The University of Massachusetts-Lowell is spiking its plan to build a $90 million science center after the state agency charged with raising the cash to fund the buildout said it can’t get any cash out of the credit market.
The Emerging Technology & Innovation Center, which the school billed as a research Mecca for the hottest biotech trends, needed $35 million in tax-exempt loans to break ground later this spring.
But the school’s building authority told officials it couldn’t raise the money on the bond market due to the credit freeze.
That means the shovels will stay idle unless funding emerges from the federal stimulus package.
“Unless something changes, we’re not going to be able to go forward,” UMass-Lowell chancellor Martin Meehan told the Boston Globe.
“These are tough economic times, and at this point we can’t commit to the project. … It’s an uncertain market and you can’t borrow money recklessly without having clear terms. Given that we’ve already had our budget cut dramatically, we have to be very careful about our debt service.”
So Mr. Meehan goes to Washington, most likely, to lobby on behalf of a project he calls “more than shovel-ready.”
“It’s a catalyst for economic development,” he said.
The center was slated to open in 2011 and would have created about 500 jobs, in addition to fostering the launch of startup businesses.