On August 27, 2020, Mayor Sarno and Congressman Neal joined with Governor Charlie Baker and officials from MassMutual, MGM Springfield, MassHousing, the Springfield Redevelopment Authority, OPAL/WinnDevelopment, and other elected and community leaders for the official launch of the long awaited economic and redevelopment project.
Mayor Sarno states, “I am very proud that my administration continues to move forward on these vital economic development projects. We never gave up on this project, and to see the work that is being done and how far this property has come is truly amazing. It took an unprecedented public and private partnership to pull this off but once again, my administration has proven that we can move forward and be creative in accomplishing challenging economic development opportunities.”
“It is encouraging to see such tremendous progress at 31 Elm Street just a few months after the project began in late August,” said Congressman Neal. “The SRA and Winn Development team has done a great job on the building so far and I am excited to continue to see this beautiful building come back to life in the heart of Springfield’s downtown.”
This historic $51.3 million strategic downtown economic and redevelopment project is made possible by an unprecedented public-private partnership. This partnership includes the Springfield Redevelopment Authority (SRA) and the City of Springfield who are currently undertaking a $4 million environmental cleanup of potentially hazardous materials from the Elm Street buildings (as their participation in the Project). The partnership includes funding from numerous entities including $5 million from MassMutual, $14.5 million from MassHousing’s Workforce Housing Initiative, and $16 million from MGM, with this funding collectively structured as a loan. The Developer, OPAL/WinnDevelopment, has also secured approximately $11.3 million in state and federal historic tax credits. They will apply these historic tax credits together with developer equity, a conventional mortgage, and a commitment from the Unions Trades to assist with $500,000 of housing funds to round out the total of $51.3 million of required funding.
City Enterprises, Inc. (a Springfield based business) is serving as the General Contractor on behalf of the SRA and the City. Completion of their work is expected to be finished by mid-November 2020. They will then transfer the site to OPAL/WINN Development once complete with their environmental remediation and related scopes.
The comprehensive project entails the historic restoration and transformation of the former Court Square Hotel building and the Byers Block (3-7 Elm Street) into 74 new market rate and workforce housing apartments to address the housing needs that exist in Downtown Springfield and the Commonwealth. In addition, to the redevelopment generating additional tax revenues and construction and permanent jobs, the project will also include a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) with the Pioneer Valley Building Trades. The anticipated ground floor retail will assist the City in activating the Downtown streetscape with restaurant, retail and commercial leases.
“As the Urban Land Institute reported some 15 years ago, the proper redevelopment of 31 Elm St/Court Square property is a critical and vital project that must be addressed, not only to return it to the tax rolls but just as importantly, for the psyche of the city,” Mayor Sarno added. “Again, I want to thank my dedicated city team; Congressman Neal; Governor Baker; Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy; MassHousing Executive Director Chrystal Kornegay; the SRA Board, especially Board Chairman Armando Feliciano; MassMutual Chairman, President and CEO Roger Crandall; MGM Springfield President and COO Chris Kelley; Michael O’Brien of Opal WinnDevelopment; Peter Picknelly; our City Council, especially Ward 2 City Councilor Attorney Michael Fenton; and our State Delegation, especially Assistant Majority Leader Representative Joseph F. Wagner, for never giving up on this vital economic project.”