NEW BEDFORD (WBSM) — A new housing development is underway in New Bedford, as a long-vacant downtown lot is finally ready for new life.

The former One Circle Co. has executed a purchase and sale agreement with MassDevelopment to buy the site of the former Keystone building.

The company proposes a mixed-use development at the site featuring approximately 45 units of market-rate rental housing and about 2,500 square feet of ground-floor commercial space.

Built in 1861, the Keystone building was a furniture store from 1914 to 1981. It was demolished in 2004 after years of vacancy and disrepair. MassDevelopment purchased the property in 2014 to prepare the site for private investment and redevelopment.

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The property is located in the heart of New Bedford's historic center, only two miles from Interstate 195 and U.S. Route 140.

It is also a short distance from the city's downtown attractions, including the working waterfront, museums, restaurants, and entertainment destinations perfect for a redevelopment of the property.

"There is a renaissance happening in downtown New Bedford, which is why we are thrilled to enter into an agreement with One Circle Company and see this blighted property transformed into a new building where people can live, work, and do business," said MassDevelopment President and CEO Dan Rivera.

"As the Commonwealth's land bank, MassDevelopment has a legacy of converting challenging properties like the former Keystone lot into sites that generate tax revenue for municipalities, stimulate neighborhoods and commercial districts, and create housing and jobs," he said.

One Circle Co. is a multifamily development company and a woman-owned business. The development company focuses on opportunities in Greater Boston and delivers sustainable, healthy, and technology-driven communities.

"Having grown up a few minutes' drive from this property, it's an honor for me to have the opportunity to invest in New Bedford's historic downtown," said One Circle Founder and CEO Lauren Jezienicki.

"With this project, we look forward to partnering with the City of New Bedford and collaborating with neighborhood stakeholders to activate a long-vacant site and bring much needed housing to the city and the Commonwealth," she said. "We are grateful for MassDevelopment's leadership in creating housing and jobs throughout the state and the chance to achieve those goals on this site."

Converting the former Keystone lot into a development will benefit New Bedford in long-lasting ways, including more housing within the city.

Before construction, One Circle Co. will prepare and activate the site with temporary installations and pop-up events beginning in the spring 2024.

"We appreciate the work that MassDevelopment has done to advance market-rate housing at this important downtown site," said New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell. "We look forward to a discussion with the developer to see how the project might fit with the City's recently released housing plan."

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