Michael E. Traynor
Chief Development Officer
CitySquare, a $565 million, multi-phased project in the heart of downtown Worcester, is one of the largest public-private development projects in the Commonwealth. Upon completion, the project is anticipated to create more than 2.2 million square feet of commercial, medical, retail, entertainment and residential space. The approximately $470 million private investment will be supported by a $94 million public investment in the project area, which was designated a District Improvement Financing (DIF) District in 2005. This designation, the first of such in the Commonwealth, enables the City to utilize tax revenues generated from property within the DIF project area to fund public infrastructure and public project elements in support of this major and pivotal redevelopment project.
Over the past years, the City of Worcester has been diligently working with the developer, CitySquare II Development Co. LLC ("CSII"), to complete the abatement and demolition of the former Worcester Common Fashion Outlets mall as well as portions of the adjacent parking garage. As a result, private development is ongoing within the project, and includes the completion of a 214,000 square foot building for Unum (Paul Revere Life Insurance), and the renovation of an 860-car parking garage. This construction has resulted in an $85 million investment and the creation of more than 300 construction jobs. Unum moved into its new office building in January 2013, retaining 700 jobs and creating 50 net new jobs. In addition, Saint Vincent Hospital has completed the constructing a 66,000 square foot cancer and wellness center. The new center represents a $21 million capital investment by Vanguard (parent company of Saint Vincent Hospital).
The physical infrastructure surrounding CSII has also undergone considerable changes. As a public component of the project, a new roadway network has been constructed, creating an east–west connection through the downtown. Front Street and Mercantile Street are now open and accessible to vehicular and pedestrian traffic. On May 31, 2013, CSII acquired Building E from Worcester Renaissance LLC. Building E is the last remnant of the mall to remain, and is located adjacent to 120 Front Street, at the corner of Front Street and Trumbull Street. In conjunction with this acquisition, the City was awarded a grant of $11 million to further enhance public investment at CitySquare as part of the Commonwealth's MassWorks Infrastructure Program. The City is utilizing this grant for the specific purposes of demolition, environmental abatement and site preparation activities at the Building E site, as well as for design of the underground parking garage.
Additional development at the site includes a full-service 150 room hotel on the site of Parcel E, as well as a 350 unit residential development to include ground level retail and open space on Parcels J & K. Combined, the garage, hotel and residential development represent a $116 million investment in Downtown Worcester. It is anticipated that the CitySquare project will require between eight and ten years for full build out. This project will leverage significant additional private investment in future phases, which are envisioned to consist of new construction for office, residential, retail, entertainment and hotel opportunities.