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Old 02-01-2015, 05:17 PM   #41
WormtownNative
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Re: Worcester Improvements

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Originally Posted by meddlepal View Post
He's talking about the MCPHS building that's across from the police station on Belmont. It used to be owned by Morgan Construction.
I know which one he's talking about now.

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Old 02-02-2015, 06:12 PM   #42
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Re: Worcester Improvements

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Lots of space on Main Street as well in the form of parking lots. I would hate to see nicer buildings come down while there is still plenty of land for development in the area. I think there is an argument that the Boys Club space might be better used for something else someday but jumping the gun and ripping it down feels like a terrible idea. Plus, the old Morgan building, the police station, and the parking garage are all bigger offenders in that intersection. Why target the Boys Club building with those other three monstrosities on the same intersection?
There are certain areas in many cities where urban renewal was so destructive that the damage is irreparable and it would just be better to bulldoze everything - old and new buildings alike - and start over. I agree with everything else on here - Major Taylor and all the other roads need to be completely redone, the tunnel absolutely should be done away with, the police barracks and other atrocities need to be torn down... and of course, all the parking lots need to be developed. This is all a tall order... And will take decades if it ever gets done. So Im not advocating for tearing down anything else right away until a good master plan is developed.

However, Im not one who is especially impressed by every building thats kind of old and built of brick with some white/cement/limestone columned trim. I dont think the Boys & Girls Club is that great a building. I dont mind if it stays, but it sits on a an awkwardly shaped parcel and the whole parcel might wind up better off if it could be restarted from scratch. If it gets redeveloped with good streetwalls and infill while keeping the old building, Im all for it, I suppose. But preservation of this building shouldnt be a reason to skyrocket costs to a potential developer if they can come up with a good plan without it.
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Old 02-03-2015, 08:31 PM   #43
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Re: Worcester Improvements

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There are certain areas in many cities where urban renewal was so destructive that the damage is irreparable and it would just be better to bulldoze everything - old and new buildings alike - and start over. I agree with everything else on here - Major Taylor and all the other roads need to be completely redone, the tunnel absolutely should be done away with, the police barracks and other atrocities need to be torn down... and of course, all the parking lots need to be developed. This is all a tall order... And will take decades if it ever gets done. So Im not advocating for tearing down anything else right away until a good master plan is developed.
The good news is that the City Manager is rather dedicated to getting economic development downtown. The bad is that the city's economic development office/Worcester Redevelopment Authority is under-budgeted and understaffed. Things will get done, it's just a matter of how much time will be wasted waiting and how much time will have to be spent reversing rectal cranial inversions in the City Council chambers.

Quote:
However, Im not one who is especially impressed by every building thats kind of old and built of brick with some white/cement/limestone columned trim. I dont think the Boys & Girls Club is that great a building. I dont mind if it stays, but it sits on a an awkwardly shaped parcel and the whole parcel might wind up better off if it could be restarted from scratch. If it gets redeveloped with good streetwalls and infill while keeping the old building, Im all for it, I suppose. But preservation of this building shouldnt be a reason to skyrocket costs to a potential developer if they can come up with a good plan without it.
As to the actual building itself, it turns out the parcel it sits on is not much bigger. "Green space" directly abuts Lincoln Sq., along with what I believe is a WWI memorial.



Google Maps View: https://maps.google.com/maps?ll=42.2...02642&t=h&z=19

Worcester's assessor's office records (with dimensions, year built, etc.):

http://gis.vgsi.com/worcesterma/Parcel.aspx?pid=51011

That said, the layout is weird and leaves much to be desired. MassLive has some new info about Winn's plans:

Quote:
The 40,000-square-foot building, which the company hopes to turn into commercial office space, would be the second Winn building in Lincoln Square after the Voke Lofts opened in the neighboring building last summer. The lofts are on the site of the old Worcester Vocational high school.

"When you look at North Main, is there pioneering here? Yes. We're the first to push and put our money where our mouth is," said O'Brien of the Lincoln Square area, which still includes other large vacant buildings like the old courthouse and the Worcester Memorial Auditorium. "However, when you look at the engagement of city leaders ... and the institutions willing the participate, we're not alone."

The Boys Club building has a long list of previous suitors, including WPI, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and Consigli Construction, but none came to fruition due to the constraints of the building.

O'Brien acknowledged these challenges and said Winn would not be deterred.

"With everything Winn, we are up for the challenge," O'Brien said. He noted this is well within the company's "wheelhouse" noting their 40 years of experience developing "grand historic buildings into adaptive reuse."

O'Brien said Winn companies expects to easily line up a tenant for the building given its location, price and uniqueness.

"This is going to be one of the most amazing buildings in downtown as far as space, funkiness and uniqueness of it," O'Brien said. He noted the visibility and the placement at the nexus of three major routes as benefits of the location.

He also noted the plans to lease the space at rates from $18 to $24 per square foot.
FULL ARTICLE

It should be noted, the "O'Brien" quoted in the article is Winn's Executive Vice President - Michael O'Brien, Worcester's former City Manager (the predecessor of the current Edward Augustus).

Also, since the city probably won't ever get to making a legitimate master plan, I'll throw this out there - an editable Google map for ArchBoston's proposed developments in the City of Worcester.

See a spot you want developed and throw it up on the map. This probably deserves to be in a thread of it's own, but to keep everything Worcester here, I'll leave it here for now.

https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?m...I.kHUc7AknIAGM
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Old 02-03-2015, 08:39 PM   #44
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Re: Worcester Improvements

Also, since it never got mentioned in this thread:

The Worcester Sharks have officially confirmed that they are leaving at the end of the season. The ECHL (the hockey league below the AHL) Commissioner was paraphrased as saying that no team from his league would be replacing the Sharks.

Telegram & Gazette Brief: http://www.telegram.com/article/2015...150139995/1116
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Old 02-04-2015, 08:32 PM   #45
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Re: Worcester Improvements

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Originally Posted by WormtownNative View Post
Forgive me for being the new guy, but what the hell are you drinking? I know snowpocalypse is upon us, but this seems a little early.
All it might take is a badd storm to flood Logan. Look at it next time you're taking off or landing. It looks hardly above the highwater mark. I'm not talking about Logan being perpetually under water. I'm talking about if the storm which flooded Manhattan had hit Boston Harbor instead.
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Old 02-17-2015, 09:22 PM   #46
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Re: Worcester Improvements

Bringing some life back into this thread -

The Research Bureau (Officially The Worcester Regional Research Bureau) has put out their Worcester Almanac for 2015. Traditionally The Research Bureau has made reports recommending economic policy, city administration, and any and all things Worcester government related.

The Almanac is a culmination of various facts, figures, and statistics about Worcester - ranging from political party affiliations to breakdown of supply and demand of hotel rooms in the area.

http://www.wrrb.org/wp-content/uploa...manac-2015.pdf

Also, the Almanac refers to the quarterly Worcester Economic Indicators report, released quarterly by the chair of the Economics Dept. at Assumption College. This report can be accessed here: http://www1.assumption.edu/worcester...ators-project/
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Old 02-26-2015, 02:02 AM   #47
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Re: Worcester Improvements

To add to the list of Worcester redevelopment resources....The Worcester Chamber of Commerce has added an interactive map for downtown Worcester identifying potential areas of development.

I'm kind of shocked by how many P's are in there for parking.

http://www.worcesterchamber.org/econ...velopment/map/
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Old 02-26-2015, 08:32 AM   #48
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Re: Worcester Improvements

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Originally Posted by WormtownNative View Post
I'm kind of shocked by how many P's are in there for parking.
When a city doesn't have a comprehensive public transit network there isn't really much of a choice. Although yeah, that's a lot of surface parking. Some of those should be consolidated into parking garages to allow for more development. They all probably have different owners making money off them though. A developer would have to make a concerted push to buy up a lot of property, like Samuels did in Fenway.
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Old 02-26-2015, 09:23 PM   #49
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Re: Worcester Improvements

As if the City Council wasn't off it's rocker enough......two City Councilors are proposing to bring a AAA baseball team to Worcester.

Quote:
City Council to weigh pro baseball order

The PawSox to Worcester movement is gaining some official momentum, as City Councilors Gary Rosen and Phil Palmieri plan to co-sponsor an order to make a pitch to the new ownership of the Boston Red Sox's AAA affiliate or a comparable baseball club.

The order “request[s] the City Manager consider working with the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, representatives of the Canal District and other organizations to make a pitch for the PawSox, the Boston Red Sox Triple A affiliate, or for another Major League Baseball-affiliated team that is seeking to re-locate.”

The order, which will be on the city council's March 3 agenda, mentions some selling points Worcester could offer a minor league affiliate, including a convenient location that could draw fans from anywhere in New England and a piece of land in the Canal District that could be a perfect spot for a stadium.

“Having the PawSox or another MLB franchise relocate to Worcester, which offers a very large catch area, would be a boon for the city's economy,” the order states. “This team could consider purchasing, cleaning up and building a suitable-sized stadium on the spacious Wyman Gordon property near Kelly Square. That site would also provide excellent highway access.”

There are challenges to luring the Pawtucket Red Sox to Worcester. The biggest one is the new ownership, which purchased the team on Feb. 23, has already announced plans to move the team to Providence, which is why the order mentions pitching the idea to other affiliates from different major league clubs. Still, Rosen said the city should reach out to the PawSox just in case the current plan falls through.
The kicker: Worcester ALREADY has a baseball team.

Quote:
Worcester does already have a baseball team, although not a professional one. The Worcester Bravehearts play in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League, and owner John Creedon Jr. said although his team and a minor league club would be competing for the same demographic – baseball fans – he is not wasting time worrying about what the city council might vote to do.

“At the Bravehearts we try to concentrate on things we can control, which is working our tails off and providing great family entertainment,” Creedon said. “We're looking forward to our second season. We're happy the Worcester community embraced the players, the coaches and the team, and we harnessed that electric energy and brought home a championship, and we hope to keep that momentum going.”
Full article: http://worcestermag.com/2015/02/26/c...ll-order/31609

For those wondering the Wyman Gordon property they're talking about is the same area they were considering building a casino in. IMO, It is a complete waste of redevelopment space. (Google Map of area here: https://maps.google.com/maps?q=Hardi...achusetts&z=17

These guys are idiots.

Cue the headesk GIF's!
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Old 02-26-2015, 09:32 PM   #50
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Re: Worcester Improvements

Quote:
Originally Posted by BussesAin'tTrains View Post
When a city doesn't have a comprehensive public transit network there isn't really much of a choice. Although yeah, that's a lot of surface parking. Some of those should be consolidated into parking garages to allow for more development. They all probably have different owners making money off them though. A developer would have to make a concerted push to buy up a lot of property, like Samuels did in Fenway.
Agreed. The city has 3 garages downtown. One property owner has knocked down one of the old multi-story buildings years ago, across from where the courthouse is now because they argued taxes were too high. They nearly did the same a year or two ago until they found a tenant for one of their vacant buildings. I wish I could walk to everywhere I needed to get to in my area of the city, but it's just too easy to drive.

On another note, Shrewsbury (the suburb to the east of Worcester that delineates the end of Metro West) is looking to redevelop the old Spag's.

Quote:
Shrewsbury town meeting advances shopping center plan for Spag's site
By: Elaine Thompson TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF

......Brian Beaton, a lawyer with Bowditch and Dewey, which represents Southboro-based Grossman Development Group, said the discontinuance of a portion of Baker Avenue will allow the project to move forward and help revitalize that area of town. He said the town's designation of the area as Lakeway Overlay District a few years ago has encouraged public and private investments. He noted the new Burns bridge, improvements to White City and the proposed Lakeway Commons.

"The project as a whole can really serve as an economic catalyst for that area. Everybody recognizes this site is really prime for a development like this," said Mr. Beaton. "We think this project is in concert with that vision and we think it will really be a success for the town of Shrewsbury."

The mixed-use, open-air development will be on 21 acres and will consist of 100,000 square feet of retail, 250 rental apartments and 14 town homes that will be for sale.

The developer estimates there will be 22 stores, anchored by Whole Foods, and two full-service restaurants, as well as a few casual restaurants, a salon, a spa and other retailers.

The residential and retail will be connected by wide, tree-lined sidewalks, making for a pedestrian-friendly environment. Bicycle racks will be throughout the development. A Worcester Regional Transit Authority bus stop is also planned.
Full Article

Construction starts this Spring, with estimated completion mid-2016.

Last edited by WormtownNative; 02-26-2015 at 09:42 PM.
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Old 03-17-2015, 10:01 AM   #51
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Re: Worcester Improvements

Worcester State University is looking to add more parking.....this time by removing a soccer field behind Chandler Magnet - the school across the street.

Google Map view here - Yes, it's the soccer field and a bit of woods.

City admin sees this as a net win. They sell property to private developer in exchange for 10 of 15 acres being converted to parking, (5 acres remains buffer zone) city gets money to buy other green space around the city, and a deed restriction is attached to the property signifying it can only be used for parking. Access to it will be via a new access road on WSU owned land. (with a new traffic light!) They also see it as a win because untaxed property becomes taxed.

More info in the articles here:

Updated Worcester Mag article - http://worcestermag.com/2015/03/16/a...lot-plan/32015

There's an article from the T & G here -
http://www.telegram.com/article/20150316/NEWS/303169575/1116


I wish I could quote it, but the T&G apparently has a new paywall up and I'm not giving them a dollar for 24 hours worth of access. I have the paper on the kitchen table.

A Telegram columnist did manage to talk to a NIMBY:

Quote:
Juliet Feibel was walking in woods last November near her home on Ashmore Road in Worcester when she spotted the surveyor flags.

A couple of weeks later, she asked an administrator from Worcester State University what's happening with the property.

"I can't tell you everything," he told her. "But I can tell you it's not a building. It's a use of the land."

Feibel dug a little deeper, and was horrified to learn what everyone on the West Side now knows: The city wants to pave paradise and put up a parking lot on a 15-acre recreational field and wooded area behind Chandler Magnet School.

But city leaders have underestimated the resolve of Feibel and her followers, who quickly mobilized to protest this questionable, behind-the-scenes plan to alleviate parking woes around Worcester State.

"This is an appallingly bad idea," said Feibel, executive director of Arts Worcester. "You don't ask the city to give up green space for an 800-space parking lot. You don't put a parking lot in the middle of a middle-class neighborhood. City leaders always say it's the neighborhoods that make Worcester so wonderful. This would decimate one of the those neighborhoods. It's irresponsible public policy."

Then she lowered the boom: "Frankly, this is the kind of thing that drives people to Holden."
For once I have to agree with the NIMBY's on this one. WSU has parking lots and can convert them to garages. They have the former temple & parking lot for it across the street plus a remote lot up across from the TJ Maxx distribution facility on Goddard Memorial Dr. (Google Maps hasn't updated to show it yet, but it's been there for a couple years now). There are options being left on the table here.

The other thing that ticks me off is the fact that it would become nothing more than a parking lot for the life of the property. What happens down the line when we finally get to infill development around there? We have an actual streetscape in that neighborhood and we have this giant hole of a parking lot in the middle of it?

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Old 03-17-2015, 10:10 AM   #52
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Re: Worcester Improvements

And just to be sure that I'm not going off the deep end - when WPI had a parking issue, they came up with this -

http://smma.com/project/higher-educa...parking-garage

Athletic fields perched on top of a parking lot.
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Old 03-17-2015, 10:37 AM   #53
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Re: Worcester Improvements

Yea I'm gonna agree with the neighborhood person on this one. That's a pretty terrible use of land and I also agree that it is the stupid city planning in Worcester that often does drive people away.

I used to play Soccer on those fields when I was a kid. The fields always getting used by the neighbors after school hours.
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Old 03-17-2015, 12:09 PM   #54
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Re: Worcester Improvements

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Originally Posted by meddlepal View Post
Yea I'm gonna agree with the neighborhood person on this one. That's a pretty terrible use of land and I also agree that it is the stupid city planning in Worcester that often does drive people away.

I used to play Soccer on those fields when I was a kid. The fields always getting used by the neighbors after school hours.
I did as well. And it's funny because just a few years ago, people were complaining about the lack of soccer (or, allow me to correct myself - futbol) fields. So taking away one soccer field for a new, slightly smaller one, isn't helping those leagues at all.
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Old 03-19-2015, 04:48 PM   #55
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Re: Worcester Improvements

The Worcester State parking "solution" was killed a day or two ago. Pretty much unanimous opposition when it was brought up at the city counsel meeting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WormtownNative View Post
And just to be sure that I'm not going off the deep end - when WPI had a parking issue, they came up with this -

http://smma.com/project/higher-educa...parking-garage

Athletic fields perched on top of a parking lot.
WPI's solution is superb. I saw it about a month ago and not only does it add a ton of parking but because the garage portion is slightly sunken it's almost invisible except when standing on the in-campus access road. I would love to see Holy Cross do something similar to reduce the sea of parking lots on College Hill.

I doubt the project was cheap though, and WSU doesn't have the kind of money that WPI or Holy Cross have to either build such a structure or acquire more land for it in the first place. Tough luck, I guess. I don't have much sympathy if their only solution is destroying city-owned green space to create lots.
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Old 03-19-2015, 08:58 PM   #56
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Re: Worcester Improvements

Quote:
Originally Posted by SlothofDespond View Post
The Worcester State parking "solution" was killed a day or two ago. Pretty much unanimous opposition when it was brought up at the city counsel meeting.



WPI's solution is superb. I saw it about a month ago and not only does it add a ton of parking but because the garage portion is slightly sunken it's almost invisible except when standing on the in-campus access road. I would love to see Holy Cross do something similar to reduce the sea of parking lots on College Hill.

I doubt the project was cheap though, and WSU doesn't have the kind of money that WPI or Holy Cross have to either build such a structure or acquire more land for it in the first place. Tough luck, I guess. I don't have much sympathy if their only solution is destroying city-owned green space to create lots.
I meant to post that earlier in the week, but I guess it slipped my mind. For the full story - Click here

But more importantly, a couple downtown development projects are in the works. Not great, but Rome wasn't built in a day.

First, the courthouse is being redeveloped. This is awesome for Lincoln Sq and North Main - mixed residential and retail.

Quote:
BREAKING: Worcester to sell old courthouse for $1.2M
Written by Tom Quinn

The former Worcester Country Courthouse will be sold to Brady Sullivan Properties for $1.2 million, according to an agreement reached between the city and the New Hampshire-based developer.

Sullivan plans to convert the building into a 115-unit, market rate residential apartment building with 3,000 square feet of retail space. There is no plan to seek public funding for the project, although costs could be supplemented by historic tax credit incentives.

The City Council will review and possibly approve the agreement at the March 24 meeting.

“This is a huge win for the city of Worcester,” City Manager Ed Augustus Jr. said in a press release. “I’m pleased we were able to preserve this beautiful historic building and put it on our tax rolls so quickly. The redevelopment of this iconic landmark will pave the way for even more development in North Main Street.”

Brady Sullivan has preserved and developed historic properties before, and is currently rehabilitating the Junction Shops Mill in Worcester.
FULL ARTICLE

And, the Osgood-Bradley building tax breaks have been OK'd and it appears construction will start soon. (For those wondering where it is, address is 8/18 Grafton Street, across the tracks from Union Station)

Quote:
Worcester OK’s housing plan tax break
Written by Tom Quinn

The developer of proposed dorm-style apartments in the vacant Osgood Bradley Building told city councilors this week that Worcester was the most welcoming place he had been in his 40-year after the council approved a deal granting his company tax relief on the nearly $33-million project.

The project is being undertaken by Rick Shaffer of Vision Development, which has completed similar projects in other areas of the country. The plan is to turn the building, which has been an eyesore after years of commercial use, into a 100-unit market rate housing building for college students. Although it would have resident assistants and amenities like a classic college dorm, it will be owned privately.

At-large Councilor Rick Rushton heads the Economic Development Committee that made the recommendation to the council. He said while everyone agreed the project would be good for the city, the committee took concerns over the city's tax gamble seriously.

“One of our concerns as a committee was that we want to make sure any relief we give a developer is just enough,” Rushton said. “To protect the taxpayers we need to balance the need to re-energize a particular area with the principal that the only relief you give is just enough to make it happen.”

The city is giving a tax increment financing deal that will afford the developer a break on real estate taxes for 10 years, to get the project off the ground, after which the building will be taxed normally. Vision has also applied for state tax credits that have not been awarded yet, and the amount the company will get is unclear. To mitigate that risk of unnecessarily funding the project with taxpayer dollars, Rushton said Vision has agreed to return any money in excess of the $6.2 million it is seeking in aid.
FULL ARTICLE
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Old 03-20-2015, 10:12 AM   #57
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Re: Worcester Improvements

When it rains, it pours!

Wynn Development (same people as the ones who did the Voke Lofts and have an exclusive agreement with the City on the old Boy's Club over at Lincoln Sq. as described earlier in the thread) have purchased Unum's former building on Chestnut Street and will be redeveloping it.

ARTICLE

Again, I would quote from it, but it seems the Telegram's new owners modified the pay wall on the website. 5 articles a month is all you get apparently.
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Old 03-20-2015, 03:55 PM   #58
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Re: Worcester Improvements

First Washington Square parcel development has been approved by the WRA.

Quote:
WRA approves Washington Square hotel deal
Written by Tom Quinn



Worcester has sold 40,000 square feet of land in Washington Square to a private developer that will build a $14 million, 110 plus room hotel.

The Worcester Redevelopment Authority has approved a Terms of Conveyance agreement with First Bristol Corporation, which will pay around $150,000 for the property. Chatter about a hotel moving into the area has been swirling since the rotary was re-sized to be smaller, freeing up room for a developer, and First Bristol had presented a plan for a deal and hotel design in November last year.
Quote:
Before the company breaks ground on the hotel's construction, the Worcester Land Court will have to deregister several parcels that are part of the property, and are still registered with the city. The agreement will also not be finalized until a final design for the building is approved by the WRA. A “historic,” “urban” design was presented to the organization on March 17. The next WRA meeting is scheduled for April 10.
FULL ARTICLE

Last edited by WormtownNative; 08-18-2015 at 10:55 PM.
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Old 03-21-2015, 12:23 PM   #59
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Re: Worcester Improvements

Great news and a perfect spot for a hotel. Right off the train station, and walking distance to Shrewsbury St. and the DCU complex. Hopefully it helps that spot feel less like a wasteland between downtown and Shrewsbury St.
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Old 03-21-2015, 08:23 PM   #60
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Re: Worcester Improvements

theyve been trying to develop those parcels for years so this excellent news....
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