JPNDC laps Haffenreffer in job creation

David Taber

BROOKSIDE—When it acquired the abandoned Haffenreffer Brewery Complex in 1983 to turn it into a small-business complex, the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation’s (JPNDC) goal was to replace the 250 jobs the beer brewer provided at its height.

This year, the non-profit community development corporation took stock of its work, and found that it has “now achieved at least double that goal at the 284 Armory St. location” JPNDC spokesperson Sally Swenson told the Gazette in an e-mail.

The Haffenreffer Brewery operated for close to 100 years, between 1871 and 1965.

In March of this year, JPNDC sent out a survey to 35 of its “prime tenants.” Responses from 26 of those tenants, along with “data already available from business tenants that did not respond to the survey” indicates that businesses in the brewery now employ 309 full-time and 185 part-time employees.

The survey did not include “53 sub-tenants [that] operate at the Brewery, including one-person shops such as artists and caterers,” Swenson said.

“We counted 494 workers…because we did not have numbers for some of the tenants, we feel safe in asserting that the total exceeds 500,” Swenson told the Gazette.

One of the JPNDC’s first tenants was the Boston Beer Company, brewer of Sam Adams Beer, which began local distribution out of the site in 1985 and started brewing specialty beers there a few years later. Today, businesses at the Brewery complex include tofu producer 21st Century Food; Studio G Architects; the coffee shop Ula Café; and the Bella Luna/Milky Way restaurant, as well as non-profits like housing advocates City Life/Vida Urbana and the international bike advocacy organization Bikes Not Bombs. The JPNDC also has its offices in the complex.

Other information gathered from the survey includes:

  • Twenty-three tenants are for-profit businesses, and 12 are non-profits.
  • Just over half of for-profits are owned by women and/or people of color. Seven are owned by women and 11 are owned by people of color.
  • Thirty-seven percent of the businesses are light industrial; 37 percent are offices; 17 percent are retail; and 9 percent are storage.

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