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FALL RIVER, MA-At one time, some residents of this town tucked in the southeastern corner of the state about 50 miles outside of Boston thought a casino developed here by the Wampanoag tribe would change its fortunes. But the idea was voted down and the site earmarked for its construction remained vacant.

About two years ago, the city transferred the 160 acres to the Fall River Redevelopment Authority in hopes that it could more effectively drum up much-needed business in this area. The Authority went through an urban renewal plan and today three of the 11 parcels that comprise the former airport site are under development. Town officials tell GlobeSt.com that there is interest in a number of the other parcels as well.

“The Redevelopment Authority has been aggressively marketing this property,” says Jim Hartnett, director of planning for this city. Part of the marketing program has included a tax-financing program and a pre-permitting process to lure developers to this area, which has been renamed the Fall River Commerce Park.

And developers are taking the bait. Main Street Textiles has built a 700,000-sf manufacturing facility here. A.J. Wright has developed a 300,000-sf distribution center, which it is in the process of expanding. A new fire station complex has also been developed here that comprises three buildings and a fire tower. Hartnett says that eight parcels, ranging in size from 11 to 35 acres are still available.

This city has also seen additional development here with the renovation of a 60,000-sf mill that will house the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center, a partnership overseen by the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth.

The mayor’s office did not return calls by presstime, but in a recent editorial Mayor Edward M Lambert Jr. states that the city needs funding from the state Legislature for highway infrastructure projects to enable the town to continue to develop.

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