May 15, 2008

Guest Post--David Zimage

I received an e-mail that was real good and thought it was worthy of a post, after getting the sender's permission. If anyone ever wants to have a guest post, just let me know.


I agree with some of the posters on your blog that you need to rethink the criteria for your business closed list. For example, you list Zoots on Grafton Street but that one is a direct result of the failings of the chain itself. Take a look at this link from today's -
Also, Kangaroo Crossing is still located at 180 Main Street. They closed their retail location but are transitioning to a web based business model. Their website is currently under construction -
Seeing your closed list does not seem to have a specific timeline involved, how about the following few that I can think of that have opened and/or made a commitment to Worcester:
1) St. Vincent Hospital's decision to build Med City instead of moving to a new location in Boylston (which was the original intent of the hospital trustees - Imagine what downtown would look like without their presence)
2) Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (I believe they now own the entire area between Commercial, Mechanic, Foster & Norwich Streets for future expansion)
3) The redevelopment of Lincoln Plaza and the stores that have a city presence because of it - think about it, would some of these tenants have locations in Worcester were it not for this project I.e. Target, Lowe's, Barnes & Noble, etc. (IMHO, no they wouldn't! They would have just surrounded the city with suburban locations)
4) Hilton Gardens on Major Taylor Blvd.
5) Fedex Kinko's on Front Street
6) Worcester Dental Group's move to larger quarters on Front Street
7) WCRN's commitment to stay in Worcester (soon to be moving to Franklin Street in one of the Mayo group buildings). Where's our other dominant media outlets, WTAG/WSRS located? That's right, Paxton.
8) Citadel Broadcasting Group Stations (WXLO - WWFX - WORC-FM) on Front Street. In case you forgot, WWFX & WORC-FM used to have their offices in Shrewsbury & Webster respectively)
9) For that matter, let's not forget the Mayo Group itself and their commitment/investment in our downtown core
10) WPI's joint venture with the WBDC for the Technology Center off of Grove Street

And on another note, Konnie Lukes in an article today in the T&G, actually voiced optimism on the future of City Square. This is very significant in my eyes because she has long been a very vocal critic of the project. In the article "Mayor gives Impromptu City Tour <> ", she is quoted as saying, "And the mayor, who far from a starry-eyed cheerleader for the city and who has been publicly skeptical over the years about the $565 million CitySquare project planned for the empty urban outlet mall between Washington Square and City Hall, also expressed some uncharacteristic optimism about CitySquare. As the bus drove by the mall's sprawling, clumsily designed parking garage - most of which is slated to be torn down - she declared: "That mall will not be here a year from now." "It appears to be in the works," Mrs. Lukes said of the long-delayed CitySquare undertaking."

I do agree that we have a long way to go in Worcester but I don't have quite as a bleak perspective as some of the friends who post regularly on your blog.

David Zimage


Bill Randell said...


You really make some good points and I am sorry that alot of my posts may come out as bleak. Let me say that the Mass School of Pharamacy is perhaps the most underrated great thing that has happened downtown, Working downtown for literally 20 years, however, I have seen the steady decline and it frustrates me.

There is always lots of rhetoric, but nothing is happening right now. True there is a new dental office, Kinkos and McFaddens for that matter on Front street but it simply is not enough.

The keys as you state are Mayo and Berkeley, who right now are just sitting on their investments and I do not believe have not one intention of doing anything until things change.

A key may be the new plan the the City Manager alluded to a few weeks back to spur downtown commercial development. Lets hope it is more of the Hanover Treatment.


John said...


Do you have any Idea what the occupany rate is for downtown?

Anonymous said...

I spoke with a Boston guy last week who recently negotiated some stuff with Mayo and the word from him was that the Mayo folks are not happy with what is happening in Woostah..2nd hand but this cat is a reliable cat and he brought the issue up with me....

Lots of this stuff happened in Lowell cause of Tsongas's influence..the glassy towers, ball parks...downtown Lowell is still a ghost town many days and the peeps have not followed as expected..

We still need peeps with jobs, educations and desires to be citizens to fill the glassy towers and ball neigborhood is like Iraq..we beat back the terrorists but we do not eliminate's like building a mansion on Sever Street in Roxbury..looks nice but who is gonna pay to live in it

I share your optimism lettah and many others have mucho horas and dinero invested in the urban hood...but we need a change in public policy in thisw city and quickly before it is to late..we can not keep on taking care of the multitude of free loaders in this city at the rate that we are..and expecting absolutely nothing back from them..I am curious as to where you you live in the urban core of the west side or like kind??

David Z. said...

I live on Elm Street near the intersection of West.

Bill Randell said...


I am not sure what the occupancy rate is but I can tell you this. Spaces like Chestnut or the towers (owned by Berkely) is high. I think Sovereign is not bad either. These are all good spaces (A) with parking.

The rest of the office space downtown I suspect has less occupancy rates.


Anonymous said...

Dave Said:

"I do agree that we have a long way to go in Worcester but I don't have quite as a bleak perspective as some of the FRIENDS who post regularly on your blog."

Where does this notion come from that we are all F.O.B.'s?

I am probably Bills "worst enemy" when it comes to the airport issue.......b/c I want it shut down yesterday....and I am also merely a blogger.......who sees Worc as a fiefdom for public sector employees and their elected officials who have bankrupted this city.....

Anyone who thinks you can build a city around new buildings is IMO mistaken. It has to built around people, and the demographics here are such that we dont have the threshold populations to support downtown business as well as other businesses

That said, we are probably not as bad as Lowell or a Lawrence or Springfield......but we have to stop the influx of the low income, dependent type demographic and that's not going to happen anytime soon.............given the low income housing that is both under constr and on the drawing board..........we have a huge cottage industry of non profit low income home buidlers who not only inundate us with low income housing......but they take our tax dollars to build this low income housing and and then they take the private landlords tenants

I suggest to all bloggers on here that low income housing is Worcs largest growth industry....and it is not conducive to a City on the Move......unless we're moving to push the middle class right out of here....and not only are we building low income housing but it's being built very densely and very intensively on small plots of land.such that the influx of new students to school system will soon bankrupt it........we'll have a site thats 2/3's of an acrce with 40+ households on it (and no parking) sending 50 - 60 kids into the school system.....the nimbers just dont work out given the per pupil cost to the city.

You deserve kudos, however for living on the periphery of the "inner city". Do you have school age children? If not, will you have them in teh future Do you rent? Where do you see yourself living in 5 or 10 years? Are you a student ?


Bill Randell said...


You are not my worst enemy... We disagree on the airport at times, but we at least argue about it as any business needs to when they are making decisions. Putting off decisions every 6 months and talking to only one potential buyer is not business.

Agree with you, and Paulie, is that it the people! and that the CDC's need to stop building. We are already well over the threshold established by the Commonwealth, so why are we still building more???

Dave, how close is the new "Almost Home" project to your residence?


Anonymous said...

Opinions please................should we raze the parking garage and leave a barren expanse of land ( hopefully landscaped?) in the central business district.......for which there will be no immdiate new constr...............just plans for future constr. at what is prob an unspecified future date?

The garage may not be the most aesthically pleasing structure........but does it beat looking a barren expanse of grass (i hope)..esp. given all teh new constr in the Union Station area?

Inquiring minds want to know what happens in 12,18, or 24 months if the inital 140,000 sq. ft pre leased component of the deal isnt met

David Z. said...

Jahn, when I said friends I meant "of this blog". My kids are no longer school age and do not live in the city. I love being a city dwellar but who knows where I will be in 5 - 10 years.

Bill, I can literally see the "Almost Home" residence from my apartment.

Anonymous said...

Do we have a new Bar/ nightclub going in at Kelly Sq in the old Mortgage Company/Colonial Paints building?

..... The Salty Dog I think it is.......or is that an up grade/ relocation of bar currently further down Millbury St??

Anonymous said...

5 more Worc. Catholic churches merged out of existence.....any chance all 5 could qualify as one line item for our here today.gone tomorrow "businesses"????........

prob doesnt qualify like an O'Coins or Friendlys closing???.............

but it may speak volumes about many diff social of them being the changing Worc demographics.........pajama people proabbly dont do church....and the working poor who do, cannot afford to toss a Lincoln in the basket every Sunday.

Bill, I think you will probably not call this one a down the middle strike......but it's def. nibbling at the edges of the greater issue here.

Anonymous said...

Agreed on all points except number 1, town NIMBYs kept the medical center in Worcester...