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June 5, 2024

Downtown Gardner mixed-use project loaned $250K from new chamber real estate fund

A group of people with an oversized check in front of a commercial property. Photo | Courtesy of North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce (From left) Norm Vigeant, vice president of lending at the North Central Massachusetts Development Corp.; Sandie Cataldo, senior economic development manager at NCMDC; state Rep. Jon Zlotnik of Gardner; Johnathon Bombaci, owner of Gardner Downtown Crossing; Mayor Mike Nicholson of Gardner; and Roy Nascimento, president & CEO of North Central Massachusetts Chamber

The developer behind a plan to convert a downtown Gardner commercial building into a 14-unit, mixed-use space has received a $250,000 loan from the North Central Massachusetts Development Corp., the economic development arm of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce.

Plans for the building, located at 25 Main St., call for the construction of 14 apartment units on the second and third floors of the building, with a 5,000-square-foot restaurant space occupying the first floor. The loan will be provided from the new Regional Business Investment Fund launched in November, which offers loans with flexible repayment plans designed to assist developers with costs including engineering, site work, and infrastructure, according to a Tuesday press release from the chamber announcing the loan.

“The building at 25 Main Street is at the crossroads of downtown Gardner and provides much opportunity to develop living and dining spaces that will complement the current landscape while also providing the city with additional residents and visitors who will dine or call 25 Main their home in the future,” Jonathan Bombaci, the developer behind the proposal, said the press release. “The RBIF is a viable lending option for us to cover costs and expenses that are typically not available for financing, and we are grateful to the North Central Development Corp. and the chamber for offering this type of loan to us.”

The building at 25 Main St. was constructed in 1916 and was given a tax assessment value of $402,300 in 2024. Gardner Downtown Crossing, a Lowell-based entity, purchased the building in July for $750,000 from Millennium Holding Corp., another Lowell-based entity. 

“The team at Gardner Downtown Crossing has already made a significant investment in the downtown area and we are looking forward to working with them as they redevelop the property at 25 Main Street,” Gardner Mayor Michael Nicholson said in the press release. “We are grateful that Gardner Downtown Crossing sees Gardner as a place with tremendous opportunity for growth and we will be here to help assist them toward their success along the way.”

Bombaci joins a Westminster landscaping employee and a Shirley wellness center as businesses benefitting from NCMDC loans in 2024.

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