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Infrastructure grant to complement Forest Park development in Marlborough

CITYBIZLIST BOSTON – A $1.6 million MassWorks Infrastructure Grant Program award from The Commonwealth of Massachusetts will fund roadway, bicycle and pedestrian improvements along Simarano Drive in Marlborough’s Southwest Quadrant.

The state-funded infrastructure upgrades in Marlborough will complement the private sector investment in the area’s mixed-use, multifamily Forest Park development. The former Hewlett-Packard and Fidelity Investment sites, now owned by Atlantic Management, will include new housing units, a hotel, and more retail and dining spaces for local residents and workers, all of whom will benefit from the road reconstruction.

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick made the grant announcement while speaking at the MetroWest Chamber of Commerce in Hopkinton, MA. He then met with local business and government officials, where he toured the development site at 200 Forest Park in Marlborough.

“We’re here to celebrate a wonderful public-private partnership,” said Governor Patrick. “It’s about a little bit of state money, about $1.6 million, leveraging a huge amount of private investment and lots of new jobs. It’s helping to really establish a whole new neighborhood here in Marlborough, and I’m proud to be a part of it.”

Governor Patrick toured Quest Diagnostic’s under-construction 200,000 square foot lab, located at Forest Park. As part of the project’s first phase, the new state-of-the-art “Hub Lab” will service the New England market when it opens in mid 2014.

Also included in the first phase of the Forest Park development are 730,000 square feet of office, research and design space; 350 luxury rental units; and a three-story, 125-room hotel. The second phase of the project will include the construction of 50,000 square feet of retail space, a 250,000-square-foot office building, and a 900-space parking structure. The entire project is estimated to create 475 construction jobs between both the commercial and residential components.

Last year, the Marlborough Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) facilitated the zoning changes to create Forest Park, which lead to the Quest Diagnostics lease and resulted in private investment into the development of approximately $78 million. MEDC’s Executive Director Tim Cummings said the Commonwealth’s support of infrastructure improvements in Marlborough will have long-term benefits for both the local and the state economies.

Funds from the new grant will begin flowing into the city’s coffers over the next few months. Redevelopment work will likely begin within the next year—an exciting prospect for Marlborough Mayor Arthur Vigeant, who last month secured a multi-million-dollar bond package for the city’s infrastructure development in FY2014.

This is not the first time public investments have been made along the Simarano corridor. State funding helped build the Rt. 495 off-ramp, known as exit “23C Simarano Drive,” in 2000. State money also contributed to the development of The Campus office complex, which has resulted in more than $13.3 million in property tax payments, and has brought more than a 1,000 jobs to the city, since 1997.

This story originally appeared here.