The Massachusetts Development Finance Agency's $14.5 million backing of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute Gateway Park research center earned it the Excellence in Bond Finance Award from the Council of Development Finance Agencies.

CDFA recognizes development finance programs, agencies, leaders and projects for their use of financing tools for economic development. MassDevelopment is Massachusetts' finance and development agency.

In an announcement Tuesday, the Columbus, Ohio-based CDFA cited MassDevelopment's private-placement deal with TD Bank, which closed on Dec. 29, 2010. It issued a tax-exempt bond for Gateway Park, a 12-acre complex just north of downtown Worcester, Mass., within a new markets tax-credit structure.

Gateway Park, originally developed as a joint venture with the Worcester Business Development Corp., opened in 2007. Its flagship complex is a 125,000-square-foot life sciences and bioengineering center, now fully occupied with graduate research laboratories.

WPI, which became the sole owner in 2010, is pursuing a buildout of the park in partnership with private corporations. The second construction phase is in its final stage,

Last week, Siemens Real Estate signed a lease with builder O'Connell Cos. to occupy 38,000 square feet of space in the newest Gateway Park building.

According to an announcement from city manager Michael O'Brien, the company, which is relocating its metals technologies within Worcester, expects to move there in September. Siemens acquired the former Morgan Construction Co. in 2008. The local company began in 1888.

MassDevelopment president and chief executive Marty Jones called Gateway Park "a jewel of cutting-edge research and high-tech product development."

According to Jeffrey Solomon, chief financial officer at WPI, MassDevelopment deserved the honor. "They are always looking for creative ways to craft financing proposals, and the tax-exempt bond they issued for WPI's Gateway Park project is a prime example of the agency's financial acumen," he said.

MassDevelopment, which will formally receive its award on Aug. 2 in Washington, D.C., works with businesses, nonprofits, financial institutions and communities to stimulate economic growth within the state. In fiscal 2011, the agency financed or managed more than 300 projects, generating $3.8 billion worth of investment.

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