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Old 07-25-2017, 02:55 AM   #301
WormtownNative
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Re: Worcester Improvements

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Originally Posted by meddlepal View Post
This is so far from the truth that it could only be spoken by someone who is not from Worcester or does not have any connection to it beyond knowing it as that city far to the west of Boston in the Massachusetts hinterlands. I spend many weekends still in Worcester for a variety of reasons and regularly go out to restaurants and bars in the city despite living in Boston.

I grew up in Worcester. I still have a lot of connection to Worcester. Compared to what the city was in the 90's and early 2000's it is absolutely thriving right now and seems poised for a great run in the next 10 to 20 years as it gets greater connections to the Boston economy.
Agreed. I still live in the city, and while living here still has its issues, it is continuing to get better and better. All one has to do is look at Shrewsbury St., Green St., the Canal District, CitySquare may not be the most original idea, but it's still better than the mall that was there. Closed down, vacant mills and buildings have been redeveloped into condos and apartments. Are we completely there yet? No, no we're not. The city hall dwellers like to call Worcester "A City on the Move." The reality is that we're moving, but only a couple feet at a time, slower than what the city government advertises. But even at a couple feet at a time, progress is still progress.

The major thing I see coming over the next couple of decades is the transit and road infrastructure - getting our apathetic bus system into a viable option for people without cars, as well as implementing Complete Streets, with road diets, protected bike lanes, and the like. We also need to redevelop our business sector. Worcester cannot solely survive on restaurants and bars and the occasional shop. It needs more variety to sustain itself. But that can't happen until the city hall dwellers figure out how to not pit business vs. homeowners with the dual tax rate issue.

Even with those issues, we still are proud of our history, and we still have our identity. It's just without the same real estate market as Boston, the pockets for conversion for the reuse of buildings sometimes simply isn't there. And that's the reality.
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Old 07-25-2017, 03:12 AM   #302
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Re: Worcester Improvements

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Kelley Square development slated for $838K tax break

Worcester's city manager is recommending a 10-year, $838,000 tax break for a planned mixed-use development in Kelley Square.

BY LAURA FINALDI

The 70,000-square-foot project, which will consist of 48 market-rate apartments and a 20,000-square-foot public market and restaurant, will increase the total assessed value of its site from $390,700 to $8,529,000, according to a letter from City Manager Ed Augustus to the city council. The current use of the site is an empty dirt lot primarily used as unofficial parking for Crompton Place.

The proposed savings are equivalent to a 70-percent real estate tax exemption on the residential portion of the project.

During the 10-year period, the city is projected to receive $1,455,140 in commercial and residential tax revenue, which is about $1,311,000 more than what it would receive if the properties remained as is.

The project, located at 152 Green St. and 220 Harding St. in Kelley Square, is being developed by Allen Fletcher. It will cost an estimated $21.3 million, including about $4 million for acquisition, site work and soft costs and about $17.3 million for construction, according to Michael Traynor, the city's chief development officer.
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This is the current dirt lot next to the former Crompton & Knowles building.
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Old 07-25-2017, 03:17 AM   #303
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Re: Worcester Improvements

Buried at the bottom of an overview of the Urban Renewal plan and the activities of the WRA from the end of June:

Quote:
WRA is also moving ahead on selling a one-acre property on Washington Square.

The authority plans to request from the City Council a roadway on the site once leading from Summer Street to Foster Street be legally discontinued so that the dead-end street could be built upon. The Washington Square rotary was also made smaller nearly a decade ago in part to increase the amount of developable land there.

While the legality is ironed out, word has gotten out that the city is interested in selling the site, Traynor said. A 2006 study conducted for the city called for a four-story office building on the property.

The sale listing of the one-acre property comes as the Homewood Suites by Hilton hotel finished construction on a separate Washington Square parcel, opening for customers on June 25.
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This roadway used to lead to an intersection that was the major entrance/exit point for one of the Worcester Common Outlet garages.
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Old 07-26-2017, 10:47 AM   #304
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Re: Worcester Improvements

The Worcester Business Journal has a good article on the history of Worcester's downtown redevelopment. There's no news on new projects, but its a good read for those interested.

http://www.wbjournal.com/article/201...307219997/1002
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Old 05-06-2018, 08:18 PM   #305
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Re: Worcester Improvements

What’s been going on in Worcester? I was reminded to come to this thread since people are bashing it on the Hub thread... and weirdly this thread’s been quiet for many months.
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Old 05-07-2018, 12:30 AM   #306
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Re: Worcester Improvements

The new apartments downtown on Front Street are semi-complete (one of the two wings looks occupied, some retail opened). The AC Hotel near it seems to be taking forever to finish, maybe the rooms are open, but the restaurant and the pedestrian area are taking their sweet sweet time. Other than that there's nothing in terms of construction.
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Old 05-07-2018, 02:59 PM   #307
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Re: Worcester Improvements

I guess work began on the Kelly Square market today (5/7) I saw this article on Masslive today.

http://www.masslive.com/news/worcest...incart_m-rpt-2

https://www.google.com/maps/@42.2553...7i13312!8i6656
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Old 05-07-2018, 08:28 PM   #308
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Re: Worcester Improvements

Nice! Do they have a stoplight in Kelly Square yet? What an intersection…
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Old 05-09-2018, 08:38 AM   #309
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Re: Worcester Improvements

A traffic light would probably just ruin this symphony. Right now everyone is rolling into Kelly Square with three mph and you got to really focus. I don’t hang out there too much but I never witnessed an accident, as opposed to at the intersection with traffic lights close to my house.
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Old 07-06-2018, 09:25 AM   #310
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Re: Worcester Improvements

I had the afternoon off, took a walk downtown around Main Street and the City Square project and snapped a few photos of the construction/demolition efforts as well as of the general cityscape downtown.
Since this thread has been pretty quiet lately I hope you indulge me posting some photos of existing architecture.

I think Worcester has a lot of unrealized potential downtown. It feels like it's been slowly moving in the right direction for a long time but it is by no means "there" yet.
I was there on an admittedly hot Thursday afternoon but the streets were largely empty. Retail stores like what downtown Providence or even Portsmouth NH have are still mostly non-existent.

For folks not familiar with the area, I walked from Shrewsbury Street east of I-290, past Union Station through City Square, through Worcester Common, and up and down Main street:


Last edited by cubalibre; 07-09-2018 at 09:28 PM.
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Old 07-06-2018, 09:53 AM   #311
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Re: Worcester Improvements

First City Square. Construction of the 145 Front Street apartments seems to be largely done, leasing started earlier in the spring.
I don't know what the utilization stats are at this stage; I saw a few residents coming in and out the entrance.
There are a few street level retail spaces: A bank, a spa, and a vegan restaurant which still has not opened.


View corner Foster Street/ Front Street:



Main entrance Front Street:



Retail Space Front Street:



Front Street, Union Station in back:


View Trumbull Street:



View from south into Trumbull Street, left Notre Dame church is being dismantlement; more about it later:



Corner Trumbull Street/ Franklin Street:



Empty Retail Space Front/Mercantile Street:



Saint Vincent Cancer & Wellness Center, with parking garage pedestrian entrance.
This is currently a lovely square, slated for higher density office space:



Office building in back hosts Unum Insurance and Tufts Health Plan:





View across the square to 145 Front Street and AC Hotel Worcester:



AC Hotel Worcester opened in April and is quite nice IMO:





Interior:





Next to the hotel is a recently opened 110 Grill with a big patio:



In the background the condemned Notre Dame church:



This view will soon be history:



Public space behind Mercantile Center:



Pending development close to Mercantile Center:
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Old 07-06-2018, 09:57 AM   #312
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Re: Worcester Improvements

The Worcester Public Library will (finally) be adding an entrance on the Common side very soon. Design is in development. The arcade (where people with not always the best intentions hang out) will also be filled in/made interior space.
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Old 07-06-2018, 10:15 AM   #313
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Re: Worcester Improvements

Immediately east of City Square are the WRTA bus terminal, Union Station, and Shrewsbury Street, which has a high concentration of restaurants:

Union station is currently undergoing repairs on facade and roof. It is owned by the Worcester Redevelopment Authority.
There is an effort to bring the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission here to fill some of the vacant office space:







Cargo train traffic through downtown. There is a CSX railyard nearby:



WRTA bus terminal, recently added service to NYC:



Across Washington Square, a Homewood Suites Hotel opened in 2017:



Immediate to the train station, an apartment building catering to college kids/ millennials:


Passing under I-290, Shrewsbury Street has a pretty good selection of restaurants and breweries:











Adjacent to Shrewsbury Street is Mount Carmel church, which is in a sorry state.
Preservationists fear it could be the next structure to fall to the wrecking ball:






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Old 07-06-2018, 10:21 AM   #314
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Re: Worcester Improvements

.. which brings us to Notre Dame, which is being razed for a parking lot, and eventually more apartments as part of the City Square project.
All local efforts to save the structure have failed.
The stained glass has recently been removed so the interior is exposed to the elements.

This side is facing Worcester Common:







Corner Franklin/ Trumbull:



Datadyne's aforementioned Public Library and arcade, on the same corner of the Common:
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Old 07-06-2018, 10:41 AM   #315
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Re: Worcester Improvements

Worcester Common is west of City Square, behind City Hall and surrounded by a mix 70's era highrises and the former Bancroft Hotel, which is now part of "The Grid".
The owners continue to buy up and revamp real estate in downtown, turning each into apartments and mostly gastronomy space




This lot used to be the Paris Theater, now slated to be a beer garden:



Part of "The Grid":



Former Bancroft Hotel, now apartments:





Corner Franklin/ Main Street, also part of "The Grid"



The two properties on Main Street were recently purchased by the owners of "The Grid". Fun fact: The back wall of the "Great Wall" restaurant partially collapsed due to neglected maintenance:



More "The Grid" on Portland Street:


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Old 07-07-2018, 04:14 AM   #316
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Re: Worcester Improvements

Great pics and thank you. But please remember to resize your pictures before posting them. Even more so for these long photo tours.
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Old 07-07-2018, 05:15 PM   #317
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Re: Worcester Improvements

Noted, thanks. I resized the remaining photos.
Continuing at the northern end of Main Street at Lincoln Square, which is surrounded by the Worcester Memorial Auditorium, the Vocational School Boys Club, and the old Court House.
The city is trying to find an investor for the huge auditorium which sits empty.
The court house is being redeveloped as apartments.
I don't know what the current plan for the Boys Club building is, but it appears to be in the most need of repair.


Memorial Auditorium:







Vocational School Boys Club:



Court House:





North of Lincoln Square, this building has been redeveloped as Voke Lofts:



View from further south with Methodist and Unitarian Churches:

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Old 07-08-2018, 08:10 AM   #318
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Re: Worcester Improvements

You’ve done a great service with these photos. Thanks!

My broad impressions: wtf that these churches can’t be saved? Why is City Square a tan-gray-terra-cotta mess? Doesn’t this The Grid developer seem like they’re doing a great job?

Thank you again
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Old 07-08-2018, 09:02 AM   #319
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Re: Worcester Improvements

The short story about the two churches:
The Worcester Archdiocese wanted them off their hands as repairs are mounting and the congregation was shrinking. All attempts to find private investors have failed, supposedly because renovation costs are prohibitive.
The city already owns a number of historic buildings (Union Station, Auditorium) and does not want to spend additional taxpayer money on maintaining more.
I'm sure it's more nuanced than that, in case of Notre Dame it's been an ongoing issue for the past eleven years.

My hope would be that at least the facades could be saved and integrated into any new development. It will be a loss considering what the developer plans for the site of the church.

I like what The Grid is doing in downtown, rehabbing old buildings and also providing retail space. They are buying up more properties so I am assuming their business model is successful.
The apartments are not cheap by Worcester standards:

Studios $1050 - $1410
1 Bedroom $1320 - $2100
2 Bedroom $1740 - $2400
3 Bedroom $2340 - $2700

The Grid also owns a number of properties in East Boston and Chelsea
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Old 07-08-2018, 01:26 PM   #320
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Re: Worcester Improvements

Finishing the excursion with a walk down Main Street from north (Lincoln Square) to south (Federal Square)


At 175 Main Street, Elwood Adams Hardware store closed its doors after 236 years


Next door are a barber shop and Armsby Abbey brewery:



Across the street is the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy, which was one of the first institutions to move downtown in 2000



AT&T's contribution to Main Street architecture:



The newer Worcester County/ District Court at 225 Main Street:



Across the street, this building housing the Courthouse Cafe can crush anyone's spirit:



As can this parking lot at 240 Main street:



Worcester County Sheriff's Office:



The Palladium is a live music venue:



The "Day Building"



The beautiful Exchange Building, and Mechanics Hall:



Mechanics Hall, meticulously restored in the late 70s:




Interior:



The Central Building at 332 Main Street is being redeveloped



Impressions moving towards City Hall and Worcester Common:

















Corner Main Street and Front Street, next to City Hall and the Common:



This building was once the home of Denholm Department Store


Park Plaza (The Grid)



The area around Federal Square is being marketed as the "Theatre District"





Federal Square. Building in the center now hosts RMV, to the left is Hanover Theater, reopened in 2008

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