September 08, 2010

City Square

I got to tell you--I am totally confused as to what has happened here?   Only half the garage is being torn down and now there is no new garage being built and there is no street being done..  Am I even right about that?  Bottom line is that all City Square seems to be right now is a new office building with one of the tenants being UNUM.  Other then that, there is nothing else--right?

Jahn, after you check out Mason-Winfield drive the Hadley-Odd Fellows (building next to old Mart) and say to yourself 30,000,000 dollars.   It is a complete mess.   What the hell happens to the Hadley now anyhow?  Are parking lots ever built for the tenants?  The IONIC boys club??  


Jahn said...

Hey who the hell needs zoning orc. required parking areas in Worc, except those building single family homes? Just ask General Patton how it works in Wormtown.

Speaking of low income builders, we have a 40b repeal question on the ballot this November. However, I am perplexed. Do I vote to outlaw 40b and the reuslt in Worc. will just be more zoning variances granted for those who want to build low income housing and out in the suburbs no more low income housing will be legally req'd to be built and even when it is legally req'd to be built (right now), the darn law is not enforced in the suburbs anyway?

No matter how a Worcesterite votes on this issue, Worcester taxpayers come out on short end of the contiuned growth of low income housing.

Also in the news yesterday CM Obrien convening yet another task force or commission or whatever they are calling it re: housing construction...a mere euphemism for nolo housing.

We had a huge study in 1988 by On Site Insight and another whose name I cant recall about 10 years ago but I know that you know the name Bill. Also numerous other studies by WMRB. CM MOB, I assume will use the results of teh current study to support his position of decreasing the constr of Low income housing which in turn decreases the growth in Mcgoverns voter base at which point McGovern will reduce the flow of Washington money for Worc's other needs.

If CM MOB doesnt have enough issues nipping at his heels he may well very soon have Barack Obrein and Havana Jim gnawing at him, too.

Bill Randell said...


You make a very good point on 40B. If it is repealed, it will be that much harder for no-lo hosuing developers to do projects in the towns like Paxton-Holden etc.

They will have to come to Worcester where the red carpet is laid out for them.


David Z. said...


Let me try to set you and Jahn straight on CitySquare. When the original agreement was made by the city and Berkeley, CM O’Brien placed certain restrictions in place to safeguard the city's share of funding (I.e. the taxpayers). Based on a new underground parking garage being built, the city would have used this as a source of income to pay back the DIF bonds.

If I remember correctly, the new underground garage was being built for the proposed condominiums and the general public to utilize that would be shopping the new retail destinations.

There were also leasing benchmarks that needed to be met in order to commence with the demolition of the former mall and to continue with subsequent phases. Now that the Hanover subsidiary is developing the area, the original requirements carry forward to protect the city interests. However, a decision has been made to change the footprint of the underground garage. Berkeley was going to have a Front Street “bridge” over the garage. The new developers don’t want to do that and are negotiating with Worcester to change the garage design so the new street grid will need no Front Street bridge.

Once this is finalized (hopefully by late Fall), a plan will be announced to build Front Street through to Washington Sq. as soon as possible.

So next Monday’s groundbreaking primarily focuses on the demolition of the former Mall, the build out of Mercantile Street to Front Street, and new headquarters for UNUM. After 6 years of false starts, I think it has been a remarkable turnaround for this project since Hanover bought into CitySquare on March 17th.

Hope to see everyone next Monday at 10 a.m. for the official groundbreaking on Foster Street across from St. Vincent Hospital !!!

Bill Randell said...


great explantion.

Mercantile Street is being built ou tin this phase?


David Z. said...

Yes. Mercantile Street is being built out in this phase.

Jahn said...

David who would own this garage, the city I assume and not the dev'er. My point was that rumor had it Berkley was balking re: using union constr labor so Murray stepped up to the plate and offered to build a gargae on the taxpayers dime with a wink, wink, nod, nod acquiesence that Berkley would use union labor.

So do we know what the deal is re parking for UNUM. My guess would be free/reduced rate parking for UNUM and how many spaces are left after UNUM's employees park their cars. Surely not too many of UNUM's employees will be riding the city buses to work, in spite of Joe Obreins wishes for a greener city (greener for the Amalgamted transit union members?)

Change the footrpint of the parking garage only...or also reduce its size? I will betcha my right arm I read somewhere recently (T&G) that the garage was going to be smaller, but darn I cant find it now????? If it is reduced in size, any chance that Eppinger sees a need for fewer parking spaces b/c there will be fewer or no housing units built as part of City Sq?

THis quote from Eppinger last summer also has me scratching my head:

"...As for the project's second phase, Mr. Eppinger said he wants to complete as much street work as possible, but realizes that the release of public money for street work will depend on further lease commitments.

"There is no next step," he said, noting that Leggatt McCall Properties, as Hanover's developer, will determine when the markets for commercial or residential space are ready for more development....."

IN the 2nd phase he wants to complete as much street work CONTINGENT on Gub'mint money. For you SJ dudes contingent means depending on the availablity of free money. But realease of the public money requires add'l lease commitments. has this cahnged? Boy I sure hope the city has hired a couple of outside guns to review these agreemnts every step of the way.

David, please be sure you drink as much of the Kool Aid is Possible at the GB'ing day ceremony. If I can find a pair of purple Nikes I'll drop em by Bills office for you to wear that day. :) I drank the kool aid 1967, 1994, & the 1990's and look what it did for me. It destroyed all my Downtown Worcester optimistic brains cells. Worse than the Strawberry Boones farm from a younger day. Beware the demon rum that results in rose colored glasses. It will come back to bite ya in ass and the pocketbook in Worcester

David Z. said...


RE: 1967, 1994, & the 1990's.

I think we can all agree that the street grid that was destroyed for a suburban mall in an urban area is what "killed" downtown Worcester. And I would add, even though it destroyed the fabric of downtown Worcester, the Worcester Center Galleria (at least for a while) actually kept big suburban malls from springing up around the city a lot longer than other urban centers in New England. Otherwise some of the department stores would have left downtown a lot sooner than they ultimately did.

Now in 2010 we are reestablishing downtown Worcester as a true urban center to correct the original mistake in 1967 when the Galleria was first conceived.

BTW, my optimism will never die. I will always be a glass half-full kinda guy!

Jahn said...

Hey David, Bill has always been a glass empty kinda guy when he tries to collect on his wagers with some folks :). David my optimism has always been 1/2 of a 'Gansett GIQ kinda full. That would be 16 oz. for you public school dudes and you city councilors who stop by this blog.

David said:

"the Worcester Center Galleria (at least for a while) actually kept big suburban malls from springing up around the city "

David, Worc center opened in 1969 or 1970 and at that time Auburn Mall was already under construction. I-290's completion by Bayer & Mingolla Constr (1969?) from College Sq to Rte 20 in Auburn coincided very nicely with the opening of the Auburn Mall.

David so once we get the street grid back with the razing of the Garage and build out of City Sq. then downtown will flourish again? Surely you jest? I gotta carve those words into stone :)

Gotta run. Bloggers Anonymous meeting tonight at 7:00pm. Lotsa free pastry. :) David you have a nice evening.