Representative Richard E. Neal, Mayor Domenic J. Sarno, and MassDevelopment President and CEO Marty Jones today celebrate the completion of renovations at 1550 Main, a critical component in downtown Springfield’s revitalization. The event also focused on newly-installed sculptures in the first and second floor lobbies by local artist James Kitchen. These pieces have helped to enliven the space and attract members of the public to the building.
"For many years, my office was on third floor of 1550 Main Street, so I know how important this building is to the City of Springfield. With the leadership and investment of MassDevelopment, the former federal courthouse site has been completely transformed, and is now a coveted address downtown. The renovation is now complete, and the city now has a vibrant new workplace," said Congressman Richard E. Neal.
MassDevelopment, the Commonwealth’s finance and real estate development agency, bought the 150,000 square-foot building from the General Services Administration (GSA) for $2.5 million in 2009, renamed it “1550 Main,” and began a multi-million dollar rehabilitation of its interior, façade, and exterior plaza. In July 2008, Governor Deval Patrick awarded a $3 million Growth Districts Initiative Grant for public improvements to the building’s public plaza and atrium to create safer and more attractive indoor and outdoor public spaces and to reopen the street-level pedestrian connection between Main Street and Columbus Center. MassDevelopment completed the multi-million dollar rehabilitation of its interior, façade, and exterior plaza in 2011. Nearly 350 people occupy the building as tenants, which include the Springfield School Department, some federal tenants, and Baystate Health. 1550 Main also attracts about 100 daily visitors, adding to the pedestrian foot traffic downtown.
“By working together, we have taken a key economic development downtown building that was running the risk of going dark and filled it with hundreds of jobs to continue to enhance our downtown landscape,” said Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno. “I am very thankful to Congressman Richard E. Neal, the Patrick-Murray Administration, MassDevelopment, and Baystate Health for their partnership on this endeavor.”
Through this transformation, 1550 Main has become a central attraction for the burgeoning downtown Springfield arts scene. Kitchen’s pieces are for sale to raise money for local public television. 1550 Main’s plaza has also hosted outdoor concerts, impromptu performances to garner interest in shows at CityStage and Symphony Hall, and an art show featuring local college students.
“The Urban Land Institute envisioned 1550 Main could help secure Springfield as a vibrant urban center and cultural hub,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Marty Jones. “It has been a joy to see that idea morph into a reality over the last few years. Congressman Neal, Mayor Sarno, the Patrick-Murray Administration, and Baystate Health have been great partners during this revitalization and I thank them for their hard work.”
MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, financial institutions, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2011, MassDevelopment financed or managed more than 300 projects generating investment of $3.8 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are projected to create more than 10,000 jobs (2,547 permanent and 8,129 construction), and build or rehabilitate more than 1,000 residential units.