Built Year
City of New Bedford
1 acres
Design Team
Custom House Square is a renovation of a existing 37,500 square foot parking lot located in the heart of the New Bedford Historic District, adjacent the historic Custom House, The New Bedford Whaling Museum and monument to the 54th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. The site had been a recruiting station for the regiment, one of the first black units to fight in the Civil War. The site is also a popular site for regional events and festivals, including the annual Whale Wine Festival, Summerfest, among others. The new park design incorporates lushly planted groves and mounds amongst a flexible field of hardscape that welcomes meandering paths, spaces for small groups and an area for larger seasonal events. The planting and design materials are environmentally sensitive and provide a subtle interpretation of the worldly locations the historic whalers of New Bedford traveled to.

The project will allow the City of New Bedford to turn an underutilized parking lot into a welcoming green space that will become a magnet for office workers and tourists alike. The project will preserve the viability of seasonal festivals on this site, address the parking needs of local businesses, and give the historic downtown what it has always been missing—a central gathering space we can be proud of.