By Monica Busch
Devens, a former North Central Mass. military base which has since been repurposed as an economic development zone and mixed use community, has contributed nearly $3.8 billion to the Massachusetts economy, according to a new report from the UMass Donahue Institute.
“Devens’ central location, ready infrastructure and fast-track permitting, and other amenities like housing, hotels, open space for recreation, and more continue to make it an attractive place for dynamic enterprises to locate and grow,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Lauren Liss, in a statement.
The report from the Donahue Institute, the fifth of its kind, finds Devens now employs more than 6,000 workers through the community’s various businesses, nonprofits and governmental organizations. Those jobs, in turn, support another 8,038 workers in Massachusetts, according to the report.
For comparison, Devens employers boasted only 3,208 employees in 2012, indicating that total employment has nearly doubled in eight years, according to the report. In that vein, reflecting similar growth, Devens employee wages totaled $547.7 million in 2019, compared with $220 million in 2010, according to the report.
Devens, formerly known as Fort Devens, served as the U.S. Army’s New England headquarters for 79 years, closing in 1996. Since then, MassDevelopment has been tasked with repurposing and redeveloping the 4,400-acre community, which overlaps Harvard, Ayer and Shirley.