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DEVENS, MA-A group of Dunkin’ Donuts franchise owners will break ground later this month on a 22,000-sf central kitchen at this former military base that will produce baked goods for 100 area stores and add about 100 new jobs to the region. The group of owners, known as Barnum Realty LLC, will construct the facility on a two-acre lot on Barnum Road which was recently purchased for $200,000 from MassDevelopment, the entity responsible for the redevelopment of the former Fort Devens Army base.

“This is great news for the north central region,” says Robert Culver, MassDevelopment president, in a statement announcing the group’s plans. “This project demonstrates the power of partnership and the positive impact cooperation can have in terms of job growth and business development.”

The central kitchen facility, which is set to begin operations in June, 2006, will allow franchise owners to expand their retail operations by adding new food offerings in space once occupied by ovens and other baking equipment. The former military base has exceeded expectations since MassDevelopment was charged with revitalizing the 4,400-acre facility in the late 1990s.

Less than 10 years after the Legislature enacted a 40-year enterprise zone for the site following the base closing in 1996, half of the 8.5 million sf of commercial development planned for the area has already been built. Once abandoned by the military, Devens now has 106 condominium units with 176 more residential units planned, a recently opened 150-room Marriott hotel and conference center and a downtown that includes a 20,000 sf shopping center.

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