Launches Interactive Map to Promote the City’s Economic Development Opportunities
Point and Click View of the City Gives Developers a New Perspective
Worcester, Massachusetts —The Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce recently developed an interactive map to promote and accelerate economic development in the region. This new tool goes beyond traditional economic development—displaying real estate and development opportunities, and projects underway or completed.
“The goal of the map is to showcase Worcester’s progress to date and highlight the development opportunities to come,” said Sherri G. Pitcher, Director, Business Recruitment, Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce. “The tool has proven a valuable resource when connecting with site selectors, developers, new companies, and large corporations.”
With more than $2 billion in economic development underway in the City of Worcester, this interactive map offers a variety of views to highlight development opportunities, proposed projects; projects underway; higher education projects; top employers in the city; the location of our local colleges with their enrollments and proximity to downtown; and points of interest. Information provided includes address, project name, square footage, and contact information.
In 2013, the Chamber announced that, in collaboration with the city of Worcester, it would lead the region’s business recruitment and retention efforts. Subsequently, the Chamber launched a successful fund-raising campaign backed by the business community to provide for the resources to fulfill this newly defined “recruit, retain, and incubate” strategy.
An Economic Development Coordinating Council (EDCC), comprised of members of the business community, the city of Worcester, the Worcester Business Development Corporation, Massachusetts Biotechnology Initiative and others, convenes weekly to coordinate activity and develop sales pitches to new, targeted businesses and site selectors.
“The goal is to promote Worcester’s value proposition,” said Ms. Pitcher. “Over the last six months, we have wow-ed developers with the city’s progress—some of whom had never even been to Worcester. The map gives us a tool to tell our story visually and then, it is our job to get the developer to visit the city and check it out for themselves.”
In recent months, members of the EDCC have conducted tours for national chains, such as Jimmy Johns, Atlantic Retail Partners, Distinctive Hospitality Group, and others. With a focus on Worcester’s downtown, the EDCC seeks to bring in restaurants, retail, and offices. Companies that have already moved into downtown, or plan to, include the web consulting firm, ten24. Their move to 20 Franklin Street, the former home of the Telegram & Gazette, provides all the amenities needed by a high tech company. The site, developed by WBDC, is now a modern commercial office space and urban campus for an educational institution. In June 2015, restaurateurs Sean Woods and Jared Forman will open at 38 Franklin Street.
Craig L. Blais, president and CEO of the Worcester Business Development Corporation (WBDC) stated, “This interactive map is an important tool for developers and others looking for a site in the downtown area. The map includes details such as square footage, proximity to other businesses, and contact information for potential buyers and tenants. It will help tremendously with all of our economic development efforts to bring new businesses to Worcester’s downtown.”
“We believe we have a product with appeal,” said Edward Augustus, City Manager. “With the right team, the right message, and a coordinated approach, we will be able to bring more businesses into the city in the next five years.”
Leveraging the intellectual capital at our local universities, the interactive map was developed by Joseph Danko, III, an alum of Clark University’s Graduate School of Geography, under the direction of Ms. Pitcher.