archBOSTON.org

Go Back   archBOSTON.org > Boston's Built Environment > Development Projects

Development Projects New urban and/or architectural developments in Boston metro.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 06-21-2006, 05:48 PM   #1
aws129
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Mass.
Posts: 61
City Square (Worcester)

I've heard mention of this project before, but don't know much about it. Supposedly, Worcester's undergoing some major transformation. Does anyone know more details?

from Globest.com:

Worcester Approves $583M City Square
By Beverly Ford

WORCESTER, MA-Boston-based Berkeley Investments Inc. has signed a development agreement with city officials to transform a vacant outlet mall into a $583-million pedestrian friendly mix of shops, offices and residential uses. The project, called City Square, will be completed over the next five to seven years.

The project has been in the negotiation stages for years but the final accord paves the way for construction on the 2.1-million-sf, mixed-use project to begin, probably by the end of this year. Barbara Smith-Bacon, project manager for Berkley, tells GlobeSt.com that the firm will begin by demolishing the vacant Worcester Common Outlet and creating a street grid that will link the surrounding neighborhoods to the downtown area.

A 1,000-car underground parking garage will be topped by a major portion of the project, which will include 400,000 sf of street-level retail and entertainment offerings. Also part of the plan is about one million sf of new and existing office space and 650 housing units, Smith-Bacon says.

Built on more than 20 acres, City Square will be constructed in three phases with the majority of construction work completed during Phase I, which will be completed in four years. The second and third phases will take an additional one to two years to finish, Smith-Bacon adds.

?It?s perfectly positioned, not only because of its location in Worcester but because of what is going on in the rest of Worcester.? Smith-Bacon notes that the city is in the midst of several major redevelopment projects, including the renovation of a performing arts center and the construction of a state courthouse and an adjacent hotel. No tenants have yet signed on to the project but Smith-Bacon says Berkeley is in the process of talking with several nationally known retailers.
aws129 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-21-2006, 05:50 PM   #2
aws129
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Mass.
Posts: 61
My bad...

Someone's already posted this in the Northern and Greater New England forum.
aws129 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-21-2006, 08:57 PM   #3
ralman83
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Worcester, MA
Posts: 9
worcester. I put this in the other thread also.

Worcester's problems will not be solved by this. i have an apartment there for school and the city is in bad shape considering its size and population.
it actually disgusts me to see such inefficiency and potential go to waist.

The problem lies within city hall and city council. I have written a 15 Page paper for my urban studies class on this topic and have found nothing but
negative stories as i did my research. I interviewed people in the know. residents who have seen The city deteriorate for the past 50 years.

A shake up of those in power is what is needed. If not things will not change.
No one is doing anything new or creative. People in power get complacent with their pay and don't want to do more than the next guy. its been like this for years. and the local paper should write about this.

On a positive side The city does thrive in health-care and teaching jobs jobs.
umass medical is one of more then ten colleges. WPI is building a new bioengineering facility near downtown.

Another problem here is that the city needs better representation in Boston in order to attract more dollars. Incentives for companies to move here would also be great.!! Boston should not be competing with providence RI for future jobs. Worcester should be. The commonwealth should put more initiative into this deteriorating city.
__________________
Its me RL, I like the show SMALLVILLE
ralman83 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-21-2006, 11:29 PM   #4
Ron Newman
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Davis Square, Somerville, MA
Posts: 8,399
Send a message via AIM to Ron Newman
So, how can Worcester be made more like Providence? Most people consider Providence a great success story.
Ron Newman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-21-2006, 11:52 PM   #5
Patrick
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Portland, Maine
Posts: 3,280
well, for one, worcester has dramatically more land than providence, meaning the two really are not as comparable as population alone would suggest.

My suggestion to any town or city trying to become more like a providence is attract artists, because they bring with them creative ideas for the city, as well as cultural attractions and a certain sophistication. It doesnt take much to attract them, just cheap housing with studio space, which i think lowell has tried too.
__________________
I like urbanism, big and small, near and far.
Patrick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-22-2006, 01:45 AM   #6
Benhamin
Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Worcester, MA
Posts: 38
Worcester does have a small art district, just north of Clark on Main Street, or at least it's designated as such.
Benhamin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-22-2006, 01:57 AM   #7
ralman83
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Worcester, MA
Posts: 9
woo

yes, this is verry true. Worcester is verry spread out. Way bigger than Providence. It has what I like to cal an opposite downtown. Workers in the services indusrties (which has been gradualy taking over manufacturing) live in surrounding towns. when they leave in the afternon the downtown is completely dead!! There is more traffic by foot or car in the more suburban part of the city. this is crazyy. downtown turns into a ghost tow. City square will help this by getting more residents and shopers bak in that area.

When i went to look at schools with the family we went through downtown on a saturday afternoon and it was a ghost town. I think I saw tumbleweed blowing across the street as the typical desolate cowboy music played in the background. whats is even funnier is the it was actually spanish day festival down town. the roads were bloked to allow pedestrians to wonder freely. As we passed by the roudblock we tried to get a peek at the festival and saw only a handfull of people in front of a stage were a tropical bnand played caribean music. MY family and I looked at each other and thought WTF!?!?

SO we tried to get a bite to eat expecting a decent trendy restaurant down town but not only was there no sign of a trendy restaurant, there was no restaurant at all. we hadd to go all the way up towards wpi were i live now to eat at an empty saharas mediteranian restaurant. There are many beutifull mid sized buildings but unfortunately they are many that are unkept. If you go to hampton beach in the summer yu wont find parking easy in the crowded NH summer hot spot.
Go in spring fall or winter and it is a verry diferent story. but this dramatic drop in business and traffic is expected.

well should it be expected from Worcester, New Englands 3rd largest city?
this is what happens when college students leave the city after school is out. shops close 2 hours earlier, you get the picture.

inefficiency is the word. this city has tremendous untaped potential. After the untaped potential is met it stil has room to grow some more. this is why I like many am disapointed with the stae of current affairs.

Boston is a biotech and researchhub of the country.

what makes Boston atractive is 1. the amount of highly educatded young proffenssonals, 2. researh facilities in the many schools and or many hospitals. 3. Venture capital

Worcester has all 3 to some extent. the students are here and all they need is more research facilities. entice companies to partner with these schools. The city has a long history in chemicals and is getting stronger in biotech. why not build on what is here and get the schools involved..

the birth control pill came out of here!!!!

Caly fornia is 1st before MA in inovation. all of there state university campuses do extensive research. state of the art research!!. Why cant our state universities partake in this like Cali does. we are so behind in this.
Amherst ist not to far and they are in better shape research wise but you never hear them in the papers. lowell just got the aproval for a bio/nano tech research facility. lets get these programs in worceter going. Buil on what is here!!!!!! What is going on in worcester is like keeping the fridege door open a just a crack and you wonder " how can we make this fridge more efficient and cool alot better?" Well if you closed the door the air would get colder faster and wen it gets cold, air would not excape alowing more resources of energy(money?) to go somewhere else...??

Also transportation is a problem. the busses are never on schedule. there are only 2 cab companies in this big city and the train to Boston has about only 8-10 departures dayly.. I have been late for work so many times because of the cabs jerking me.

I have had enough of this town and cant waiit to leave for good. im sure many students feel lthe same way... most people leave campus every weekend at school because ther is nothing better to do in Worcester.

and im spent. good night!!!!!!!!!!1

no spell check
__________________
Its me RL, I like the show SMALLVILLE
ralman83 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-01-2006, 07:14 PM   #8
aws129
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Mass.
Posts: 61
Worcester's $1 billion bet
Previous attempts at downtown urban renewal failed, but now a new development of condominiums, shops, and eateries hopes to fill in the city center

By Megan Woolhouse, Globe Staff | October 1, 2006

WORCESTER -- The empty downtown of this worn-out city has seen noble efforts at revitalization fail before, but $1 billion in new investment may finally put to rest its reputation as a place resistant to change.

A closed mall will be torn down and replaced with shops, condominiums, and restaurants. A new hotel is under construction nearby, and an old one has been renovated. Other derelict properties have been snatched up by developers, and an old auto dealership, roller rink, and former triple-X movie theater are all candidates for redevelopment.

``We'll get downtown right," City Manager Michael O'Brien said. ``This will be the final reincarnation."

By rights downtown Worcester should be hopping. The city is home to several colleges and schools, which bring student spending and street traffic. It is also home to a major teaching hospital and transportation hub at Union Station. Indeed, Worcester has gained new residents while the state as a whole has been losing population, according to census figures.

It's also the closest urban destination for surrounding Worcester County, which has seen a surge in new residents drawn to the suburbs' more affordably priced housing.

Instead, downtown Worcester has been eclipsed by malls and other retail strips in other parts of the city as well as the suburbs. Some in the community contend that crime has scared outsiders away while the poorer residents who live in the inner city aren't able to support an active district. Others blame city officials for a lack of vision, or developers who built huge, closed-off, self-contained projects -- like the mall -- that aren't knit into the fabric of the downtown.

Whatever the reason, downtown Worcester is the ``hole in the doughnut," according to Young K. Park , president of Berkeley Investments, a Boston firm that plans to replace the mall with a $469 million mixed-use development.

``The suburbs around Worcester are thriving," he said. ``Bringing the money, energy, and creative strengths back into the downtown area is really the challenge, but the resources are there."

The Berkeley site is one of 40 projects planned or underway in Worcester . Developers have spent more than $500 million in recent years buying property in the urban core, and government and local institutions have also been part of the development mix.

John McGrail of the Boston-based Mayo Group has made a career out of buying properties in seedy areas to turn them around, converting former industrial spaces in Lynn, for example, into loft apartments and condos.

After learning of Berkeley's investment in Worcester, McGrail spent more than $17 million on property along Foster and Salem streets. One property, the Bancroft hotel, was once a graceful landmark overlooking the city common that was rife with drug dealing and prostitution when McGrail bought it two years ago.

He now rents out apartments to students and young professionals. In a glossy brochure, he touts ``top-of-the-line amenities" including high-speed Internet access, and an on-site fitness center in the ``heart of a revitalized downtown Worcester."

The view from the Bancroft has indeed improved. The City Common has undergone $2 million in renovations and improvements, with $6 million more to come, including the installation of an outdoor skating rink.

More recently, McGrail bought an old auto dealership on Salem Street that includes a 1950s-era roller rink. He plans to open a Super 88 Asian market in the old dealership and a restaurant in the roller rink. He's not sure what will become of the defunct porn theater, which now hosts a church.

``There is a huge amount of risk," McGrail said. ``But for a company like us, there is a huge reward."

Meanwhile, a $25 million Hilton Garden Inn is under construction just a few blocks from City Hall, as is a $180 million courthouse. The Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Heath Sciences located its Worcester campus in downtown in 2005, bringing about 600 students into the area.

The city agreed to spend more than $64 million for downtown improvements, including the construction of a new 1,025-car underground parking lot. And once the mall is torn down, , a new road will connect downtown to the city's thriving East Side restaurant district and Union Station.

The government was also instrumental in attracting the Berkeley Investments proposal when the City Council, at the urging of Mayor Tim Murray, now the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, approved the mall demolition.

But this location has vexed developers before.

The mall and accompanying parking garage were built in the 1970s as part of an effort to lure suburban shoppers to the city. The building is a gray concrete structure 475 feet long -- as big as a ship. It has a plexiglass and copper roof and was loosely designed after a well-known galleria in Milan .

``The megastructure . . . includes two office buildings, Filene's and Jordan Marsh, Kennedy's, more than 100 shops and restaurants, and the largest parking garage in the world, with space for more than 4,300 cars," a Worcester Telegram & Gazette newspaper reporter wrote on the day it opened.

The mall's popularity slowly faded during the next decade and even its abundance of parking could not save it from competition from newer malls in the region. Downtown businesses closed or moved to the suburbs too, leaving a hodgepodge of nail salons, convenience stores, and vacant storefronts.

It was briefly revived in the 1990s as a discount shopping outlet, but that too faded in popularity and closed by the end of the decade.

David Forsberg , Worcester's chief development officer at the time, said city officials struggled to find a winning mix after the Galleria closed. They built a new convention center, and a hospital in Worcester's downtown, near the old mall, calling it a ``golden triangle." But the mall ended up closing shortly after the convention center and hospital opened.

``I thought we made a valiant effort to bring it back with the outlet concept," said Forsberg, now president of the Worcester Business Development Corp., a non profit business recruitment group. ``In the past, so much of what was done was with public money. Now there's a lot more private money at play."

Maybe that will make a difference this time. But there are some in Worcester who approach the current claims of revitalization with a kind of jaded realism.

Don Reid, who for three decades has run a bookstore on Salem Street, called the Berkeley project another ``development juggernaut.

``There is a certain deja vu," Reid said. ``I fear the reconstruction of the mall won't improve downtown. It's a place people avoid anyway."

Indeed, the man behind the mall redevelopment, Young Park, is cognizant of how difficult it's been to redevelop the site. His firm plans to turn 21 acres of the property into offices and apartments, retail shops, and entertainment venues. An existing office tower and some portions of the mall and accompanying garage will remain.

Park said Worcester has simple demographics in its favor; it's home to thousands of students who attend schools in the city such as Clark University, College of the Holy Cross, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

``The landscape is littered with pioneers with arrows in their back," said Park. ``It's risky, but I think there is significant opportunity."
aws129 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-02-2006, 03:43 AM   #9
Benhamin
Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Worcester, MA
Posts: 38
Re: woo

Quote:
Originally Posted by ralman83
yes, this is verry true. Worcester is verry spread out. Way bigger than Providence. It has what I like to cal an opposite downtown. Workers in the services indusrties (which has been gradualy taking over manufacturing) live in surrounding towns. when they leave in the afternon the downtown is completely dead!! There is more traffic by foot or car in the more suburban part of the city. this is crazyy. downtown turns into a ghost tow. City square will help this by getting more residents and shopers bak in that area.

When i went to look at schools with the family we went through downtown on a saturday afternoon and it was a ghost town. I think I saw tumbleweed blowing across the street as the typical desolate cowboy music played in the background. whats is even funnier is the it was actually spanish day festival down town. the roads were bloked to allow pedestrians to wonder freely. As we passed by the roudblock we tried to get a peek at the festival and saw only a handfull of people in front of a stage were a tropical bnand played caribean music. MY family and I looked at each other and thought WTF!?!?

SO we tried to get a bite to eat expecting a decent trendy restaurant down town but not only was there no sign of a trendy restaurant, there was no restaurant at all. we hadd to go all the way up towards wpi were i live now to eat at an empty saharas mediteranian restaurant. There are many beutifull mid sized buildings but unfortunately they are many that are unkept. If you go to hampton beach in the summer yu wont find parking easy in the crowded NH summer hot spot.
Go in spring fall or winter and it is a verry diferent story. but this dramatic drop in business and traffic is expected.

well should it be expected from Worcester, New Englands 3rd largest city?
this is what happens when college students leave the city after school is out. shops close 2 hours earlier, you get the picture.

inefficiency is the word. this city has tremendous untaped potential. After the untaped potential is met it stil has room to grow some more. this is why I like many am disapointed with the stae of current affairs.

Boston is a biotech and researchhub of the country.

what makes Boston atractive is 1. the amount of highly educatded young proffenssonals, 2. researh facilities in the many schools and or many hospitals. 3. Venture capital

Worcester has all 3 to some extent. the students are here and all they need is more research facilities. entice companies to partner with these schools. The city has a long history in chemicals and is getting stronger in biotech. why not build on what is here and get the schools involved..

the birth control pill came out of here!!!!

Caly fornia is 1st before MA in inovation. all of there state university campuses do extensive research. state of the art research!!. Why cant our state universities partake in this like Cali does. we are so behind in this.
Amherst ist not to far and they are in better shape research wise but you never hear them in the papers. lowell just got the aproval for a bio/nano tech research facility. lets get these programs in worceter going. Buil on what is here!!!!!! What is going on in worcester is like keeping the fridege door open a just a crack and you wonder " how can we make this fridge more efficient and cool alot better?" Well if you closed the door the air would get colder faster and wen it gets cold, air would not excape alowing more resources of energy(money?) to go somewhere else...??

Also transportation is a problem. the busses are never on schedule. there are only 2 cab companies in this big city and the train to Boston has about only 8-10 departures dayly.. I have been late for work so many times because of the cabs jerking me.

I have had enough of this town and cant waiit to leave for good. im sure many students feel lthe same way... most people leave campus every weekend at school because ther is nothing better to do in Worcester.

and im spent. good night!!!!!!!!!!1

no spell check
Gimmie a break dude, you don't speak for "most" college students in Worcester. Many bitch about how there is nothing to do here, but they are too scared to venture out because of the obvious disconnect between college students and the general population. If you can't find anything to do in Worcester, you haven't looked hard enough. I personally like living here a lot, I have a 1 br apartment in a very desirable location and am very happy.
Benhamin 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
Worcester Approves $583M City Square philip Greater New England 175 09-26-2014 02:03 PM
A Modern City Hall in an Old City ablarc General Architecture & Urban Planning 32 01-24-2009 07:51 PM
My City is Bigger Than Your City nm88 Design a Better Boston 23 09-29-2008 03:18 AM
Worcester Plaza unterbau Greater New England 23 02-15-2008 12:03 AM


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:50 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.3
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.