The Office of Disaster Recovery is releasing a public survey seeking resident, neighborhood and stakeholder input regarding the re-use and development of the site at 140 Wilbraham Ave. The City is encouraging the public to submit feedback to the City regarding the re-use of the property:
Mayor Sarno states, “I am happy to report that the much anticipated demolition of this blighted property, which has been an eyesore for our Old Hill and Upper Hill neighborhoods is now complete. I want to thank the residents, businesses and the neighborhood councils for their patience as our dedicated city team worked tirelessly with the court to get ownership of this property transferred to the city. This property had been tied up in court for years due to a host of complicated issues ranging from questions about the previous owners existing only on paper to delinquent taxes and numerous building and code violations. The demolition wasn’t cheap but it was the right thing to do for our residents.”
“I am very happy that we have been able to follow through on eliminating this negative public safety and quality of life issue,” Mayor Sarno continued. “Now we will seek community input on redevelopment and re-use opportunities so that this property might once again be beneficial and a positive asset for the neighborhood. Neighborhood projects will continue to be very important to me and my administration.”
Chief Development Officer Tim Sheehan stated, “We are pleased that the demolition of this dangerous and blighted building has been completed and now we seek to build on our partnerships with the Upper Hill and Old Hill neighborhoods to re-purpose this site into something positive for the neighborhood.”
Director of Disaster Recovery Tina Quagliato Sullivan said, “This was a long and complicated demolition, but at the beginning of this process we agreed that we would work in tandem with the Upper Hill and Old Hill neighborhoods and ensure the City kept residents informed and listened to their input. We continue to deliver on that promise and look forward to a re-use of the site that we can all be proud of.”
The Massachusetts Career Development Institute closed in 2013 and the property was abandoned by the owner. In 2016, a devastating arson related fire occurred at the property. The fire was so intense it took over 40 hours to extinguish and damaged more than half of the building. The property was foreclosed by the City for the non-payment of taxes in 2019 and as the City was soliciting proposals for redevelopment of the non-damaged portion of the building, the property was the target of multiple arson fires, forcing complete demolition of the building.
The demolition was completed in multiple phases. The first phase was completed by Vinagro Corp., out of Rhode Island and the second phase was completed by Associated Building Wreckers of Springfield at a total cost of $2,554,587.