January 19, 2012

Airpport expansion plans

In telegram today, click here


Steve Foley said...

Interesting that Massport requires any FBO to serve both Worcester and Hanscom, but they won't put a requirement that an airline serve both Boston and Worcester.

David Z. said...

According to the Worcester Business Journal, Massport has selected Rectrix Aviation FBO who also services Hanscom Field.


David Z. said...

The T&G is also reporting on the selection now.


tim macdonald said...

I was hoping for a jetblue announcement in there too. Hope that is coming in the near future.

Anonymous said...

I think this is Massports way of announcing that Worcesters future will not include much for commercial service. Its their way of putting the auxiliary services that they don't have room for at Logan somewhere. If it creates jobs, good, I guess. I was a strong supporter of Worcester airport until I got a look from the inside. The city ran the airport straight into the ground. Worcester Airport has a bad reputation in the aviation industry. With over 30 years of neglect and mismanagement by the city, the airport has a weak potential of attracting solid commercial service. Putting massport at the helm was probably the best thing for the airport. They have made some good decisions (including getting rid of the incompetent city liaison ), however, I don't think they can revive the airports reputation.

Frank R.

Jahn said...

Steve I too picked up on that 9th paragraph but my take was a bit different. Logan has 2 stepchildren, Handscome & Worcester. Both kinda pushed onto Logan (Massport) for basic survival needs. Worcester is basically the redheaded step child who is allowed to ride in the backseat to accompany the family (Logan & Handscome) on a day trip to the beach (the FBO bid).

I mean come on what a put down to WRA. Sure WRA can come along for the ride. Reminds me of a deal I once made. I wanted to buy Item A, but the seller made me buy both Item A and Item B which was a POS. PaCKage deal which I really didnt want.

This article only leaves me with unanswered questions? First of which, is this just a Deja Vu of the bid for a 4.5 acre parcel to be developed about 4 yrs ago? Massport just dusting off that skeleton and dragging it out of the closet???

Step children and redheads please do not take offense. NO harm meant

Suctil said...

Anonymous, I agree with you that the city should never have been in the airport business. Just like they should never have been in the hospital business, nor should they be in the firefighting business, nor the rubbish collection business, nor the yard waste pick up & disposal business nor in the in library business nor in nor in the parkign ticket business, nor in the forestry business, etc, etc

Yes most of these these functions are necessary for a city, but they all s/b farmed out to the lowest bidder.

Jahn said...

So....what will happen first, Masspike egress for a Brimfield casino (proposed) or Masspike egress for Worc Airport ( existing). After yesterdays news, I think the answer is obvious.

To steal a phrase, is it just me??????? No one else here has issues with the changes occuring with City Sq constr? E.g. substantially delaying or completely doing away with parking garage. BTW how many spaces was that garage to have?

Also it looks like an Obuma-esque death panel is quietly being assmebled for Notre Dame. Anyone get a sense of a nexus between Notre Dame and City Sq MAJOR Change orders? Something is cooking?

David Z. said...


Yes, a garage was included in the original CitySquare plan that was going to be built with public money. There were going to be underground levels underneath the extension of Front Street. Certain benchmarks (i.e. firm commitments for any new construction) needed to be met before the release of any public money for CitySquare. That was the primary reason behind the delays in tearing down the former mall. Until they had a commitment from UNUM to relocate their headquarters, no public money could be released.

Now that they are already building Mercantile Street for the UNUM building and St. Vincent has agreed to build their Cancer Center at the corner of Front Street and Foster Street, it made sense to the developers and the city to enter into phase 2 sooner rather than later.

Hanover (CitySquare II) bought the former Notre Dame Church quite some time ago. In order for the city & Hanover to release any funds they had to expand the physical boundaries of the D.I.F. to include the church which had not been done yet even though they had already purchased it.

Along with the expansion of the D.I.F. the city and Hanover decided to perform all of the infrastructure work now to include a full build out of the new (former) street pattern. So Mercantile St., Trumbull St, Eaton Place, and Front Street will be constructed as part of phase 2. They believe that by doing this it will be easier to market the development parcels being carved out from tearing down the former mall. As for possibly “losing” the garage, they have said since they took over the project from Berkley that it would evolve according to market forces and would not necessarily include everything that was first proposed.

As for the future of the church property, when Hanover purchased it Fred Eppinger said in an article in the T&G that he would like to preserve the building for reuse rather than tear it down. In fact, there were rumors that they were trying to work out a deal with the Higgins Armory to move the museum downtown to the former church. I’m not sure if they are still talking or if it was just a rumor.

I get the sense that Fred Eppinger is very sensitive to Worcester’s history and the developers will do everything they can to see the church is reused rather than see the wrecking ball.

BTW, I’m still hearing strong rumors about another hotel being a part of this project along with a luxury apartment building. And before you have a chance to “jump” all over about an apartment building rather than condos like it was originally planned, have you checked the condo market lately? It just doesn’t make financial sense right now.

Jahn said...

David, me jump all over something?? Surely you jest??Come on now. :) But hey, thank you for taking the time to write all of that.

So if I am understanding correctly, the parking garage was part of Phase 1 and the new Front St was part of phase 2? Now they want to leap frog the completion of Front St before phase 1 is completed and they also put the parking garage on hold with a decision to be made in teh future about the viablity (if any?) of a parking garage.

So if the parking garage was to built with gov't money and given to Berkley, I assume Hanover has stepped into Berkleys shoes and inherits the freebie garage when taking over the project? My memory is that the garage was a $25M giveaway to the developer and Now Hanover may give it up and/or downsize it. Makes me wonder how Hanover will be made whole?

If Notre Dame was not part of the original DIF, why was it necessary to expand the DIF boundaries before the city and Hanover would release more funds? Wasnt the release of the funds based on the original boudaries?

Another question I had was why all of a sudden does City Sq not possibly need some or all the parking garage spaces originally proposed? It seems to me this flies in the face of the reality that customers, employees, and a vibrant City Sq need parking spaces on site? Maybe this rumored hotel will take the parking garage footprint, but again where will the hotel guest park?

Higgins is struggling. They've got new management in there that are over their heads, the employees arent happy, and they cant keep a CEO in place. Three CEO's in last four years. From what I heard awhile ago (not from Rosalie and Co.), the only possible way they would move is if their tenant fit up was was freebie. I know not how reliable, but there have been rumors about Higgins ending up with the Ecotarium in a merger and it has alot to do with the current CEO's ties to the Ecotarium. The scuttlebutt is thats the reason this person was brought in.

Wild speculation, but I am thinking that church gets picked up and moved to another location on the City Sq site. Who ever razes that place will rot in French Canadien Hell :) Where's the Hysterical Society on this?

Bill Randell said...

Dave Z and Jahn

I honestly love reading both your comments and try to stay out and just watch

Dave Z, I agree with Jahn. Let me add, from my insurance background, if either of you think UNUM will have any presence in Worceste when their City Square lease expires you are nuts.

UNUM's move ot City Square is merely part of their overall Paul Revere exit strategy from Worcester. Only wonder what happens to the old Paul Revere space.


Jahn said...

It's about time someone sees things my way :)

But Bill, if they were going to exit Worc why would they have not done it by now? The catylst being they need newer/better/more(?) space? The cost of doing business, even just insurance type office business is much lower anywhere else be it North Dakota or Tennessee. What's their lease term at City Sq...10 years and are you suggesting that maybe they got a pair of golden handcuffs to stay in Worc? (below market rent at CS?) Now I am really reading between the lines, but it is possible UNUM signed on only to get CS off the drawing board and the gov't money released. Now plans are changing to accomodate the real future of CS. I know that's a real stretch, but sorry, I but put nothing past a certain individual who could be called Mr City Sq.

Now I just had another thought. How many work at UNUM now and how many parking spaces do they consume? Less than when they signed on a few years ago? Unlikely ??

Yesterday I saw something that got me thinking. I was driving along a city street and up ahead I could see 2 men in work clothes shoveling a sidewalk. I thought to myself, that's interesting, but as I appraoched, I could see they were not DPW guys. SO I figured maybe they were shovelign the sidewalk for some retail businesses. I grab my coffee a 1000 ft away and head back home and the sidewalk is all shoveled and they are getting into their PU truck. I am perplexed, they did not shovel the businesses out, but instead another stretch of city sidewalk where only vacant land abuts. As I pass looking in the rear view mirror, high above the street level are high tension wires. AAAAAAAAHHhh....HHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAA.....Nat'l grid shoveling their abutting sidewalks, like good corporate citizens. Evidently they own the property where their wires run which isn't always the case. Often they have easements only, not ownership.

Here's an ATTA BOY to the power co for doing what the city will not do themselves but expects everyone else to do.............shovel their abutting sidewalks. I mention this, given the bad preess teh utility has gotten oner the last year or so, mostly due to Mother Nature. If all of a sudden 15,000 peopel descend on City Hall to pay their taxes in one day ...well guess what........those expected to handle the overload will be unable to logistically do it?

Jahn said...

I just read Nick in todays Sunday T&G.

Now another question pops into my mind. Hanover will "contribute" $2.5M to expedite the build out of Front St, but still no mention of the parking garage situation and I continually ask this question b/c I had assumed Hanover stepped into Berkleys shoes as far the free $25M parking garage that was part of Berkleys deal.

So not only does the parkign garage go to teh back burner, it is even possible it may not happen. I keep asking myself what is Hanover getting in exchange for the delay (or elimination) of the parking garage that was to be a $25M gift to the dev'er of CS?

We've all dealt with large Insurance companies and God knows they will nickel and dime ya on a mere $1,500 fender bender nuisance claim, but no mention of the delay or possible loss to Hanover of a $25M garage anywhere this last week.

And now CC Palmieri is 110% on board for City Sq, too. Now if that aint the kiss of death for this project! :)

And did ya see the $23,000,000, 66,000 sq ft cancer center will be built for $349 a sq ft..........yet it cost $513 a sq ft to built low income apts in the wonderful neighborhood of Main & Madison Sts in an already existing building? Not an apples to apples exact comparison, but you get the idea?

Bill i was stuck in traffic on Madison Saturday night and as I looked to my left I couldnt help but think of the issue you have raised about the parking lot supposed to built at Main & Madison for these new low income apts. The site of the lot was dark & dingy and their aint no parking lot there. How the heck do you get an occupancy permit w/o completing the parking lot. No only not completing it, but no one is apparently allowed to even park on the unfinished surface area. Where are these tenants parking? Ionic Ave?

And another thing that has been in the news and kind of lost on everyone lately. Now it also appears the anticiapted increase in the number of Commuter rail trips to Worc is looking like it will not pan as predicted...T&G reporting it will be less than the number of originally planned new trips once CSX stepped aside. So do i have this right? The originally planned number of parking spaces at City Sq is reduced and/or eliminated......AND THEN........THE SUPPOSED INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF COMMUTER RAIL TRIPs (feeding City Sq area) TO wORC WILL ALSO NOT PAN OUT AS PREDiCTED. Which i guess raises the question, how will City Sq become so vibrant with significant decreases in the infrastructure to make City Sq a downtown destination venue? Maybe everyone is taking those courses i read about on the rear of the city buses about learing how to ride the bus?

Anonymous said...

Almost choked on my cornflakes when I first heard the news!

This is absolutely positive news for not only the airport, but for Worcester itself.

I kept thinking that the airport would remain a no man's land destined to be underutilized. By bringing in corporate and private aircraft, Massport has shown that it will not wait for an access road so the airport can be used for commercial run-off and cargo.
By bringing in an FBO to coincide with the existing one on the field ensures good service and building more hangar space proves they are serious in bringing business to Worcester.

It would be a good time for the Chamber of Commerce to start working with Massport to help foster this business. An example being having the car rental agencies provide a shuttle to pilots and passengers staying a day or less to bring them to some of Worcester's finer restaurants.
Also maybe a promotion for those who rent a vehicle to give them tickets to a Worcester Tornadoes game or Higgins Armory or orcester Art Museum. Things of that nature.

What an opportunity to promote Worcester. Always thought the airport had the potential to be more like the one on the television show "Wings" rather than a T.F. Green or Manchester.

As for the city council, they should step up and support this move and quell any naysayers stating that noise and fumes will hinder the local community. Corporate and private aircraft do not impose that problem.

Worcester should embrace the economic opportunity and not look at what we gave up in selling to Massport. Time to look forward.

Good luck ORH


David Z. said...


Hope you see this post.

I don't profess to be an insider to the insurance industry but with all due respect to Bill; I don't think UNUM would sign a 15-year lease for CitySquare if they had exit plans anytime soon.

As for CitySquare, CM O'Brien was a guest on your "favorite" radio talk show yesterday afternoon talking about the project. There will still be 1,000 parking spaces built out at CitySquare by the city. In order to construct Front Street right away and to prevent possible expensive maintenance issues in the future, the garage will no longer be built under Front St.

What is proposed now is a 500-space underground garage to the right of Front Street when heading towards Washington Sq. from City Hall. It will not be built until there is a commercial building to go with it. That is the way the D.I.F. is structured. Until there is a tax generator (new commercial building) the garage will not begin.

Across the street from the underground garage will be a 2nd 500-space above ground garage which will have a building wrapped around it. They are in talks with a developer for luxury apartments at this site which would be next to the new cancer ctr.

As for parking for UNUM (at 1 Mercantile Place) and the St. Vincent Cancer Center, the existing garage on Foster Street (between the 2 buildings) currently undergoing renovations will be more than enough to handle their parking needs and for visitors.

CM O’Brien also touched upon Notre Dame Church. He said that the intent is to save and reuse the building. Right now they are doing architectural studies of the church so they can determine what the best use will be whether more apartments, a restaurant, theater space or a combination of all of these. Speaking of apartments, the CM made mention of the fact that the Mayo group market rate apartments are going well with a 2-bedroom unit going for $1,800 / month in the former Bancroft Motors building. It is the goal of the City Administration to have upwards of 1,000 apartment unit’s downtown in the next few years so a true neighborhood feel can be established. Couple this with the expected doubling of students at MCPHS to 2,000 and Quinsigamond Community College looking for 70,000 sq. feet to move their health science department DT and the future looks bright.

Jahn said...

The CM was on Polito this morning (1-24) and did have a plausible explanation(s) for the parking garage changes to City Sq.

I tuned in part way through it but it "seems" basically we're going build about 1/2 of garage now and and another 1/2 of garage later??. The 2nd 1/2 of garage not to be stand alone but to be incorpoarted into one of the structures that will be built as CS fills out.

David Z says there are "some" rumors of a hotel coming and it would seem to me that any urban central business district hotel of any size usually has its own parking garage or an abutting garage???????

The CM did preface his comments and I paraphase ....the economy, current Economic situation, etc etc. He also said underground parking garages can be more expensive to build and problematic to maintain....referring specifically to leaks (projecting the Common parking garage issues to other underground garages?).

My take............bottomline.....no one is showing up buy up CS real estate and build?? Nothing new there. Here's to hoping the hotel comes to pass and other PRIVATE sector businesses as well.

Jahn said...

David, just want to let you know the last 4 posts were released by the moderator all at once, so mine was written before I ever had a chance to read yours. Seems the MODerator has been away for a few days and not clearing our blogs for take off fast enuff????? Then today on the best January Golf Day in Worc's istory he launches 4 blogs simultaneously :)

David I too was a bit puzzled by Bills comment that UMUN will be outta here when their lease runs out. If there was gun to my head I would have bet they would have re-upped on the lease after 15 years, but then again I am not in insurance bizz.

Anonymous John (as opposed to anonymous Jahn), with all due respect, choking on your Corn Flakes clearly shows you're excited, but i do thijnk your enthusiasm is mistaken. Massport forced these bidders to come to Worc by packaging a bid for Handscome with a bid for Worcester. Otherwise Worcester, the unwanted step child, would still left out in the cold.

Anonymous John, please try a newer cereal that you will never choke on called Prostitities. They dont snap, crackle and pop; they just bang. NO choking.

Bill Randell said...

I believe This move by UNUM is merely part of their exit strategy. Once they moved into their new digs, they will peddle off any real estate they own cutting any long term ties to the City of Worcester.

They amy end up keeping an office but it will get down sized every year and end up being the same size as the Telegram offices.

It makes no sense for UNUM to stay in Worcester with Portland and Chatanooga--sorry?

David Z. said...

Your optimism is overflowing Bill. :)

Jahn said...

Regarding the real estate UNUM will leave behind in the Chestnut/ Elm street area, here's to hoping they raze the entire site and give it to the city to be used only as a park.

Sorry I just cannot see any business(S) moving into that area given its distance from the CBD. That said, the only other option for the soon to be vacted UNUM site is ________________________________

(fill in the blank)

Although we have more parks than we need or can maintain, a park is hell of a lot cheaper than building more of you know what at that site. Or just fence it in with a nice looking fence, grass it over, cut it regularly and be done with it. Still much less expensive than you know what. I have suggested the same for the old Crompton KNowles site, too.

Back to CS for a minute. So far we have a hospital/medical building, UNUM offices, a weak(?) rumor about a hotel, a downsized 1/2 of parking garage for CS, and reverse commute commuter rail service is looking like it may not pan out to the extent of the original plans Dare I ask where the infrastructure is that will keep CS vibrant after the hours of 500pm to 700am?. College kids are fine, but i was always broke when I spent 11 semesters at Whoopppe J and Belmont University(BU). :)

Dare I also ask, given the downtoWN spin off from UNUM Medical city, and Phara Univ, right now, how can we reasoanably expect any significant increase in econ. spinoff by moving UMUN 1/4 mile east, building another medical building, and the college kids...WELL we already ahVE THEM IN THE AREA AND THEY ARE ALL BROKE

i GUESS THE ONLY ANSWER IS market rate, non subsidized, solidly middle class housing.............which was tried at Chandler and Main sts 23 years ago. which ende dup in foreclosure even w.hug egubmint subsidies.. Agreed that Main & Chanlder are diff environs than the soon to be built out CS..........but............i still remain very cautiously optimistic.

Bill Randell said...

Dave Z:

Okay. UNUM is going to rehab all their real estate on Chestnut Street, close down their Chattanooga and Potland operations and move everyone to Worcester.

Dave, 15 years from now UNUM will have a small satellite office at City Square and will have sold all their Chestnut Street real estate to Mass SChool of Pharmacy or become low income housing.

Who knows may the WBDc will buiy it just like they have done with the old Telegram building