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Journal or Book Title

Planning Practice and Research


Redevelopment of urban sites is an ongoing concern for many communities in the industrial Northeast United States. While many mill sites still languish, examples of successful revitalization can be found. Most of these efforts require more than market conditions to make them viable. Partnerships between developers and the community and state are seen to be crucial. These public-private partnerships come in many forms, not always monetary.

The detail and effectiveness of these partnerships often depend on the experience and expertise of developers and community professionals. Given that many of these communities have limited staff, agreements are often made quickly with a rather short-term perspective. This often leads to either side (most often the municipal side) not fully benefiting in terms of long-term impacts. Longitudinal studies to examine impacts over time are helping understand the complexities of these agreements and offer transferable lessons.

This paper, a case study of public-private investment in an old mill complex located in Maynard, Massachusetts that was vacated in 1993, is intended to help communities consider those costs and benefits. It discusses the historical significance of the mill to the town, examines the rationale for investors to purchase the mill and their intentions in revitalizing the structures, describes the public-private agreements that were undertaken, analyzes the immediate impact of the resulting agreements, and examines the impact over the years.