archBOSTON.org

Go Back   archBOSTON.org > Outside Of Boston Metro > Greater New England

Greater New England All things architectural or urban in Greater New England, beyond the boundaries of Boston Metro.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 03-31-2009, 06:51 PM   #21
Corey
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Portland, Maine
Posts: 1,387
Send a message via AIM to Corey
Re: Worcester Approves $583M City Square

Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulC View Post

Awesome news!

I work at Unum in Portland and had heard some time ago that they were looking at renovating their current building in Worcester or building a new place altogether. It's great that they want to stay downtown. Both the Worcester and Chattanooga 'home offices' are downtown and unfortunately Portland's campus is not. (The original Union Mutual insurance company was actually downtown on Congress Street long long ago)
Corey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-02-2009, 09:36 AM   #22
Benhamin
Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Worcester, MA
Posts: 38
Re: Worcester Approves $583M City Square

More news:

http://www.telegram.com/article/2009...904020844/1116

Looks like the wrecking ball will come this fall!!!
Benhamin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-02-2009, 08:12 PM   #23
KentXie
Senior Member
 
KentXie's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Brighton
Posts: 3,844
Re: Worcester Approves $583M City Square

KentXie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-03-2009, 11:47 AM   #24
Chris
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Boston
Posts: 98
Re: Worcester Approves $583M City Square

Dissapointing, and doesn't address the other main issue which is the highway-like road that goes around downtown (McGrath Blv./Worcester Center Blvd), which should be made more urban.
Chris is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-04-2009, 03:40 AM   #25
Benhamin
Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Worcester, MA
Posts: 38
Re: Worcester Approves $583M City Square

It's still better than the abandoned mall that sits there now. Such harsh criticism makes me wonder why anything gets built around here at all.

The project has it's flaws, but lets be realistic... what else could be better? What else would people like to see there. Any serious suggestions?

Forgive my animosity, but I just get tired of people nitpicking about projects in the area when they offer little to no solutions of their own.

Chris: what would you like to see done to McGrath/Major Tyler Blvd to make it more urban?
Benhamin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-04-2009, 04:11 PM   #26
vanshnookenraggen
Moderator
 
vanshnookenraggen's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: New York City
Posts: 6,270
Re: Worcester Approves $583M City Square

Personally I would like to see the site broken up more. I think the blocks are either too large or the buildings are too massive for the blocks.

Is this better than what's there? Absolutely. In fact looking at the site again I should probably take back my earlier comment. This will probably work better than Fan Pier but only because it is surrounded by urbanism that it can work its way into, as opposed to Fan Pier which is surrounded by parking lots and is trying to build something from scratch.

It's not like Worcester is unique in trying urban renewal developments. I was born in Troy, NY which has a lot in common with Worcester (post-industrial urban decline, failed urban renewal efforts, etc). Worcester's proximity to Boston (and being located between Boston and CT & NYC) definitely gives it a leg up.

As for Foster St/Major Taylor Blvd, the best thing they can do is knock out a lane of car traffic for expanded sidewalks and bike lanes. People before cars; a downtown is not where you want to speed traffic through but rather slow it down so businesses want to stay and grow.

There are a lot of parking lots in downtown Worcester that would be perfect for residential infill. Making the highway-like roads into calmer streets will go a long way.
__________________
http://www.vanshnookenraggen.com | http://futurembta.com | http://hyperrealcartography.tumblr.com
brivx: well, my philosophy is: as designers, we make a good theater, we dont direct the play
vanshnookenraggen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-04-2009, 04:43 PM   #27
czsz
Senior Member
 
czsz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: brooklyn
Posts: 6,045
Re: Worcester Approves $583M City Square

Quote:
Worcester's proximity to Boston (and being located between Boston and CT & NYC) definitely gives it a leg up.
...and all its local colleges. Most New England cities have an institutional wealth that has preserved them/given them a greater competitive edge than the declining industrial outposts of Upstate NY.
czsz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-04-2009, 07:35 PM   #28
Chris
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Boston
Posts: 98
Re: Worcester Approves $583M City Square

Someone tried proposing a new residential apartment tower/building on the Library parking lot. It went nowhere (the Library Trustee Board I hear is really powerful in Worcester).

Reduce from 6 to 4 lanes. Un-"curve" it a bit and reimagine the rail underpasses (another issue entirely). I know the rail will make it impossible to really reconnect but right not being a pedestrian from downtown to Union Station is not very good. Then build some buildings on the other side to hide the rail and provide a two-sided streetscape. Maybe even reconnect Madison with New Salem.

I know there was a big fight to keep Washington Square as a rotary, and I originally thought that way too. But if you reduce it to something manageable you can free up quite a bit of land for development. I recognize this is a pipe dream though.
Chris is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-04-2009, 07:38 PM   #29
Josh
Member
 
Josh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Portland, ME
Posts: 56
Re: Worcester Approves $583M City Square

Are all the buildings shown in that rendering new? Or are some being redeveloped? Sorry, I'm not too familiar with Worcester.
Josh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2009, 11:38 AM   #30
found5dollar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Posts: 967
Re: Worcester Approves $583M City Square

basicly every single building with the exception of the light orange (parking garages) and light blue (church) will be brand new buildings.

I have lived near worcester my entire life so far. While the mall is a huge problem there are many other things that need to be fixed as well. Worcester, in my view, is a city still trying to find itself. The downtown is not a place where people go. Infact if you need to get anywhere in worcester it is usualy fastest to go through downtown becasue there are no cars or people down there. Currently other areas of the city are kind of coming back becasue of a small but thriving art scene. My hope is that with the mall being torn down and a streetgrid being re-introduced it will give a place for this art scene to congregate and hopefully bring downtown back.

we'll see....
found5dollar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-16-2009, 11:18 PM   #31
atltransplant
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: Worcester Approves $583M City Square

actually, the two light blue buildings nearest the common already exist, and will be renovated.
  Reply With Quote
Old 11-24-2009, 09:28 AM   #32
palindrome
Senior Member
 
palindrome's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Boston
Posts: 2,203
Re: Worcester Approves $583M City Square

So, has demolition began? Any pictures or info at all...?

edit: found some articles.

Quote:
Unum: CitySquare move still on
CEO says insurer ?absolutely committed?

By Lisa Eckelbecker TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
leckelbecker@telegram.com

...?I understand there?s some speculation about (Unum) not being fully behind this program,? said Thomas R. Watjen, Unum president and chief executive, during a dinner speech to the Worcester Economic Club at the Beechwood Hotel. ?I think we?re very focused on getting the lease settled. So again, I want to assure, we are absolutely committed to that project. We?re very excited about that project and, again, getting the development under way.?
http://www.telegram.com/article/2009.../1002/business

Quote:
Urban offices going empty
Worcester posts occupancy drop

By Martin Luttrell TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
mluttrell@telegram.com


...?According to the snapshot (in the report), Worcester is doing better than most markets? in class A occupancy, he said. ?This shows a need for high-quality office space. CitySquare is the next step, and this is a positive sign that Worcester business is looking for good space and will fill it.

?Worcester has not suffered a severe job loss. We have a strong core here. The dual tax classification is not analyzed here, but referenced. The City Council and administration would like a solution that lowers taxes for all.

?Improved train service is an important step. Right now, Worcester is not the easiest place to get to and from during the commercial day. ? The city continues to work aggressively to put in infrastructure to make sure it?s an attractive place to draw investment and new business. We are looking for $7.5 million in federal stimulus money for the Canal District for improvements to streets, sidewalks and signage. We want to make it pedestrian friendly.?
http://www.telegram.com/article/2009...911050657/1002
palindrome is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-24-2009, 10:07 AM   #33
Lrfox
Senior Member
 
Lrfox's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 2,484
Re: Worcester Approves $583M City Square

^Sounds like good news. With an anchor tenant like Unum it should be easier to get funding, right? Also, what would that mean for Unum's other regional offices. They have a big presence in Portland Maine (typical office park building along I-95). I doubt Portland would be thrilled to let them go and would be willing to bet there could be incentives to entice them to stay if the Worcester move meant moving employees or shutting down Portland all together.
Lrfox is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-22-2010, 09:50 PM   #34
palindrome
Senior Member
 
palindrome's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Boston
Posts: 2,203
Re: Worcester Approves $583M City Square

Quote:
Pssst: Local investor eyes CitySquare
Nick Kotsopoulos Politics and the City

Oh yeah, remember CitySquare?

You know, that $563 million, mixed-used redevelopment project intended to transform Worcester?s downtown, but which has yet to move off square-one even though it has been some five years in the works.

People really aren?t talking about CitySquare much any more. Even city councilors have seemed to shy away from discussing it publicly ? it?s been a while since the mega-project has even been brought up at a council meeting.

It?s all just downright weird.

But history has shown that when things are quiet like this, it means that something could be up. And, it appears that may be the case with CitySquare.

According to City Council sources, a well-known, locally based ?investor? may soon be entering the picture and taking over the project from Berkeley Investments Inc., the Boston-based project developer.

While those in-the-know are not at liberty to divulge who that is, word has it that a purchase-and-sale agreement has been signed with Berkeley Investments. But it is contingent upon the investor being able to finalize a deal, within a specific timeframe (30-45 days), with the first major tenant for CitySquare, which happens to be Unum Group.

Unum signed a letter of intent with Berkeley last spring to lease more than 194,000 square feet of space in a building to be constructed at Foster Street, across from St. Vincent Hospital. But to trigger the release of $25 million in public money for infrastructure work associated with the project, including demolition of the vacant Worcester Common Outlets mall, that lease has to be finalized.

At the time of that announcement, which took place last April Fools? Day ? of all days ? it was announced Unum and Berkeley were expected to finalize a lease agreement within 60 days. Unfortunately, that never happened.

But the fact that a local investor could now be entering the picture has generated some guarded optimism at City Hall. The feeling among some at City Hall is that Berkeley simply hit a wall with CitySquare, fueled in large part by the downturn in the economy, and that it is time to let another party step up to the plate.

And, the fact that a local ?investor? may be involved is even better in their mind. The way they see it, the worst that could happen is that nothing happens, much like what has happened (hasn?t happened?) since last April.

One thing that has intrigued some folks at City Hall about the new investor is that it is supposedly interested in extending Front Street to Washington Square right off the bat. Berkeley did not plan on extending Front Street until the second phase, when the underground garage is built. The problem with that, however, was that it could be at least three years after the project is started before Front Street is extended, and city councilors weren?t thrilled with that prospect.

For his part, City Manager Michael V. O?Brien is tight-lipped about CitySquare ? another sign that something may be happening. Because the city is not directly involved in the negotiations taking place between private parties, he may not be in position to say much.

But he does hold out a ray of hope that something positive will happen in the not-too-distant future.

?All the moving parts, the economy, the partners and the overall program are poised to finally gel,? Mr. O?Brien said. ?It is as close as it has ever been to being a reality since CitySquare was first envisioned.

?We will know in the weeks ahead, yes weeks, if the project will proceed and we can put an end to the anticipation and speculation once and for all. All are working very hard to get (this done). I am optimistic we will get there shortly.?
http://www.telegram.com/article/2010...55/1003/NEWS03
palindrome is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-22-2010, 09:53 PM   #35
palindrome
Senior Member
 
palindrome's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Boston
Posts: 2,203
Re: Worcester Approves $583M City Square

and a follow up...

Quote:
Credit?s tight, but city pulse is still steady

Clive McFarlane
cmcfarlane@telegram.com

Earlier this month, the city?s economic development department led its newsletter with a year-in-review look at Worcester?s economic climate.

?In spite of a worldwide financial meltdown, the City of Worcester experienced steady economic activity in 2009,? the review touted.

?Overall, Worcester enters 2010 as a strong regional economic force, with over $2.3 billion worth of public and private investment planned, recently completed, or under way.?

Initially, I thought Timothy J. McGourthy, director of economic development for the city, needed to curb his enthusiasm, but I am beginning to believe that whatever the strength of the city?s economic pulse, it might be as good as it beats anywhere else.

Yesterday we were told, for example, that big banks were sitting on nearly $1.3 trillion in cash, which means that for every $1 they offered in business loans, they were keeping 98 cents in reserve.

This credit tightness by the big banks is not likely to loosen anytime soon.

This is why, at least for the short term, Worcester officials are banking on local investment entities to pilot the city?s eventual emergence from these difficult economic times.

Clearly, there are promising signs.

Mr. McGourthy noted, for example, that ?established corporations, such as Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics, Beechwood Hotel, UMass Medical School, and Hanover Insurance Group expanded either their business lines, product offerings, or square footage needs.?

Hanover is also rumored to be the ?local? investor now looking to taking control of the long-dormant CitySquare project ? a $563 million, mixed-used redevelopment for downtown Worcester ? from Berkeley Investments Inc., the Boston-based project developer. City officials say they were not at liberty to confirm or deny Hanover?s interest, but they were bullish on what they say appears to be a willingness of ?smaller community banks? to invest in the community.

Mr. McGourthy will tell you that more than 60 new businesses opened this past year in Worcester and more than 2,300 building permits were issued, totaling an estimated $116.8 million in both residential and commercial renovations and new construction.

But he will also tell you that most of those new businesses were small startup entities.

Of course, his report didn?t mention those businesses that failed during the year, or the others that are being threatened by the slowdown in the economy and the still relatively tight credit market.

The fact is that while the local credit market is not frozen, it is not necessarily gushing loans either. Community banks have generally been more conservative with their loan portfolios, one of the reasons they were not overly exposed to the sub-prime mortgage housing meltdown.

That conservative approach is still intact.

?I would like to see even more capital flowing to businesses that need it,? City Councilor Joff Smith said.

?Access to credit is the lifeline for many businesses to meet payroll and keep employees working.?

He said, however, that community banks can lead the way in opening lines of credit, because they generally ?have a strong presence in the community, and often a local relationship that goes back many years.?

City Councilor Rick Rushton said it is up to city officials to create an economic blueprint that would allow banks to more readily loosen their purse strings.

?If you are putting a five-star restaurant in the middle of the forest, that is a losing venture,? he said.

?But if you are putting it in the middle of a thriving downtown, then that is a more enticing business proposition,? he said.

?Lending is based on a bank?s confidence that it will get a return on its investment,? he said.

The people at Berkeley apparently didn?t believe they could get a return on their investment with the CitySquare project. The potential new investor, whoever it is, apparently believes otherwise.

This and all the other positive economic activities of the past year are indeed things to boast about, no matter how pessimistic the times.
http://www.telegram.com/article/2010...LUMN44/2170379
palindrome is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-23-2010, 08:26 AM   #36
Muns1990
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Manchester NH
Posts: 49
Re: Worcester Approves $583M City Square

I've heard about this project off and on, but what made Worcester want to invest more than a half a billion into their downtown. I wish other cities,particularly Manchester N.H, would put up a tenth of that.....
Muns1990 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2010, 07:06 PM   #37
palindrome
Senior Member
 
palindrome's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Boston
Posts: 2,203
Re: Worcester Approves $583M City Square

Just another update, but apparently hanover insurance was the potential investor.

http://www.bizjournals.com/boston/bl...itysquare.html
palindrome is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2010, 07:13 PM   #38
palindrome
Senior Member
 
palindrome's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Boston
Posts: 2,203
Re: Worcester Approves $583M City Square

Quote:
Hanover bid seen imminent, but talks are still ?fragile?
Proposal has Unum Group setting up shop in CitySquare

By Shaun Sutner TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
ssutner@telegram.com
13 comments | Add a comment

WORCESTER ? Although the deal appears nearly complete, civic leaders are growing increasingly impatient with the fitful pace of negotiations over the transfer of ownership of CitySquare to locally based Hanover Insurance Co.

Most observers are convinced a transaction will soon be consummated, enabling Hanover to take over from Boston-based Berkeley Investments Inc. a major portion of the prominent downtown redevelopment project, the construction of a new office building for the Unum Group, another insurer in the city.

With Berkeley and Hanover executives tight-lipped about the negotiations, it is unclear, however, how much Hanover would pay for what would be the company?s first investment in a single real estate project.

...
Full Article: http://www.telegram.com/article/2010...S/2280461/1116
palindrome is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2010, 07:39 PM   #39
JohnAKeith
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 4,264
Re: Worcester Approves $583M City Square

I think the correct wording would be "Despite" not "In spite of ..."
JohnAKeith is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2010, 11:08 PM   #40
Lrfox
Senior Member
 
Lrfox's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 2,484
Re: Worcester Approves $583M City Square

I am so hopeful that this project gets off the ground. What a huge development this will be.
Lrfox is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Emerson College's Paramount Center Mike Development Projects 368 02-15-2011 11:04 PM
Worcester Plaza unterbau Greater New England 23 02-14-2008 11:03 PM
City Square (Worcester) aws129 Development Projects 8 10-02-2006 02:43 AM
Mass Legislature approves 'streamlined permitting' bill JPC Development Projects 0 08-03-2006 09:27 AM
BHA Approves Six Housing Projects Mike Development Projects 0 07-05-2006 12:18 PM


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:31 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.3
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.