Transformative Development Initiative (TDI) District

Hanover Theatre at night

Project History

In December 2014, MassDevelopment announced the designation of ten Gateway City Districts identified for enhanced assistance through its Transformative Development Initiative (TDI). Worcester was named as a District in Development for an application concentrating on the Theatre District Master Plan area. The ten TDI Districts in Development are eligible to receive enhanced technical assistance, real-estate services, and equity investments in real estate to support local visions for redevelopment and to catalyze and leverage investments and economic activities.

Since formally kicking the initiative off in December 2015, the TDI Partnership has achieved many milestones:

  • Award of a TDI “Local Lift” grant to fund a Theatre District Placemaking Kit
  • Proposal of a Downtown Business Improvement District (BID)
  • MassDevelopment purchase of 526 Main Street (Money Stop) for complementary redevelopment
  • Creation of the Theatre District Alliance
  • Award of a TDI Placemaking Grant to Support the Inaugural Worcester Local Weekend Kickoff
  • Organization of the First Ever Theatre District Block Party
  • Small Business Workshop Series - "Let's Put Worcester on the Map"

At a Glance

  • 94 Ground Floor Retail Spaces in the Theatre District
  • 200,000 attendees annually at the Hanover Theatre
  • 2 Colleges
  • 2,200 Residents
  • 1 Maker Space (Technocopia)
  • 1 Collaborative Workspace (IdeaLab)

The TDI Designation in the Theatre District will end in June 2018. A new two-year designation has been awarded in the Main South Neighborhood. In May 2018 MassDevelopment announced the award for a new two-year TDI District in Worcester's Main South neighborhood. Main South is an important connector and has a long and proud history. Formerly splendid Victorian structures coexist with traditional three deckers that were built to house the workforce once employed in the former industrial facilities on the eastern and southern perimeters. The area is home to committed partners, small businesses and strong advocates but faces challenges in the form of negative perception, disinvestment and vacant or underutilized storefronts and buildings. The Partners in the Main South District include: the City of Worcester, the YMCA of Central Massachusetts, Clark University, Main South CDC and Mekong Market. The focus area is a roughly five block stretch of Main Street in the heart of the Main South Neighborhood bordered by King Street and Wellington Street. The northern endpoint of the District is just under a half mile from City Hall and the southern endpoint of the District is just over a half mile from the Clark University campus. The goal of the TDI Partnership is to intensively focus on both the commercial corridor as well as the residential, industrial, and green spaces within the District to help encourage, guide, and leverage future investment and economic development in a way that benefits and nurtures the families, businesses and organizations that call Main South home. This effort will focus on several activities including small business assistance and organization, public realm activation, infill development and vacant and underutilized building revitalization strategies - among other activities.


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