Inside Stories

New ICC Scenario(s) Emerging?

The future of the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference, which weeks ago appeared to be a foregone conclusion, is suddenly very much up in the air and was the subject of a high-level meeting this morning.

InsideLowell has learned that a couple of scenarios have emerged where the building either does not get used as an emergency shelter, or if it does, only on a short-term basis. And while the long-term use of the building is still to be determined, we are also hearing that Middlesex Community College has become a key player in whichever scenario emerges.

MCC, whose downtown Lowell campus is just a stone’s throw from the ICC, already features a Hospitality Management Program. While the public may be generally unaware, Middlesex has occupied dorm rooms in that building since before Covid as part of a transfer program with UMass Lowell and could easily transition more into the facility along with operating the roughly 30 hotel rooms and conference/function space that exists on the first floor.

While the existing use of the ICC as student housing would continue under this scenario, it is highly unlikely that all nine floors would serve that purpose. This is where the current high-level discussions we are hearing about get interesting.

What goes above the first floor, or first couple of floors, is up for grabs. Would it be permanent housing? Would that housing be market rate or affordable? And most importantly, who picks up the tab on the development costs?

UMass President Marty Meehan and UML Chancellor Julie Chen have both indicated it is vital for the University to get out of the roughly $25-million debt service that currently exists on the building, so somewhere along the way, that issue has to be addressed as well.

The situation is fluid, with multiple interested parties involved at the state and local level meeting and negotiating. And all of it hinges on how Governor Healey ultimately juggles the best interests of her emergency declaration with the best interests of the state’s 5th largest city.


3 responses to “New ICC Scenario(s) Emerging?”

  1. Victoria says:

    I work at the Inn and have no information, so thanks for the update!

  2. Steve Hadley says:

    Wasn’t it not too long ago that
    ” Build it and it will become a symbol for Lowell as a Gateway City ” 🤣🤣🤣

  3. Robert Casey says:

    Thanks for this update and the terrific, informative podcast you conducted with the UML Chancellor today. Maintaining the ICC with some level of hotel function (guests, banquets, meetings) along with student housing and/or migrant assistance is critical. A wholesale shutdown would be a devastating blow to our struggling downtown.

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