Foundation is new owner of Cummings Park, Woburn
Major Woburn office complex donated to charity
Woburn, MA - Cummings Park and West Cummings Park, the large Woburn office
and research complex, has a new owner according to Dennis Clarke, president
of Cummings Properties, LLC. Clarke said that Bill Cummings and his family
this week gifted the entire 59-acre, office and research complex to Cummings
Foundation, Inc. as part of a large-scale charitable donation of most
of the family's real estate assets.
Located on both sides of Washington Street, just south of I-95 at Exit
36, the fully developed 11-building complex contains 1.5 million square
feet. It was gradually developed and built up by Cummings over the last
The current donation includes all of Cummings Park, West Cummings Park,
and other Woburn buildings totaling 2 million square feet. Properties
in Stoneham, Wakefield, Wilmington, Sudbury, Burlington, Medford and Somerville
were part of an earlier, similar donation by the family.
The 2 million square foot Cummings Center in Beverly is not among the
properties donated to the Foundation. Cummings Properties' chief financial
officer, William Grant, said that a dozen other large buildings in North
Woburn will also continue to be owned by the Cummings family.
"In total," Clarke said, "43 buildings have now been donated,
15 this week, adding up to an aggregate of approximately 3.9 million square
feet currently in the Foundation's portfolio. For a true sense of the
scale of the family's gifts, the Foundation's net worth jumped to more
than $408 million with the latest donation," he added.
For more than three decades, Cummings Park and West Cummings Park have
been mainstays of the Woburn commercial real estate market. Directly abutting
the busy intersection of Interstate highways I-93 and I-95, the sprawling
commercial campus houses a total of more than 260 business and professional
At the advent of Cummings Park, in 1971, Washington Street was a quiet,
two-lane roadway lined by dozens of aging greenhouses. Today, Washington
Street is a hotbed of high technology, biotech, and service companies
of all types. Cummings Parks' evolution stands as a microcosm of the larger
economic trends in Woburn and Boston's north suburban commercial real
estate market as a whole.
"Bill Cummings began developing Cummings Park in 1971, after the
city of Woburn changed the area's zoning designation to encourage increased
commercial development," Clarke noted. Cummings sequentially purchased
parcels from a dozen prior owners to assemble the expansive site. Cummings
Park increasingly became one of the north suburban market's premier addresses.
Its unique combination of location, convenience, appearance, and affordability
made it very desirable.
In the acquisition, development, and subsequent management of its developments,
Cummings and his team at Cummings Properties, LLC focused upon designing,
building, and marketing the most efficient, effective product for the
business community. This earned them the reputation of being very active
and hands-on, an approach that continues today.
Industry sources say that Cummings' niche over the years has been in
serving more smaller-type tenant firms than many other developers are
willing to accommodate. Woburn-based Cummings also tends to work hard
at promoting intra-park services such as restaurants, banks, medical services,
lawyers and accountants among its tenant mixes.
Cummings Properties reportedly employs 256 full-time employees, about
three-quarters of whom are mechanics and trades workers of all types.
According to Clarke, the firm's current staff represent a combined 1,800
years of service.
The Cummings family's donation is not expected to have any effect at
all upon the local "taxability" of the donated real estate assets.
All of the properties will continue to be fully taxable in Woburn and
in each of the other host towns.
According to Clarke, the Foundation's commercial buildings last year
generated $2,942,000 in local real estate tax revenue for the city of
Woburn alone. All investment profits from the real estate will flow directly
to Cummings Foundation and will be devoted solely to the advancement of
the Foundation's charitable purposes.
Cummings Foundation is a 501(c)(3) private operating foundation, originally
established in 1986 by William and Joyce Cummings. All Foundation funds
must be devoted strictly to the advancement of its charitable, educational,
scientific and literary purposes. Eleven trustees, four of whom are also
employees of Cummings Properties or the Foundation, all serve on a volunteer
Two of the Foundation's most important undertakings are the ownership
and management of New Horizons at Choate, a not-for-profit assisted living
community in Woburn, MA, and New Horizons at Marlborough, a not-for-profit
400-resident retirement community in Marlborough, MA.
The Foundation also sponsors the McKeown Scholarship Program in Woburn
and seven other local communities where Cummings Properties has interests.
Since 1997, more than $1 million has been awarded to local area students.
Additionally, the Foundation contributed $1 million in July for a new
building toward the North Shore YMCA in Beverly.
For many years, Cummings Foundation has enjoyed a close relationship
with Tufts University, and Tufts' president, Lawrence S. Bacow, serves
on the Foundation's board of trustees. Mr. Cummings and two of his children
are Tufts graduates, and he is a trustee emeritus. The Foundation established
an endowed chair in Entrepreneurship at Tufts in 1999, and is providing
more than $4.5 million to the school during 2004.