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Menino thanks Obama for development funds

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Grants will enhance access to healthy food options

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Community Services (OCS) has recently awarded two Boston nonprofit agencies over $1.5 million in Community Economic Development Grants.

“I want to thank the Obama Administration for their commitment and leadership,” said Mayor Thomas Menino. “The redevelopment of these vacant parcels represents increased opportunities for Boston’s growing food entrepreneurs, jobs for our residents, improved access to healthy affordable food and a more robust and resilient food system infrastructure.”

The Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation is working in partnership with CropCircle Kitchen, Inc. to turn the Pearl Meat Factory in Dorchester into a 35,000-square-foot, multi-tenant food production facility known as the Bornstein and Pearl Food Production Small Business Center.

The development is expected to support over 50 food production businesses and create more than 80 new jobs within the first three years of operation. CropCircle Kitchen now operates a shared commercial kitchen out of the JP Brewery that is home to the 39 small food businesses and more than 200 jobs. It has incubated and graduated more than 20 food enterprises such as Nella Pasta and Batch Ice Cream and has more than 36 would-be entrepreneurs waiting for space.

The development is expected to be completed in 2013 and will feature a fully-equipped commissary kitchen able to accommodate five to six food production companies; a shared commercial kitchen with large shared dry and cold storage areas for food, communal specialty equipment, including a blast freezer, steam table, steam oven, smokers and large production kettle.

It will also have a separate food truck commissary and a USDA-certified shared meat processing and co-packing area.  

The Madison Park Development Corporation is partnering with Tropical Foods International to create a proposed $32-million three-building, multi-use development on the 2.1-acre parcel, known as Parcel 10.

The development will include a 40,000-square-foot two-story grocery store that will be home to the Tropical Foods grocery store, and a five-story building with retail, office space and off-street parking. A third building, the current home of Tropical Foods, would be redeveloped into first floor retail space and 66 units of housing.