New England Farm Workers Council (NEFWC) held a groundbreaking ceremony today to announce that construction of the Massasoit/Paramount downtown revitalization project will begin in August 2019. The project construction start was facilitated by public/private funding commitments from federal, state, city and the private sector. Project financing consists of a federal/City of Springfield HUD section 108 loan, Commonwealth of Massachusetts state historic tax credits and bond funding, and private sector financing by the Cherrytree Group.
Governor Charlie Baker, Congressman Richard Neal and Mayor Domenic J. Sarno were all in attendance.
The Paramount/Massasoit revitalization will invest approximately $38 million in private and public funds to restore the historic Massasoit Building and the Paramount Theater. This investment in the revitalization of a 1,750 seat performing arts center and an 85 room hotel will build upon the $88.5 million redevelopment of the Union Station intermodal transportation center directly across the street, as well as the $950 million MGM Springfield casino complex in the South End. The government investments in this project will create approximately 73 new full time jobs, and will help eliminate blight and decay in the North End. The Massachusetts Historical Commission and the City of Springfield have recognized the importance of redeveloping these two historic icons by approving $1.8 million in State Historic Tax Credits and $3.65 million of HUD Section 108 Loan funds. In addition, the Baker-Polito Administration granted the project $2.5 million in economic development funding.
“The Massasoit Block/Paramount revitalization will bring back an important anchor in downtown Springfield’s revitalization. The investment will return an important historic downtown block back to its original historic function as a hotel/dining/cultural hub for Western Massachusetts,” said Heriberto Flores, CEO of NEFWC. “The successful opening of Union Station was a catalyst for the significant public and private investment made in our Massasoit/Paramount project.”
The end of summer construction will replace the severely damaged roof and repoint and repair the historic building’s brick exterior. While the exterior building repairs are underway – needed to protect the building’s historic and structural integrity – architectural and interior construction plans will be finalized. The anticipated project completion date is the end of December 2020 for the hotel.
“The Massasoit/Paramount hotel theater complex will stabilize a blighted section of downtown Springfield and create 73 new full time and part time jobs. We will be working with our community partners to prepare community residents for these employment opportunities,” said Vanessa Otero, NEFWC Chief Operating Officer.
NEFWC gas assembled a team of real estate development, construction, historic, and tax credit finance experts to revitalize the Massasoit Building and Paramount Theater property. The development team has over 30 years on average of experience in successfully developing and constructing historic preservation projects.