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Old 07-08-2018, 02:11 PM   #321
itchy
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Re: Worcester Improvements

Obviously I only wish Worcester and its residents the best.

But. They sure as heck make it hard to want to see the city succeed when they allow some of their most beautiful, historic, iconic structures to be razed for a parking lot (or, not much better, anything that looks like the new buildings they have going up). I basically think of the city -- its politicians, businesses / businessmen, and its residents -- as a bunch of savages lacking civic pride and who deserve to live in the debased city they bring about for allowing Notre Dame (and potentially Mount Carmel) to disappear form the earth.


A few quotes come to mind:

"One entered the city like a god. One scuttles in now like a rat.” - Vincent Scully

"The peculiar combination of higher building costs, and lower architectural standards of today, a lack of vision–all these factors are making our cities uglier and more ordinary every day ... [This] is a monumental act of vandalism against one of the largest and finest landmarks of its age." - Ada Louise Huxtable

"It is the shame of New York, of its financial and cultural communities, its politicians, philanthropists and planners, and of the public as well, that no serious effort was made… Any city gets what it admires, will pay for, and, ultimately, deserves ... And we will probably be judged not by the monuments we build but by those we have destroyed." - Ada Louise Huxtable, again (substitute Worcester for New York)

"Ireland is the old sow that eats her farrow." - James Joyce (substitute Worcester for Ireland)

Last edited by itchy; 07-08-2018 at 08:40 PM.
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Old 07-09-2018, 09:56 AM   #322
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Re: Worcester Improvements

^ I don't disagree with you, Itchy, but I think there's a structural issue here as well beyond simply "lacking civic pride." You see this in many second-tier cities that exist in the shadow of a megacity (and this is true in Europe as well, besides just the US): an inability to balance the conflicting and paradoxical demands of what it means to be a "dense commuter suburb." Are there quite a number of exceptions? Sure. But the exceptions tend to be 1) college towns, e.g. Chapel Hill or Oxford UK, 2) places with strong historical, political or cultural cachet, e.g. New Bedford, Lowell, Providence, or 3) A strong concentration of wealth that makes land values skyrocket and encourage dense land use, e.g. White Plains.

Worcester is in a valley of despair, so to speak... it's one of the top 3 largest New England cities (top 2 by some numbers I've seen) and yet it's hard to define why exactly there's a city there.

Want to really save Worcester? Move the State House out of Boston.

(As an aside, Worcester would be phenomenally positioned as future capital of the independent New England Confederation, should that ever come to pass...)
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Old 07-09-2018, 11:52 AM   #323
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Re: Worcester Improvements

Sign of the times(?): tear down the churches and attract the cannabis commission.
Yay ,Worcester.......

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Old 07-09-2018, 02:08 PM   #324
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Re: Worcester Improvements

Wow, the rehabbed older buildings look great. And ugh, the newest buildings look like VEd crap.
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Old 07-09-2018, 06:54 PM   #325
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Re: Worcester Improvements

Quote:
But. They sure as heck make it hard to want to see the city succeed when they allow some of their most beautiful, historic, iconic structures to be razed for a parking lot (or, not much better, anything that looks like the new buildings they have going up). I basically think of the city -- its politicians, businesses / businessmen, and its residents -- as a bunch of savages lacking civic pride and who deserve to live in the debased city they bring about for allowing Notre Dame (and potentially Mount Carmel) to disappear form the earth.
Grew up in Worcester. Lived there for two decades. Neither of these buildings were worth saving. Notre Dame was always in a terrible location from an urban redevelopment perspective. Mount Carmel is literally falling apart and has been since I remember attending service in it way back in the mid-late 90's.

There's a lot of historical stuff in Worcester. Some of it is worth saving... these two buildings are not it. Other historical buildings in the downtown area that need to go: Old Worcester Boy's Club (falling apart, preservationists making ridiculous demands about preserving a basketball court in it) and The Worcester Auditorium (shit acoustics, absolutely zero purpose in the 21st century).

Redeveloping Lincoln Square is going to be the project of the 2030's in Worcester. Too autocentric right now. Too broken up by a weird combo of decrepit historical structures and terrible mid 20th century developments (Worcester Police, Old Crown Hotel parking garage).
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Old 07-10-2018, 05:07 PM   #326
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Re: Worcester Improvements

Both structures were worth saving based on their architectural merits. No one is seriously suggesting they should continue to exist as places of worship, but each are excellent representatives of sacral architecture of the era and of their congregation’s cultural backgrounds. It is buildings like these that create the identity of an urban area.

Same with the auditorium. The idea should be that it finds a new purpose. The Worcester Art Museum and WPI are its neighbors and both are expanding. I could imagine a commercial purpose. There’s need for retail in the area. Worcester does not have a movie theater downtown, and the next IMAX is in Natick.

For the churches it’s probably too late, there is a vocal group of preservationists but most residents don’t care enough, so neither does the city council.

Last edited by cubalibre; 07-10-2018 at 07:50 PM.
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Old 07-10-2018, 10:25 PM   #327
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Re: Worcester Improvements

Lived in Worcester for 2 years for graduate school, and gotta say, that place sucks the life out of you. Never seen such a dead, decrepit historic city in my life. Very few pleasant outdoor spaces to enjoy (Worcester Art Museum is incredible though). Also an almost complete lack of urban-oriented retail (a few immigrant shops but with horrifically ugly parking lots and sidewalks to the front and side). I'm back in the New Haven area and while it's not perfect, not even close, it's definitely several leagues higher than Worcester, with a legitimately attractive downtown, good amount of beautiful architecture from multiple eras, true walkability/bikeability, and legitimately world-class parks (Edgewood, Edgarton, and East Rock). There's just nowhere in Worcester to go for fun non-drinking activities besides the aforementioned WAM. Also the winters are damn depressing. I will say it is an important stock of affordable housing and is slooooooooowly on the upswing, but the lack of almost any true urbanity in an almost 100% historic city is just bizarre and honestly a massive failing.
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Old 07-11-2018, 12:18 AM   #328
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Re: Worcester Improvements

The Worcester Auditorium is great, although I haven't been inside since November 19, 1975 for Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Review: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolling_Thunder_Revue
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Old 07-11-2018, 07:00 AM   #329
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Re: Worcester Improvements

Worcester is going to have to gentrify a hell of a lot before any of the things people lament about it are going to change. The stigma is still that downtown is sketchy and unsafe, and can you really change that with just urban planning?

I can somewhat agree that a nice movie place would be a good addition to downtown, if you could somehow integrate the Centr...I mean, DCU Center into some larger entertainment complex. Maybe take the lots along Exchange and Commercial and turn them into a movie theatre/comedy club type place with some retail, connecting the Palladium and Mechanics Hall back to the DCU, and now you've got...something? Around the Common is going to take a lot more work, though.
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Old 07-12-2018, 06:06 AM   #330
cubalibre
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Re: Worcester Improvements

Construction has begun on "Harding Green" in Kelley Square

It'll be home to a public market, diner, and 48 apartments in 2019





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Old 07-12-2018, 11:09 PM   #331
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Re: Worcester Improvements

Quote:
Originally Posted by meddlepal View Post
Grew up in Worcester. Lived there for two decades. Neither of these buildings were worth saving. Notre Dame was always in a terrible location from an urban redevelopment perspective. Mount Carmel is literally falling apart and has been since I remember attending service in it way back in the mid-late 90's.

There's a lot of historical stuff in Worcester. Some of it is worth saving... these two buildings are not it. Other historical buildings in the downtown area that need to go: Old Worcester Boy's Club (falling apart, preservationists making ridiculous demands about preserving a basketball court in it) and The Worcester Auditorium (shit acoustics, absolutely zero purpose in the 21st century).

Redeveloping Lincoln Square is going to be the project of the 2030's in Worcester. Too autocentric right now. Too broken up by a weird combo of decrepit historical structures and terrible mid 20th century developments (Worcester Police, Old Crown Hotel parking garage).
To paraphrase James Kunstler, great civic spaces are framed by the city hall, and the cathedral. Worcester already has them, let's not lose them.
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Old 07-13-2018, 06:39 AM   #332
DZH22
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Re: Worcester Improvements

Quote:
Originally Posted by meddlepal View Post
Grew up in Worcester. Lived there for two decades. Neither of these buildings were worth saving. Notre Dame was always in a terrible location from an urban redevelopment perspective. Mount Carmel is literally falling apart and has been since I remember attending service in it way back in the mid-late 90's.
It's sad to think that such beautiful, historical structures aren't considered to be worth saving in a city that has virtually nothing else going for it.
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Old 07-13-2018, 11:03 AM   #333
cubalibre
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Re: Worcester Improvements

145 Front Street announced that construction has completed and that 26% of the 368 apartments have been leased.
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Old 07-13-2018, 01:49 PM   #334
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Re: Worcester Improvements

Wow, $1465 for a 491 sf studio sounds steep. Looks like rents in downtown Portland are a bargain and not as bad as we thought! Wish the project well, but a 74% vacancy rate in a new building that is completely open is not good. The developer/owner may need to lower rents initially to get the occupancy rate up to a healthy level.
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Old 07-14-2018, 09:51 PM   #335
WormtownNative
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Re: Worcester Improvements

Well, I guess I'm overdue to come out of the lurker zone....nice to see that people still have an interest (if only fleeting) in Wormtown.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arenacale View Post
Worcester is going to have to gentrify a hell of a lot before any of the things people lament about it are going to change. The stigma is still that downtown is sketchy and unsafe, and can you really change that with just urban planning?

I can somewhat agree that a nice movie place would be a good addition to downtown, if you could somehow integrate the Centr...I mean, DCU Center into some larger entertainment complex. Maybe take the lots along Exchange and Commercial and turn them into a movie theatre/comedy club type place with some retail, connecting the Palladium and Mechanics Hall back to the DCU, and now you've got...something? Around the Common is going to take a lot more work, though.
Years ago I came across an article with a quote from the GM of the DCU saying she hopes nothing goes in that area, because if something does, the DCU can't expand (throwing the flag on that claim.....because the DCU should have been built down on Rt. 20 out of the way instead of razing a couple blocks of the city.) But you're right, something needs to go in that area. If you can eliminate at least a half of those parking lots in that area, you might have something that resembles a city.

On a similar note, MassLive did a walk through of the Olympia Theater over on Pleasant St. and there is potential to bring it back if the right developer wants to do so. The current owner wants nothing to do with it, he just wants the rent from the storefronts on the first floor. That would be great for not just Worcester, but for the area.

Quote:
Originally Posted by meddlepal View Post
Grew up in Worcester. Lived there for two decades. Neither of these buildings were worth saving. Notre Dame was always in a terrible location from an urban redevelopment perspective. Mount Carmel is literally falling apart and has been since I remember attending service in it way back in the mid-late 90's.

There's a lot of historical stuff in Worcester. Some of it is worth saving... these two buildings are not it. Other historical buildings in the downtown area that need to go: Old Worcester Boy's Club (falling apart, preservationists making ridiculous demands about preserving a basketball court in it) and The Worcester Auditorium (shit acoustics, absolutely zero purpose in the 21st century).

Redeveloping Lincoln Square is going to be the project of the 2030's in Worcester. Too autocentric right now. Too broken up by a weird combo of decrepit historical structures and terrible mid 20th century developments (Worcester Police, Old Crown Hotel parking garage).
Agreed on Notre Dame & Mt. Carmel. And I'm sure there are plenty more churches in the diocese that are falling down that will have to be closed due to no maintenance to the buildings in X amount of years.

The thing that keeps getting me irked is that Preservation Worcester keeps going "these buildings are endangered!" Ok, that's great, if you want to preserve every building as a monument, but that's not what buildings are for. It's wasting economic and development opportunities to save a building that has been vacant and/or abandoned for however long.

I disagree about the Aud. It can and should be preserved. As a theater, probably not, but it deserves to be saved.

Worcester PD will be one hell of a project if/when they replace that building.


Quote:
Originally Posted by itchy View Post
Obviously I only wish Worcester and its residents the best.

But. They sure as heck make it hard to want to see the city succeed when they allow some of their most beautiful, historic, iconic structures to be razed for a parking lot (or, not much better, anything that looks like the new buildings they have going up). I basically think of the city -- its politicians, businesses / businessmen, and its residents -- as a bunch of savages lacking civic pride and who deserve to live in the debased city they bring about for allowing Notre Dame (and potentially Mount Carmel) to disappear form the earth.


A few quotes come to mind:

"One entered the city like a god. One scuttles in now like a rat.” - Vincent Scully

"The peculiar combination of higher building costs, and lower architectural standards of today, a lack of vision–all these factors are making our cities uglier and more ordinary every day ... [This] is a monumental act of vandalism against one of the largest and finest landmarks of its age." - Ada Louise Huxtable

"It is the shame of New York, of its financial and cultural communities, its politicians, philanthropists and planners, and of the public as well, that no serious effort was made… Any city gets what it admires, will pay for, and, ultimately, deserves ... And we will probably be judged not by the monuments we build but by those we have destroyed." - Ada Louise Huxtable, again (substitute Worcester for New York)

"Ireland is the old sow that eats her farrow." - James Joyce (substitute Worcester for Ireland)
If you're judging Worcester based off two buildings, you probably should reevaluate your opinion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shepard View Post
^ I don't disagree with you, Itchy, but I think there's a structural issue here as well beyond simply "lacking civic pride." You see this in many second-tier cities that exist in the shadow of a megacity (and this is true in Europe as well, besides just the US): an inability to balance the conflicting and paradoxical demands of what it means to be a "dense commuter suburb." Are there quite a number of exceptions? Sure. But the exceptions tend to be 1) college towns, e.g. Chapel Hill or Oxford UK, 2) places with strong historical, political or cultural cachet, e.g. New Bedford, Lowell, Providence, or 3) A strong concentration of wealth that makes land values skyrocket and encourage dense land use, e.g. White Plains.

Worcester is in a valley of despair, so to speak... it's one of the top 3 largest New England cities (top 2 by some numbers I've seen) and yet it's hard to define why exactly there's a city there.

Want to really save Worcester? Move the State House out of Boston.

(As an aside, Worcester would be phenomenally positioned as future capital of the independent New England Confederation, should that ever come to pass...)
Bingo. The issue with Worcester is one of identify. Worcester just.....exists.

As an example, as much as they claim it's a college town, it is not. It is a city with colleges in it that are walled off from the city.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Portlander View Post
Wow, $1465 for a 491 sf studio sounds steep. Looks like rents in downtown Portland are a bargain and not as bad as we thought! Wish the project well, but a 74% vacancy rate in a new building that is completely open is not good. The developer/owner may need to lower rents initially to get the occupancy rate up to a healthy level.
The pricing is a strong reason why if you can afford it that much in rent, it's better in some circumstances to look for a house instead of looking to rent.
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Old 07-15-2018, 04:22 PM   #336
cubalibre
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Re: Worcester Improvements

Quote:
Originally Posted by Portlander View Post
Wow, $1465 for a 491 sf studio sounds steep. Looks like rents in downtown Portland are a bargain and not as bad as we thought! Wish the project well, but a 74% vacancy rate in a new building that is completely open is not good. The developer/owner may need to lower rents initially to get the occupancy rate up to a healthy level.
Yep, just a little more will cover your mortgage of a big home with a yard in the nicer part of town. The amenities of that place are not bad but the calculations for many tenants will be: “I want to live in a nice modern apartment in an urban setting and am willing to endure an 80 minute train commute to South Station - as long as I can save some dough”. My guess is they’ll start some incentive programs soon.
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Old 07-15-2018, 06:05 PM   #337
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Re: Worcester Improvements

I do get that wages are higher in the Boston/Worcester area compared to Greater Portland which does make it a little more reasonable. If you actually work downtown or even at UMass Memorial Medical Center it makes a lot sense.
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