SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Governor Charlie Baker, Mayor Domenic Sarno, Congressman Richard Neal, and officials from MassMutual, MGM, MassHousing, and other project stakeholders announced Thursday the launch of a $51.3 million Elm Street Redevelopment and Preservation Project.
According to a news release sent to 22News, the project entails the historic restoration and transformation of the former Court Square Hotel building and the Byers Block on Elm Street into 74 new market rate and workforce housing apartments to address the housing needs that exist in Downtown Springfield and the Commonwealth. The street-level floor of the building will be restored for retail and restaurant use while the upper floors will be converted from the original hotel rooms to new one-and two-bedroom apartments.
The project is made possible by an unprecedented public-private partnership including the Springfield Redevelopment Authority and the City of Springfield who are currently undertaking a $4 million environmental clean-up of potentially hazardous materials from the Elm Street buildings.
The partnership includes funding from numerous entities such as $5 million from MassMutual, $14.5 million from MassHousing’s Workforce Housing Initiative, and $16 million from MGM, with this funding collectively structured as a loan.
According to the news release, the Developer, OPAL/ WinnDevelopment, has also secured approximately $11.3 million in state and federal historic tax credits. They will apply these tax credits together with developer equity, a conventional mortgage, and a commitment from the Unions Trades to assist with $500,000 of housing funds to round out the total of $51.3 million of required funding.
“Redeveloping this site is now possible thanks to a lot of hard work from several different players and our Administration is grateful everyone is working together to get it done,” Governor Charlie Baker said. “This agreement enables the revitalization of this historic property to create more housing and economic opportunity in Springfield, and the Commonwealth is proud to support this transformative effort.”
The SRA’s and Springfield’s current work is being carried out by City Enterprises, Inc., as the General Contractor, with completion expected by mid-November 2020.
They will then transfer the site to OPAL/WINN Development once complete with their environmental remediation and related scopes.
The project will also include a Project Labor Agreement with the Pioneer Valley Building Trades. They will assist the City in activating the Downtown streetscape with restaurant, retail, and commercial leases.
“I am very proud that my administration continues to move forward on this vital economic development project and that we are finally able to restore the historic grandeur of this once stately building. Special thanks go out to Congressman Richard Neal, Governor Charlie Baker, Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy, MassHousing Executive Director Chrystal Kornegay, my dedicated City team, SRA Executive Director Chris Moskal and the SRA Board, MassMutual Chairman, President and CEO Roger Crandall, MGM Springfield President and COO Chris Kelley, Michael O’Brien of Opal WinnDevelopment, Peter Picknelly, our City Council, especially Ward 2 City Councilor Attorney Michael Fenton, and our State Delegation, especially Assistant Majority Leader Representative Joseph F. Wagner, for never giving up on this vital economic project.”-Mayor Domenic Sarno
“I am thrilled to see the revitalization of this Elm Street property that has long stood vacant awaiting its second chance, and now that day has come,” Congressman Neal said. “This is a huge undertaking and one that has continued to rely on a strong city, state, and community partnership that is represented here today. Just like the renovation and refurbishment of Springfield Union Station, I am optimistic that the transformation of this space will be successful and I look forward to its opening.”
According to Sarno, Peter Picknelly and WinnDevelopment have partnered as the “Preferred Developers” for 13-31 Elm Street combining their real estate development strengths and market reach to make this key, strategic project a reality.
“My family and I having been working on this project for decades, I’m proud and thrilled to see this important development for our city finally come to fruition,” Picknelly said.
In July 2020, the Springfield Redevelopment Authority (SRA) and the City of Springfield awarded the first phase of construction contracts for the revitalization of the former 1892 hotel facility located at 13 – 31 Elm Street along the downtown court square. This initial phase includes the remediation of hazardous materials and structural renovations throughout the six floors of the building. The general contractor is approximately 25% complete with this.