How the LDFC Got Started
The Lowell Development & Financial Corporation (LDFC) is a non-profit development corporation established in 1975 to assist in Lowell’s economic revitalization. Its initial focus was to provide below market-rate, secondary financing for the rehabilitation and restoration of downtown buildings. Local banks and the Center City Committee provided the seed money to establish the LDFC. This initial capitalization resulted in $350,000 being made available over a two-year period to create a revolving loan program. With the passage in 1975 of Chapter 844, of the Acts of the General Court of Massachusetts, the LDFC was on its way.
In 1978 the City of Lowell convinced Wang Laboratories to establish its corporate headquarters in Lowell. The City applied for and received a $5 million Urban Development Action Grant (UDAG) from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Rather than simply granting the proceeds of the UDAG to Wang Laboratories, the City took an innovative approach: the $5 million was transferred to the LDFC, which in turn loaned the funds to Wang. Repayments were then funneled into additional loan pools to meet other community needs, thus increasing the UDAG’s impact on Lowell’s revitalization. While the initial emphasis was the restoration of downtown properties, the Wang repayments allowed the LDFC to expand its role and mission to include financial incentives encouraging commercial, industrial, retail, and housing development.