NEW BEDFORD — Mayor Jon Mitchell announced plans to develop the Whaling City Golf Course into a new business park, while keeping a 9-hole course, during a press event Thursday at City Hall. 

The 1.3 million square foot portion of the golf course is expected to house various types of industrial, distribution, research and development, and office space contributing up to $2 million in additional tax revenue annually and over 1,000 new permanent jobs.

Despite Thursday's announcement, Mitchell stated that there is still plenty of work to be done between the city and MassDevelopment.

"Nothing's a done deal but we're making this announcement now because we've done a lot of work on this — an awful lot of people have done an awful lot of work on this — and we can say with some confidence at this point that what we have here is something we think we can go forward with," Mitchell said.

As the project moves along, development will be driven by MassDevelopment. Much of the funding for the $12 million development will come from land sales and state and federal funding, including a $300,000 grant announced by MassDevelopment during the press conference.

One potential hurdle for the project would be Article 97, which is part of the Commonwealth's constitution that places restrictions on municipal park land. Though part of the land is protected by this provision, Mitchell believes this will not conflict with the potential business park.

"The part that we're building on is not protected park land," Mitchell said.

The remaining nine holes will resemble the original Whaling City Golf Course when it was built in 1920. Plans could also include relocating the driving range and building a new clubhouse.

Concept for business park.|New Bedford Mayor's Office