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Old 08-12-2019, 06:56 AM   #1
cubalibre
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Worcester Reactory Biopark

Aside from the ballpark there is one other large development under way in Worcester which is getting less press but IMO deserves its own thread.

The (very creepy) 46-acre site of the of the former Worcester State Hospital is slated to be converted into 530,000-square-feet of biotech space. It's adjacent to UMass Medical School which already attracted a number of other biotech companies in the vicinity.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/business...gEL/story.html

https://www.wbjournal.com/article/wb...k-the-reactory

https://www.masslive.com/news/worces...ring_park.html

https://www.pharmaceutical-technolog...tion-facility/

https://thetruthinaction.com/were-ma...r-4dbe3e10f176

WuXi Biologics of China is supposed to be the first occupant, building a $60-million facility to employ more than 150 people. It seems to me that they will move into buildings A, A1, and A2 (see below), which may be converted remnants of the existing 380,00-square-foot Bryan building or completely new structures.




Demolition of parts of the massive Bryan building have been ongoing since last year. Its current footprint encompasses structures A, A1, and A2.


From January:




From last week:





This building ("C" on the map) will be restored. There were a few single-family type houses next to it which have been razed.






Last edited by cubalibre; 08-12-2019 at 08:19 AM.
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Old 08-13-2019, 07:23 PM   #2
FK4
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Re: Worcester Reactory Biopark

Quote:
Originally Posted by cubalibre View Post
Aside from the ballpark there is one other large development under way in Worcester which is getting less press but IMO deserves its own thread.

The (very creepy) 46-acre site of the of the former Worcester State Hospital is slated to be converted into 530,000-square-feet of biotech space. It's adjacent to UMass Medical School which already attracted a number of other biotech companies in the vicinity.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/business...gEL/story.html

https://www.wbjournal.com/article/wb...k-the-reactory

https://www.masslive.com/news/worces...ring_park.html

https://www.pharmaceutical-technolog...tion-facility/

https://thetruthinaction.com/were-ma...r-4dbe3e10f176

WuXi Biologics of China is supposed to be the first occupant, building a $60-million facility to employ more than 150 people. It seems to me that they will move into buildings A, A1, and A2 (see below), which may be converted remnants of the existing 380,00-square-foot Bryan building or completely new structures.




Demolition of parts of the massive Bryan building have been ongoing since last year. Its current footprint encompasses structures A, A1, and A2.


From January:




From last week:





This building ("C" on the map) will be restored. There were a few single-family type houses next to it which have been razed.





It's only creepy cuz it's abandoned... the building being demolished is the Bryan Building which once was just offices for WSH (the actual Kirkbride building which burned in the 90s, which most people probably would have found creepy had they seen the original structure)... and ended up being the hospital itself until the euphemistically named WRC opened. Anyway, it looks a lot more imposing with window panes missing, but it wasn't creepy when it operated, just dingy and depressing. I've spent a lot of time in both buildings.

This project is unfortunate for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it eliminates the last vestige of the farm for WSH patients... until as recently as a few years ago, patients could grow vegetables and flowers which were sold at incredibly cheap prices up there. It was something nice for patients to do and work for, and it looks like the gardens are completely gone now. That means that fresh air to anyone at WRC = pavement in a cage. Not great for a place where people are confined for months to years.

Secondly, the overall design is just a continuation of the utterly misguided principles employed by UMass as well the WRC massive building footprints with very few entrances for pedestrians, surrounded by too much sterile greenspace and parking lots. It's wasteful land use, and makes the whole experience of being there boring and unwalkable. There's a little density on the site of the old Bryan, but buildings D, D1, E and F should be clustered and the greenspace actually utilized into either something meaningful, or just reserved for more development.

Third, I am only wondering what's happened to all the offices in the Bryan Building the WRC was a complete disaster in that somehow, despite costing tens of millions, the state essentially built no office space for the clinicians who worked there, so most of the offices stayed at the Bryan. So I hope there's been a solution but the only one possible would have been construction of more office space, which doesn't look like it's happened.

I guess it's good to get more biotech money coming into that developing campus, but it's disappointing how office park-y that has gone about. Worcester could do better.


Edit - by the way, the "single family type" houses were either quarter-way houses for stepping down out of the inpatient hospital, or housing for workers.
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Old 08-13-2019, 07:33 PM   #3
BarbaricManchurian
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Re: Worcester Reactory Biopark

That whole area is essentially a suburban office park now so this will be fine. Worcester is kinda a lost cause in terms of urbanism anyway.
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Old 08-13-2019, 08:49 PM   #4
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Re: Worcester Reactory Biopark

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That whole area is essentially a suburban office park now so this will be fine. Worcester is kinda a lost cause in terms of urbanism anyway.
That's hardly true. This is at the outskirts of Worcester in an area that has never really had good urban bones to start with.
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Old 08-15-2019, 05:57 AM   #5
cubalibre
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Re: Worcester Reactory Biopark

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Originally Posted by FK4 View Post
It's only creepy cuz it's abandoned... the building being demolished is the Bryan Building which once was just offices for WSH (the actual Kirkbride building which burned in the 90s, which most people probably would have found creepy had they seen the original structure)
Just as a quick aside, some impressions of the original Kirkbride building (source: wikipedia), fka the Worcester Lunatic Asylum. The clocktower and one of the rotundas are the only remaining structures.





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Old 08-15-2019, 11:35 AM   #6
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Re: Worcester Reactory Biopark

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Just as a quick aside, some impressions of the original Kirkbride building (source: wikipedia), fka the Worcester Lunatic Asylum. The clocktower and one of the rotundas are the only remaining structures.
Yup. Massive, massive fire that burned it up. Clocktower building was only dismantled about 6 years ago.

I believe the original asylum has an important place in American psychiatry for being some kind of "first", but I forget the details. However, the only city in America Freud ever visited was Worcester (to Clark University).

Note that the entire hillside down to the lake was fields cultivated by WSH residents... IE, it was all state land and that's why there's a state school, a state juvenile detention center, and the state highway department there now. Also probably why the land use design has and continues to be so abysmal.
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Old 08-15-2019, 01:12 PM   #7
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Re: Worcester Reactory Biopark

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Originally Posted by FK4 View Post
This project is unfortunate for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it eliminates the last vestige of the farm for WSH patients... until as recently as a few years ago, patients could grow vegetables and flowers which were sold at incredibly cheap prices up there. It was something nice for patients to do and work for, and it looks like the gardens are completely gone now. That means that fresh air to anyone at WRC = pavement in a cage. Not great for a place where people are confined for months to years.
There's a new greenhouse on hospital grounds which is open and offers the same opportunities that the farm did (right down to the cheap produce/flowers for sale). There's also a new(ish) community garden outside which is planted and maintained by patients. And while it's a locked inpatient facility, the outdoor common spaces are hardly pavement in a cage. You can see many of the common outdoor spaces in google maps, including the central courtyard. Groups can/do spend time on the grounds outside of the walls as well.

Quote:
Third, I am only wondering what's happened to all the offices in the Bryan Building the WRC was a complete disaster in that somehow, despite costing tens of millions, the state essentially built no office space for the clinicians who worked there, so most of the offices stayed at the Bryan. So I hope there's been a solution but the only one possible would have been construction of more office space, which doesn't look like it's happened.
.
There's actually quite a bit of office space in the building. I don't know that anyone's been displaced or left out. There are also more administrative offices in the old WSH Farmhouse at 361 Plantation St.
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Old 08-15-2019, 01:14 PM   #8
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Re: Worcester Reactory Biopark

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The clocktower and one of the rotundas are the only remaining structures.
And the Clocktower is actually largely new construction. It's a very well done recreation, but the upper levels are almost entirely concrete and it was only completed in the last few years.
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Old 08-15-2019, 01:25 PM   #9
cubalibre
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Re: Worcester Reactory Biopark

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And the Clocktower is actually largely new construction.
Thanks, I always thought it was a restoration. I snapped a picture about two years ago, apparently it was just finished then.

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Old 08-15-2019, 10:34 PM   #10
FK4
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Re: Worcester Reactory Biopark

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There's a new greenhouse on hospital grounds which is open and offers the same opportunities that the farm did (right down to the cheap produce/flowers for sale). There's also a new(ish) community garden outside which is planted and maintained by patients. And while it's a locked inpatient facility, the outdoor common spaces are hardly pavement in a cage. You can see many of the common outdoor spaces in google maps, including the central courtyard. Groups can/do spend time on the grounds outside of the walls as well.



There's actually quite a bit of office space in the building. I don't know that anyone's been displaced or left out. There are also more administrative offices in the old WSH Farmhouse at 361 Plantation St.
I was being only a little hyperbolic about the rec areas... however, they are surrounded by very high chain link fences and by the sad standards of any other psych unit, they're great, but yes, I stand by the description that they are nonetheless just nice looking cages. The building itself, likewise, has some good features to it, but that's again measured against the abysmal standards of the field... while the asylum model had its abuses, the placing of asylums on great pieces of property with plenty of access to open and things to do is something that has been lost, probably for good. I wish WSH could have retained more of its land for this purpose. However, I'm very glad to hear there is still a garden.

The complaints about the lack of office space came from psychiatrists who worked there, the year it opened. So I don't know what to tell you, I haven't been there in a long time, but the complaint was that many staff had to keep using the Bryan Building despite working at WSH. At that time, the front entrance wasn't opened yet so it was very long walk between sites.

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