NEW BEDFORD (WBSM) — Today was the final day for bidders to submit proposals for the redevelopment of New Bedford State Pier, and Senator Mark Montigny said this time around, the process will be as public as can be.

“We want them to do a real thorough vetting,” Montigny said. “We want to ensure it is done appropriately and publicly.”

As such, Montigny announced on WBSM’s SouthCoast Now this morning that he is requesting all bidders appear with host Chris McCarthy to discuss their proposals with the radio audience.

“I’d like to see each bidder come on your show and discuss in detail subject to questioning what their proposal is, how does it maximize job creation, how does it help change the image, how does it protect existing industry?” Montigny told McCarthy.

He said he had a commitment from one stakeholder already to appear on McCarthy’s show.

Montigny has been leading the charge for decades to redevelop the eight-acre State Pier into a mixed-use area with retail space, restaurants, a fish market and more, all while continuing to offer ferry services and meeting other industrial needs for commercial fishing and offshore wind.

MassDevelopment is seeking developers for New Bedford State Pier
Courtesy MassDevelopment

In 2008, he wrote the law guaranteeing $25 million in state funds for capital improvements for the pier in order to attract more businesses to it.

“That’s the way it’s supposed to work. The government leverages it, the private sector comes in and pays for it,” Montigny said.

In 2017, Montigny led the way for MassDevelopment to take over as stewards of the pier after it languished under the Department of Conservation and Recreation.

Marty Jones, second from right, posing with Senator Mark Montigny at the announcement of MassDevelopment's taking over of State Pier in New Bedford./Courtesy of Senator Montigny's Office
Courtesy Senator Montigny's Office

“There's some real important ventures on that pier right now, but it’s been grossly underutilized, it’s been grossly mismanaged by DCR,” Montigny said on WBSM. “It’s why people are so critical of government, the fact that it took me this long to implement not a law – not pass a law, it’s been law – and get the project going.”

In late December 2022, MassDevelopment announced it has provisionally selected Taber's Wharf Partners – a group of local companies including BASE seafood auctioneers, Raw Seafoods and Steve Silverstein's Servedwell Hospitality, among others – for the project.

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Montigny said he and the state representatives from New Bedford took issue with the process of that selection and called for a review.

“We believe MassDevelopment in the initial process did not respect the public process,” he said. “They sat privately with some folks and did not do what they should have.”

He said this time around, the process will be more open. Not only will he be asking all bidders to come on WBSM, he also expects public input sessions and may hold a committee hearing.

“All we want to do is ensure that the public takes part this time,” Montigny said.

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