$13M Union Street Lofts completed in downtown New Bedford

NEW BEDFORD – The Union Street Lofts, a new mixed-use complex in the heart of downtown New Bedford, has been completed, with 35 apartments – 20 of them “affordable” – and 15,000 square feet of retail and commercial space.

The project, which cost $13 million, including about $8.5 million in direct construction costs, was a collaborative three-year effort by the City of New Bedford, WHALE (the Waterfront Historic Area League), real estate firm HallKeen Management and Sovereign Bank.

“Union Street Lofts represent the best of what a public-private partnership is all about,” said Andrew Burnes, president and CEO of HallKeen, in a statement. “The initiative embodies key smart-growth principals and will be viewed as a model for future partnerships.”

Patrick J. Sullivan, Massachusetts market CEO for Sovereign, said the bank had gotten involved because “Sovereign understands that private capital is needed to help fund projects that will jump-start economic revitalization.”

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The lofts were developed by rehabbing five separate turn-of-the-century buildings: the Phinney Building, New Bedford Dry Goods, the AE Coffin Building, the Haste Building and the Eddy Building – all located in New Bedford’s historic district.

“This is a momentous day as we celebrate the reuse of these historic properties as homes,” said Mayor Scott Lang. “The Union Street Lofts has not only provided the city of New Bedford with new housing, it has also provided jobs to our local contractors and has stimulated our economy. The lofts have contributed to the revitalization of the downtown area in a big way.”

The project employed local vendors such as Bufftree Building Co., Franklin Analytical, Dyer Brown, WHALE, HallKeen Management, Medium Studios and Beaumont Sign as well as the dozens of local subcontractors.

The apartments are studios and one- and two-bedroom units, each unique and several with harbor views.

Additional financing was provided by Federal Home Loan Bank, the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development, MassHousing, MassDevelopment, the Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation and the Massachusetts Historical Commission.