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Updated: December 26, 2022

WBJ's editorial staff predicts these 10 news events will happen in 2023

Photo | Timothy Doyle The Telegram & Gazette has been impacted by the poor financial performance of its parent company, Gannett.

Every December, the WBJ Editorial staff predicts possible news events for the coming year. Here are our predictions and why they will happen.

The Telegram & Gazette will be sold.

Worcester’s newspaper of record has fallen on hard times, with its newsroom staff slashed to about a dozen journalists as its corporate owner, Gannett Co., Inc., struggles with poor financial performance. Gannett has already sold four smaller Central Massachusetts newspapers and soon its main publication in the region will have a new owner.

[Related: Click here to see how many of the WBJ newsroom's 2022 predictions came true.]

Six major planned MetroWest developments will be stopped by NIMBY efforts.

In November, developer Portman Industrial pulled the plug on its proposed 1.2-million-square-foot warehouse after neighbors sued to stop the development. As concerns about overcrowding, traffic, and community impact rise, more of these proposals will be left by the wayside.

The number of large Central Massachusetts organizations led by people of color will increase 50%.

Of the 50 largest employers in the region, six (Waters Corp., Worcester Polytechnic Institute, College of the Holy Cross, Quinsigamond Community College, Community Healthlink, AbbVie, and Digital Federal Credit Union) are led by a person of color. As more diversity & inclusion initiatives take hold and with turnover at some of the top positions, more highly qualified people of color will take over.

Ten cannabis businesses in Central Massachusetts will close.

Since the first two dispensaries opened in November 2018, the adult-use marijuana industry in Massachusetts has come a long way, to the point where the market has become saturated. Already, one dispensary in the state, in Northampton, has closed. With nearly 80 dispensaries within a 30-mile radius of Worcester, a number will struggle as the market consolidates.

Three high-profile businesses serving the electric vehicle market will open or expand in Central Massachusetts.

Two Central Massachusetts companies – Ascend Elements in Westborough and Aspen Aerogels in Northborough – are planning nearly $2 billion in investment to serve the EV battery market. With EV sales skyrocketing and billions in government funding available to build out the charging infrastructure, more businesses in Central Massachusetts will follow the money.

Three more college presidents will retire or resign.

Eight universities and colleges in Central Massachusetts have replaced their leaders in the last two years, but six more presidents have been in their positions at least six years, which is about the average stay for a college leader.

A dozen Canal District businesses will close or sell out.

In late summer, five restaurants in the Worcester neighborhood said they were closing or being sold, a clear sign the neighborhood is transitioning from an eclectic mix of owner-operated businesses to more polished companies with deeper pockets who can afford the rising price of real estate.

Tenet Healthcare will sell the MetroWest Medical Center.

In November, the Dallas-based corporate parent of Saint Vincent Hospital in Worcester announced it is transferring the cancer services unit at the MetroWest Medical Center in Framingham to Boston healthcare provider Tufts Medicine. By the end of 2023, Tenet will unload the entire hospital.

More than 500 proposed units of Worcester housing will be canceled or downsized.

Nearly every other week in 2022, one developer or another was proposing a Worcester project with several dozen multi-family units. As construction costs rise and the economy is less certain, a number of those projects will be modified or eliminated, like Silver Brick Group LLC did with its 312 units proposed for Main Street.

Unionization will rise at high-profile Central Massachusetts employers.

In 2022, the region saw new unions form at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Clark University, and Starbucks. As the labor market still favors workers, we see unions forming at five more Starbucks, at least one local Amazon facility, and at two colleges in the region.

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December 28, 2022
Good article and thought process.
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