SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – There is a delicate balance between preserving history and modernizing an urban center. Case in point: 24 Park Street in Springfield, just a block from MGM Springfield.
A century ago, it was a manufacturing facility, but it’s been vacant for more than 40 years. Developer Louis Masaschi owns the building, but was unable to demolish it to build a hotel, until now.
The Springfield Historical Commission delayed demolition for nine months.
“It just gives like a signal to those in the field of historic preservation a greater opportunity to seek private development to hopefully keep the building from being destroyed,” said Springfield City Councilor Melvin Edwards, who is also a board member on the Springfield Preservation Trust.
Those nine months have passed without any preservation money raised.
Masaschi told 22News over the phone that he appreciates historic buildings, but it would cost too much to renovate this one. He will demolish it and build a 120-room, Hilton Home Woods 2, with the goal of attracting MGM visitors.
MGM Springfield will be a blend of historic preservation and modern architecture. For example, the old armory building was preserved on the site of the casino, even without MGM having a clear purpose for it. Also, if you remember, the former First Spiritualist Church was actually lifted up and relocated across the construction zone to its current location.
Masaschi said he and Hilton are considering a way to pay homage to Springfield’s history inside the hotel.