Governor Charlie Baker announced Wednesday that the state would be providing $2.5 million to advance the Paramount Theater rehabilitation project.
The $41 million rehabilitation is scheduled to begin in June 2019 with an anticipated completion date of September 2020.
Governor Baker said the paramount represents one more major commitment the state has made to Springfield over the last four years, in addition to investments in housing developments and MassWorks projects.
Baker said, “Utility investments and transportation investments, we’re talking about $76 million invested in the City of Springfield.”
“The redevelopment of the Paramount Theater block is the linchpin of Springfield’s downtown revitalization,” Baker said. “We are grateful to Mayor Sarno, Congressman Neal, the state legislative delegation and the New England Farm Workers Council for their leadership in this project, which will create jobs and spur the economy in western Massachusetts.”
The Paramount Theater was built next to the historic Massasoit House Hotel in 1926, where it operated for decades. Eventually, space was redeveloped into a nightclub called the Hippodrome, which was open from 1999 to 2011.
The theater has been vacant since the New England Farm Workers Council bought it in 2011. The NEFWC’s $41 million renovation project will include the full restoration of the Paramount Theater as a 1,750 seat venue and the redevelopment of the Massasoit Building into an 85-room hotel.
“The history of the Paramount Theater is intertwined with the history of the City of Springfield going back to the 1800s,” said Congressman Richard E. Neal. “I am thrilled to see this transformation happen as we continue to work on the revitalization of downtown Springfield, making sure every block from the North End’s Union Station to the South End’s MGM Casino is thriving. Thanks to the Baker Administration for their continued support of this great project, as well as the state legislature. Additionally, it couldn’t be done without the steadfast commitment to the rehabilitation of this treasured building by the New England Farm Worker’s Council.”
Many Springfield residents have fond memories of the Paramount and are excited to see it reopened. Including Springfield resident Bryan Whitsett.
“This was years ago, I was a young man, I saw a show starring Patti Labelle,” Whitsett said. “I believe the show was produced by Tyler Perry. We need something like that in Springfield. I would go here at the drop of a hat if the show was good.”
The renovation project will redevelop much of the Paramount building block and will create more than 70 new full-time jobs.