For Immediate Release: 5/8/2009 3:21 pm
Lease Agreement Triggers Demolition Process of Former Vacant Mall Site
Worcester, MA (April 1, 2009) - The City of Worcester's leading employee benefits provider Unum and Boston-based real estate developer Berkeley Investments, Inc. today announced that Unum will relocate its Worcester offices and approximately 700 employees to the new CitySquare development. The company's headquarters are located in Chattanooga, Tennessee, with operating centers in Worcester, Portland, Maine, and Glendale, Calif.
The agreement between Unum and Berkeley Investments was reached after more than two months of negotiation.
CitySquare is a $564 million multi-phased private/public commercial real estate project and the largest development project in the Commonwealth outside of the Boston area. Berkeley Investments' $470 million investment in private capital will create more than 2.2 million square feet of commercial, medical, retail, entertainment, and residential space. The public investment of $94 million will allow for the creation of a new, pedestrian-friendly, small street and block pattern in the heart of downtown Worcester.
"We are pleased and honored to be the first tenant at CitySquare," said Kevin McCarthy, President and CEO of Unum US. "Our goal was to ensure a first-class work environment for our employees, while also considering commuting times, access to public transportation and our continued commitment to the City of Worcester."
Added McCarthy, "In the selection of CitySquare, we believe that we have satisfied our objectives, and we are excited to not only have found such an attractive solution to our needs, but also to be a part of the revitalization effort of downtown Worcester."
In addition to a commitment to retain operations in Worcester and in Massachusetts, Unum's move will trigger the public work portion of the development project, including the demolition of the former mall site, construction of Mercantile Street, and the re-positioning of Mechanics Plaza.
"This is an exciting and important day for Worcester and for the economy of Central Massachusetts," said Lt. Gov. Timothy P. Murray. "The vision we established years ago, of taking down this old mall and rebuilding the streetscapes of downtown Worcester, now takes shape. And I believe it will be the catalyst for the next great wave of growth and re-development for this city, and by extension, the region."
Unum will occupy more than 194,000 square feet of rentable space in a newly constructed building, known as Building H. The building is targeted for LEED Silver certification and is expected to be completed within 19-22 months.
"This is another significant milestone in the revitalization of our downtown," said City Manager Michael V. O'Brien. "Even in these difficult economic times, our community continues to make progress and pushes our collective economic development agenda forward to accomplish the goals we have set out for ourselves. Today's announcement represents this success, and the future looks bright."
City and State officials will continue to work with Berkeley and Unum to secure public incentives and approvals, including Tax Increment Financing (TIF), District Improvement Financing (DIF), and Growth District Expansion/Funding opportunities.
"This is a pivotal step forward for the CitySquare project and the future of downtown Worcester," said Young K. Park, President, Berkeley Investments. "Unum is the optimal first tenant for the project given their commitment to Worcester and their sustainability as one of the area's largest employers. We look forward to executing the lease soon and launching demolition of the mall. It says a tremendous amount about the dedication and vision of the City and State that this projected will be launched at this time in our economy."