack Valley can boast of many things: a highly skilled
and motivated workforce, an outstanding location with excellent
transportation access, and lower costs than Greater Boston. But
the entire Commonwealth continues to grapple with a sluggish
economy, and even with these advantages, the Valley’s communities
suffer from some of the highest unemployment rates in
The challenges to the Merrimack Valley economy cannot be
addressed effectively by any single community, by any single public
official, or by any single business. But these challenges can be
addressed successfully by all of those leaders working together.
The Council provides the forum for such collaboration, and serves
as the vehicle to advance the region further along the road first to
economic recovery, and then to prosperity.
MVEDC Co-Founder and Co-Chair
Robert J. Halpin
t’s been five years since the inaugural meeting of the Merrimack Valley
Economic Development Council. During that time, public and private sector
leaders have created a stronger voice to represent the economic interests of
the Merrimack Valley. They have demonstrated that the four “C’s” – communication,
collaboration, cooperation and coordination – are able to provide fresh and creative
approaches to problem-solving. They have also succeeded in leveraging and focusing
the region’s resources and institutions on the common challenges and opportunities
facing us all.
The past year in particular saw progress on many of the projects that the MVEDC
initiated during its first five years. For instance, the string of successes which have
flowed from the Lawrence Gateway Project – the earliest of the many examples of
effective coordination and communication – continues to lengthen as recognition
grows of the potential for development in the historical canal district of downtown
Lawrence. In the annual report that follows, you will see other examples of
successful collaboration and cooperation – public, quasi-public and private;
federal, state, regional and local -- moving the Merrimack Valley forward.
As we look to the future, or more immediately, the next five years, we have
a solid foundation on which to build. The most successful economic regions,
the Merrimack Valley among them, possess unique and distinctive capabilities
upon which their economic competitiveness is based, and upon which sustained
growth and prosperity depend. The Merrimack Valley is fortunate to have many
such unique capabilities: communications and telecommunications equipment,
computer hardware and information technology, medical devices and biopharma-
ceutical production, precision instruments, and more. This wealth of capabilities
goes a long way towards explaining the above-average economic performance
during the prosperity of the 1990’s.
Sometimes we can take our strengths for granted. Even with our unique capabilities,
we confront daunting challenges as well. Long waiting lists and lack of access to
English-as-a-Second Language and adult basic education hold back thousands
of our residents from full participation in the economy. The workforce training
system struggles with limited resources and sometimes conflicting mandates.
Reclaiming and redeveloping older industrial sites and rebuilding old and under-
performing infrastructure to accommodate new economic growth are critical to
connecting our older downtowns to the overall prosperity of the Valley.
The Merrimack Valley will be successful in confronting these challenges only if
we recognize the strength that we possess when we are united as a region, and
we continue to practice the four “C”s -- communication, collaboration, cooperation
I want to thank all who have supported the Council’s efforts during its first five
years: Co-Chairs Chip Rogers and Kendall Wallace, Executive Committee and
Board of Directors, major sponsors and all of the individuals who have come
to the Council’s table to help move the Merrimack Valley forward.
Robert J. Halpin
he Merrimack Valley Economic Development Council, Inc. celebrates
its fifth anniversary with the publication of this Annual Report for 2004.
The fifth anniversary is a fitting time to reflect for a moment on the
Council’s history, and to make an assessment about whether the Council is
succeeding in its mission.
The Merrimack Hat Factory, at its peak,
produced more head wear than any of its competitors.
The nation’s number one candy was, for a while,
Hoyt’s Buffalo Brand Peanut Butter Kisses, produced
Clockwise: MVEDC Co-Founder and General Counsel David A.Tibbetts; President & CEO
Robert J. Halpin; Executive Assistant Mary Cuticchia and office mascot Zuma Tibbetts.
errimack Valley Economic Development Council’s actual legal “birth date”
is August 10, 1999. That was the day that the Council’s co-founders –
The town is renowned for being the home of Eagle-Tribune Publisher Irving E. “Chip” Rogers III, Lowell Sun Publisher
one of the oldest and most prestigious independent Kendall M. Wallace, and former Massachusetts Secretary of Economic Affairs
secondary ‘prep’ schools in the U.S – Phillips
David A. Tibbetts – filed the Council’s Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary
Academy. Alumni include such notables as both
Presidents Bush, pediatrician Dr. Benjamin Spock, of The Commonwealth. The Council’s mission was stated in its Bylaws:
former Yale President and baseball Commissioner
A. Bartlett Giamatti, and former Chief Justice of the “...to advance the economic interests of the Merrimack Valley of Massachusetts. The
United States Supreme Court, Oliver Wendall Holmes Jr. Council encourages greater communication and cooperation between the public and
private sectors, and fosters collaborative efforts between and among communities,
leading to sustainable economic growth and prosperity for all.”
State funding was first secured in that same month, with an appropriation of
$250,000 from the Massachusetts Legislature. That public sector funding would
be matched by major private sector sponsorships as the Council grew, with the Billerica marks its 350th anniversary this year.
Events planned for the year-long celebration include
largest single gift of $100,000 from Lowell industrialist Elkin McCallum, CEO of
community breakfasts, plays, historical character
Joan Fabrics. presentations, silent movie shows, a carnival, free
concerts on the Town Common, a Yankee Doodle
The Council’s Executive Committee held its first meeting in November at the Homecoming and Parade and a harvest ball.
Lanam Club in Andover, electing Chip Rogers and Kendall Wallace as Co-Chairmen
and David Tibbetts as interim President. The Executive Committee developed a
list of nominees for a Board of Directors consisting of a wide range of public and
private sector leaders from across the region.
Robert J. Halpin was selected to direct its operations and opened offices in
downtown Lawrence. Halpin came to the new position after serving as CEO
of three communities in the Council’s membership – Pepperell, Westford,
and North Andover.
The Council’s inaugural Board of Directors meeting in February 2000 brought
together 90 of the Merrimack Valley’s business, civic, political, municipal, and
educational leaders at Lowell’s Tsongas Arena – the first time such a diverse and
influential group had ever been united to chart a regional approach to economic
Boxford is the second largest town in Essex
development for the entire Merrimack Valley – 24 communities reaching “from County. The town is home to two country stores and
Greater Lowell to the sea.”
Efforts have stressed the importance of the “four C’s:” communication, collaboration,
coordination and cooperation. In its first five years, the Council has seen significant
progress in many areas precisely because it has been able to provide the vehicle
for collaborations between communities, between federal, local and state governments,
and between the public and private sectors.
Of course, neither the Merrimack Valley nor the Council exists in a vacuum. The
past five years have brought a downturn in the nation’s economy, with particularly
difficult times for Massachusetts and the Merrimack Valley. The “dot-com” bust
and the collapse of the telecommunications sector, a mainstay of the region’s
employment base in the 1980’s and 1990’s, was devastating. The Valley lost Chelmsford
thousands of solid, high-tech manufacturing jobs at Lucent Technologies alone.
In the 19th century, machine shops, match
makers and a granite quarry, which supplied the
But the Merrimack Valley has always been resilient. It has bounced back from material used to construct Quincy Market, operated
major economic setbacks in the past, including the loss of the textile industry in in Chelmsford.
the late 1950s and 1960s, and the minicomputer industry in the 1980’s and early
1990’s. Already, the Valley has proven itself as an ideal location for the growing life
science industry cluster – biotechnology and medical device companies. We have
a technology-savvy workforce, and ideal locations for growing companies.
And we have one more thing: a regional business climate that welcomes both new
and expanding companies, with the full and active support of the Merrimack
Valley Economic Development Council.
The Junction/Interstate 93 Interchange
pproximately 100 companies in the Lowell Junction/Ballardvale area of
Andover and Wilmington, adjacent to Interstate 93, employ more than
6,000 people full time, making the area one of the largest employment hubs
in Massachusetts. The three largest companies, Wyeth BioPharma, Gillette and
Charles River Labs, employ nearly half of these workers. Forty-five percent of the
employees live in the Merrimack Valley.
For at least a decade, the area has been plagued by inadequate highway access
to I-93, leading to traffic problems in the nearby residential neighborhoods and
prohibiting further development of industrially zoned and suitable space.
The 290-year old Coburn/Cutter House, with its In 2004, the Council continued an effort begun a year earlier to serve as the
massive beams, huge center chimney and fireplaces, convener and single point of contact for businesses, employers and other
is one of Dracut’s better-known historic buildings. In stakeholders in promoting the new interchange into the Junction/Ballardvale
1653, the community was part of the Wamiset Praying Development area, which includes sections of Andover, Wilmington and
Town, one of the preserves set aside by the colonists
for Christianized Indians.
The MVEDC issued a report – The Junction/Route 93 Development Area: Our
Opportunity for Smart Growth and Regional Economic Development -- detailing
the tremendous economic opportunity the interchange would provide: as many as
11,000 jobs created or retained, and tens of millions in local and state tax revenue.
The Council’s report also outlined how the interchange could support other
development priorities of the Romney administration, including smart growth
development, optimal use of existing infrastructure through in-fill development,
and a multi-modal approach to transportation systems. The Council has retained
The gazebo in the center of town was built by the urban design firm of Carlone and Associates to help communicate the development
the Greater Lowell Regional Technical High School vision for the area in a manner consistent with the Commonwealth’s Sustainable
Class of 1989. The town only had to pay for the costs Development Principles.
of materials. The students donated the labor. The
town got a gazebo. The students got some valuable
hands-on experience and the satisfaction of having The MVEDC organized a regional meeting on December 2, 2004 at Merrimack
crafted a structure that has served as a central focus College to update local, regional, state and federal officials on the project. On
of many community activities since it was built. December 9, Council Co-chair Kendall Wallace and President Robert Halpin
met directly with Governor Romney and Secretary of Economic Affairs Ranch
Kimball to seek the Governor’s direct support in conducting the official
Interchange Justification Review to determine whether the Federal Highway
Administration will approve an interchange.
Residents organize an annual Georgetown Days
celebration for families during the weekend preceding
the Fourth of July, including food, crafts, rides,
entertainment and fireworks.
The proposed interchange into the Junction/Ballardvale Development area, which includes
sections of Andover,Wilmington and Tewksbury, would provide thousands of jobs and tens
of millions in local and state tax revenue.
Incorporated in 1850, late in the state’s history,
Groveland remained an agricultural community for
most of the 20th century. Today the town is almost
wholly residential. The most dramatic changes began
in the 1960s, when several developments were built.
MVEDC has played a key role in supporting efforts to construct 145 artist-style lofts
in the Washington Mills complex at 250 Canal Street.
Lawrence Gateway Redevelopment Project
n June of 2000, the MVEDC convened a leadership summit of federal, state and
local leaders to rally support for the then-stalled Lawrence Gateway project.
Since that time, the MVEDC has convened a monthly task force of regulatory
agencies, environmental engineers, local mill owners and local officials to assure
the type of high-level interagency and intergovernmental communication and
coordination required to keep a project of this complexity moving forward.
As a result of these coordinated efforts, significant progress has been made in a
project that has been struggling for nearly 20 years. The $35 million interchange
improvement project at the Marston Street exit of Interstate 495 is nearing completion; Haverhill has been home to many historical
the demolition of the Oxford Paper Co. is complete and remediation efforts underway; figures and prominent individuals including: poet and
abolitionist John Greenleaf Whittier, founder of the
GenCorp continues its remediation plans for eight acres of land which will support
world-renowned Lahey Clinic Frank Howard Lahey
over 1,000 surface parking spaces; and mill owners adjacent to the area are seeing and Archie comic strip creator Bob Montana.
heightened interest among tenants seeking to locate in quality, affordable office
space in the heart of Lawrence’s historic downtown canal district.
The efforts of the task force ultimately led to a decision on the part of
MassDevelopment to play a central role in leading the final effort towards
construction of the parking amenity, which is the focal point of the project.
Council Co-Chair Chip Rogers and Council President Robert Halpin met with
incoming MassDevelopment President Robert Culver to brief him on the project.
They shared the MVEDC’s belief that private investment must lead in the development
of the final improvement of the parking facility envisioned as the heart of the project,
as well as the MVEDC’s view of the strategy required to leverage private investment.
MassDevelopment remains committed to the project and agrees that unless it
results in significant investment and job creation in the surrounding properties,
its full potential will not be realized.
Washington Mills – Artist-style Lofts Development
Immediately adjacent to the Gateway in the heart of the Lawrence historic canal
district is the Washington Mills complex. The MVEDC has played a key role in
supporting the efforts of the Architectural Heritage Foundation and the mill owner
to construct 145 artist-style lofts. The MVEDC coordinated a variety of meetings of
city and state officials, including support for the application submitted to the
Mass. Historic Commission for $2.8 million in Historic Preservation Tax Credits.
When that application faltered, State Representative David Torrisi worked with
legislative allies to secure a comparable amount of funding in the state budget.
Commencement of the project is expected in the first half of 2005.
Morehouse Bakery Building Redevelopment
The MVEDC, in the course of supporting the Architectural Heritage Foundation
efforts to develop the Washington Mills, introduced the AHF to the owner of the
Built in the 1840’s as the nation’s first planned property located at 9 Mill Street in Lawrence, who had previously developed the
industrial city, Lawrence was a world leader in the
One Mill Street property that is now a restaurant and a cornerstone to the entire
production of cotton and woolen textiles by the early
twentieth century. The massive mill buildings lining
Gateway. The 9 Mill Street property is now referred to as the Morehouse Bakery
the Merrimack River and the Great Stone Dam are a Building. The AHF and the owner of the Morehouse Bakery building have entered
tribute to the city’s industrial heritage. into a partnership to redevelop the building, and major announcements are
anticipated in 2005.
“Gateway South” - Ayer Mill - Wood Mill - Riverwalk
Just across the Merrimack River from the Gateway District lies another complex of
mill buildings with millions of square feet of space. In 2004, the MVEDC continues
to collaborate with the new owners of the buildings and other stakeholders in this
area -- now known as “Gateway South.” In July, the Merrimack Valley Regional
Transit Authority (MVRTA) broke ground on a new $22 million multi-modal transit
station and parking garage that will be the cornerstone for “Gateway South.”
Despite logistical challenges, including the relocation of high voltage electrical
equipment, the project is “on track” for a grand opening in the fall of 2005.
Lowell is the fourth largest city in the
Commonwealth. Its strategic location at the
intersections of Routes 495, 93 and 3 provides
excellent access to all points of interest in
Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine.
Artists rendering of $22 million multi-modal transit station and parking garage that will be
the cornerstone for “Gateway South.”
In late 2003, Robert D. Ansin, founder of the Massachusetts Innovation Center, a
successful mill restoration project in Fitchburg, purchased the Wood Mill. Located
directly across the street from the site for the transit station, the Wood Mill contains
more than one million square feet of floor space, which Ansin will redevelop with a
mix of commercial, academic and residential uses.
Sal Lupoli, owner of Sal's Just Pizza, purchased the Riverwalk property, located on
the south side of the river, between the Wood Mill and I-495. Lupoli has begun to
restore the mills, and has already begun to attract expanding businesses both
from within Lawrence and from other parts of the state.
The MVEDC sponsored a seminar in partnership with the National Association of
Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP) on September 29, 2004, focusing on newly
enacted legislation creating District Improvement Financing in Massachusetts.
The well-attended seminar was held in the Wood Mill, and was followed by a
meeting of Lawrence building owners and city officials on how the program
might be utilized in the Gateway area.
Redevelopment of 1600 Osgood Street Merrimac
Merrimac was first settled by Europeans in
he former Lucent Technologies facility in North Andover is a 157-acre
the late 1650s. As the town grew, residents pursued
campus with more than two million square feet of industrial space. Its maritime trades, such as fishing for salmon and
buildings boast some of the most sophisticated infrastructure available for sturgeon and shipbuilding. It was also the distribution
high technology manufacturing in New England today. As recently as 2001, Lucent point for sugar and molasses from the West Indian
Technologies employed more than 4,000 people at this facility. With Lucent’s trade.
drastic corporate downsizing, thousands of jobs have been lost, and many
highly skilled technology workers remain unemployed.
The impact of the Lucent layoffs has rippled throughout the Merrimack Valley
economy, and the region’s unemployment levels are among the highest in
Massachusetts. This highly skilled work force eagerly awaits the redevelopment Methuen
and reuse of this facility.
Methuen’s public offices are set within the lush
grounds of the Searles Estate. Designed by architect
In 2003, Ozzy Properties, with experience in redeveloping former mill facilities in Henry Vaughn in the late 19th century, this grand
Andover and Lawrence, purchased the former Lucent Technologies facility, and scale castle is noted for its massive English
renamed it “1600 Osgood Street – The Premier Address for Industry, Commerce, Renaissance Revival style. The Methuen Memorial
Music Hall was built specifically to showcase the first
Research & Development”.
concert organ in the United States.
Since the first signs appeared that Lucent would likely sell the facility, the
Merrimack Valley Economic Development Council has taken an active role,
both publicly and “behind the scenes,” to ensure that this vital Valley resource
be positioned to once again provide high-quality manufacturing jobs for the
region. The City of Haverhill voted to extend its Economic Target Area
designation to this specific location in North Andover, as the centerpiece of an
economic development incentive program to help assure its future success as a
manufacturing center. In 2004, the Town of North Andover and Ozzy Properties
negotiated a tax increment financing agreement to complement the 5% Investment
Tax Credit that the extension of the ETA enables at the site. Approval of the
agreement was anticipated in 2005.
Ozzy Properties is now aggressively marketing the facility, which has state-of-the-
art electrical and mechanical infrastructure and is ideally suited for high technology
manufacturing. The Council has supported those marketing efforts, and 1600
Osgood was prominently featured at the statewide life science industry conference
on April 2. The MVEDC included the facility in the familiarization tour organized
in September for the leading biotech companies. Those efforts will continue
Newbury is home to the Plum Island Airport,
which has served residents and businesses since
aviation was in its infancy. In the late 1700’s, the
town set a pattern of diversified industry, producing
woolen goods made by the first American-made wool
An aerial view of 1600 Osgood Street.The facility has more than two million square feet of
industrial space and boasts some of the most sophisticated infrastructure available for high
technology manufacturing today. Photograph courtesy of The Eagle-Tribune.
he MVEDC was active on several fronts in 2004 to improve awareness and
visibility of the Merrimack Valley as a competitive business location:
Web site: MerrimackValley.INFO
The Council is continually improving the design and content of its increasingly
popular Web site: www.merrimackvalley.info. The site was redesigned in 2004, with
The first tea party in opposition to England’s tax a new home page that is easier to navigate. The Web site has become a focal point
on tea was held in Newburyport, well before the more for information on economic development efforts and opportunities, as well as on
famous one in Boston. Newburyport is the birthplace
arts and cultural events in the Merrimack Valley.
of the United States Coast Guard. The first ship
commissioned for the Coast Guard, the frigate
Massachusetts, was built in the city. The Council has two goals for the Web site: first, to be a useful source of informa-
tion for the Council's own Board members; and second, to be a resource for any
business seeking information about what the Merrimack Valley has to offer,
whether that business is already in the Valley or just considering locating here.
The Web site received 2.2 million “hits” and 104,000 “sessions” in 2004.
North Andover is home to the Lawrence
Municipal Airport, which has been providing air
transport services to the region’s employers for more
than 70 years. The airfield can accommodate a full
range of aircraft, from single and multi-engine planes
to smaller jets and helicopters.
The Council also continues to publish a weekly electronic newsletter -- “Merrimack
Valley Happenings …” -- distributed via e-mail to several hundred recipients,
including the Council’s full 100-member Board of Directors, as well as to key busi-
ness, government and community leaders both in the Merrimack Valley and across
Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy
In each of the five urban centers of the Merrimack Valley, there is a rapidly grow-
MVArts.Info ing visual and performing arts community. The cities of Amesbury, Haverhill,
Lowell, Lawrence and Newburyport have identified the creative economy as a key
element in their strategies for downtown revitalization. There is also a growing
Merrimack Valley Arts artistic movement in the more suburban communities like Andover, Methuen and
The Council believes that the breadth and vibrancy of the Merrimack Valley’s arts
and culture offerings is a key element in the Valley’s quality of life. In February
2004, the MVEDC partnered with Meerkat Technology to launch an on-line ticket-
ing Web site for arts and culture events in the Merrimack Valley:
www.MVArts.INFO. In October, the MVEDC began a marketing campaign to The shoe industry in Pepperell began with small
shops or “ten footers” in the 1830s. Then Albert
improve awareness of the site. The goal is two-fold:
Leighton and his sons expanded the size of the
industry with three shoe factories they built in 1868,
• to improve access to the wide array of arts venues in the Valley, regardless 1879, and 1890. Employment in these factories rose
of size, through on-line ticketing they could not necessary afford acting from 70 in the first to 700 in the last.
• to brand the Merrimack Valley, particularly the cities of Lowell, Lawrence,
Haverhill, Amesbury and Newburyport, as quality arts destinations North
In the first 10 months of operation, the new Web site served 31 different community
based arts and culture organizations, selling 3,400 tickets online, and generating at
least $54,000 for the local venues.
Target: Life Science companies
“Life Science” companies -- those engaged in medical devices, pharmaceuticals
and biotechnology -- have continued to be a growing force in the Massachusetts
economy, even during the lingering recession of the past three years. The The Revolutionary War cannon “Old Nancy”
is one of the town’s most prized possessions. The
Merrimack Valley is home to more than two dozen such companies, including
cannon was taken by Rowley soldiers from the British
industry giants like Wyeth BioPharma, Smith + Nephew, Philips Medical, GE ship Nancy, which was captured off Gloucester.
Medical Systems and Straumann USA. Straumann, a Swiss company, chose to
locate it’s new dental implant manufacturing facility in Andover in large part
because of the proximity of similar life science companies.
Salisbury Beach State Reservation is the
Commonwealth's busiest state park, with more
han 200,000 visitors annually to the four-mile
beach and campground.
Council President Bob Halpin participated in several meetings with Straumann,
focused on marketing the strengths of the Merrimack Valley. The meetings played
an important role in introducing Straumann executives to representatives from
Northern Essex Community College, Greater Lawrence Technical High School
and the Merrimack Valley Workforce Investment Board. These interactions helped
to answer some of the company’s questions about workforce availability and
training. The official groundbreaking for the company’s headquarters at 100
Minuteman Park in Andover took place on May 27, 2004, and there will soon
be 150 new manufacturing jobs to the Merrimack Valley.
Statewide Forum - Life Science Industry
The Merrimack Valley is realizing the potential of many development stage medical
device companies such as NxStage, which develops a portable renal dialysis unit,
and Radianse, representing the application of a wireless technology to reduce
health care costs. Equally exciting is the fact that these development stage
companies are located in redeveloped mill buildings in Lawrence.
Tewksbury was known as the “Carnation Town”
for many years because from the late 1800’s to the
The MVEDC, a member of the Massachusetts Alliance for Economic Development
early 1900s greenhouses and market gardens were
the town’s dominant business. Many hothouses
(MAED), initiated a discussion with MAED and three regional economic development
raised carnations and other flowers commercially organizations in Massachusetts. That discussion led to a statewide conference at
which several regions in Massachusetts presented information regarding their
regional advantages and opportunities to emerging life sciences companies.
The conference, held on April 2, 2004, was co-sponsored by the Massachusetts
Department of Business and Technology, MassDevelopment, the Massachusetts
Biotechnology Council, Mass. Medical Device Industry Council, MAED, and
five regional groups: the MVEDC, Economic Development Council of Western
Massachusetts, SouthCoast Development Partnership, Worcester Business
Development Corporation, and the Boston Redevelopment Authority. There
were more than 150 participants. Christopher Perley, Managing Director of Wyeth
BioPharma in Andover, represented the Merrimack Valley on a panel of life science
During the founding period, settlers fought a
series of small, but often bloody skirmishes with local
Indian tribes. Several colonial era homes in town still
“ Our company could not have chosen a better place
to locate. We need a top-notch workforce, and our
Merrimack Valley location enables us to attract
have emergency passageways used during attacks.
highly-skilled employees from all over eastern
Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire,
indeed, from across the nation.
Christopher Perley, Managing Director
Wyeth BioPharma, Andover
Marketing Other marketing efforts in 2004 included:
• The MVEDC co-sponsored the Massachusetts Alliance for Economic
Development TEAM Massachusetts Economic Leadership Awards event on
November 23, 2004. New Balance Athletic Shoe Co., which has office, R&D,
manufacturing and distribution locations in Lawrence, was recognized with
the Northeast Region Leadership Award based on its manufacturing
presence in Lawrence, recent building improvement investments in the
historic Ayer Mill, and the consolidation of approximately 150 research and
design jobs into this location. New Balance affirmed its long stated satisfaction
with Lawrence as a manufacturing and office location, and announced that
Phase II of its building improvement plan in the Ayer Mill would begin in 2005.
West Newbury is the birthplace of the comb
industry in America. At its height, there were 30 • The MVEDC organized a media event on September 15, 2004 featuring the
operating comb shops in the community. growing number of innovation services companies which have begun to
cluster in downtown Lawrence. The event featured Blacksmith Applications,
a start-up company featuring a new software application for the food services
industry. Blacksmith cited the role played by their venture capital investors
in steering them toward high quality, affordable office space in the renovated
mill building at 60 Island Street. The MVEDC used this event to reach the
Boston business media and highlight Lowell, Lawrence and Haverhill as
increasingly attractive locations for companies desiring proximity to greater
Boston, but with more affordable costs.
Westford • The MVEDC worked with the Massachusetts Office of International Trade
Each May, Westford holds an Apple Blossom and Investment in sponsoring an advertisement in American/British
Festival with a parade and the crowning of an Business 2004/2005. The Council’s advertisement featured the U.K. based
Apple Blossom Queen. A Strawberry Festival in June firm of Smith+Nephew, whose Endoscopy Division is headquartered in
features a craft fair and strawberry shortcake.
Andover, in a cluster of other European life science companies.
The Merrimack Valley Economic Development Council, Inc.
thanks our Major Sponsors for Calendar 2004
Platinum Sponsors $25,000+
Gold Sponsors $10,000+
Silver Sponsors $5,000+
MassInnovation, LLC Keegan Werlin LLC
a smart growth development company Attorneys at Law
A view of the canal at Middlesex Community College, Lowell.
In the right rear of the photograph is the newly restored
Federal Building, the historic former U.S. Post Office building
that now houses Middlesex Community College’s Lowell
campus library, classrooms and a community Assembly
Room. On the left is the headquarters of the Lowell Sun, and
the Fairburn Building, now being converted to condominiums.
Beyond the Federal Building are the towers of the
Massachusetts Mills complex, one of the first downtown
Lowell mill buildings to be restored for residential use.
Merrimack Valley Economic Development Council, Inc.
439 South Union Street, Suite 211
Lawrence MA 01843-2800
Tel: (978) 975-8787
Fax: (978) 975-8811