Image courtesy of Newmark

University of Massachusetts officials are seeking partners for a 1.1 million-square-foot redevelopment of the UMass Lowell East campus.

The UMass Building Authority selected brokerage Newmark to solicit proposals from developers for five sites totaling 10 acres at the school’s east campus, sandwiched between the Tsongas Center and LeLacheur Park baseball stadium.

The existing zoning allows nearly 1.1 million square feet of development including office/R&D space, hospitality, student housing, residential and retail buildings, according to an offering sheet obtained by Banker & Tradesman. Two of the sites are located in federal Opportunity Zones, which offer long-term owners tax breaks on improvements to a property.

The brokerage said development prospects could benefit from the university’s industry partnerships with R&D companies, the proximity to recreational destinations in downtown Lowell and the presence of major corporations such as Raytheon and Thermo Fisher Scientific in the Route 495 north submarket.

The available parcels include parking lots next to the 7,800-seat Tsongas Center, which is owned by UMass, and the 5,000-seat former minor league ballpark, which is owned by the city of Lowell. The project will be funded through a combination of public and private investment, according to the offering sheet.

“The UMass Lowell East Campus benefits from compelling demand from a wealth of existing and potential new corporate partners for a central R&D complex in which innovative companies can co-locate with university facilities to share resources and foster talent,” the brokerage stated.

UMass spokesman John Hoey did not respond to messages seeking additional information. The UMass Building Authority held an executive session on Monday to consider the lease and value of real property, according to a meeting notice.

A large-scale development could provide a major new source of income for UMass Lowell, which laid off 100 staff members in June 2020 to close a projected $50 million budget deficit.

Other local higher ed institutions are exploring partnerships with private developers to cash in on the real estate market and demand for life science facilities and multifamily housing.

In Boston’s Fenway, Simmons University is partnering with Skanska on a proposed 1.75 million-square-foot redevelopment of its 5.9-acre residential campus off Brookline Avenue. The project would include three office-lab buildings and a 200-unit residential building.

UMass Seeks 1.1 M SF Redevelopment of Downtown Lowell Campus

by Steve Adams time to read: 1 min