GOVERNOR PATRICK, LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR MURRAY CELEBRATE CITYSQUARE GROUNDBREAKING
Administration joins Congressman McGovern, City officials, The Hanover Insurance Group, and Unum to highlight public-private partnership for Worcester's downtown project that will create hundreds of jobs and spur long-term development opportunities
(Photo credit: Matt Bennett/Governor's Office). View additional photos.
WORCESTER - Monday, September 13, 2010 - As part of the Patrick-Murray Administration's continuing efforts to promote job growth and long-term economic recovery, Governor Deval Patrick and Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray joined federal and local officials today for the groundbreaking of the CitySquare development in Worcester. The project will create 300 construction jobs, 50 permanent full-time jobs and long-term economic development opportunities in the state's second largest city.
"This is what it's all about - putting shovels in the ground and people to work right now," said Governor Patrick. "The CitySquare project will create construction jobs and long-term jobs, strengthen Worcester's local economy, and continue to drive the Commonwealth's recovery forward."
"Today's groundbreaking ceremony marks the accomplishment of a major milestone for an extremely complex project that will revitalize Worcester's downtown district," said Lieutenant Governor Murray. "Our Administration is very grateful for the partnership with The Hanover Insurance Group, Unum, Congressman McGovern, the state legislature, and city officials. By working together, we are not only sharing a vision and commitment to the city, but also providing the right resources to support critical redevelopment that will deliver many new opportunities for Worcester and the region."
Today's ceremony included the project's public and private partners, including Congressman James McGovern, Worcester City Manager Michael O'Brien, President and Chief Executive Officer Fred Eppinger of The Hanover Insurance Group, President and CEO Kevin McCarthy of Unum US, and local officials, and kicked off the work that will ultimately lead to a mixed-used development project within the city's Growth District.
The Patrick-Murray Administration has allocated $11.25 million in Growth District grant funds to support public infrastructure needs for the project. The CitySquare project will include anchor tenant Unum Group, who will lease a 214,000-square-foot building built by the developer. The anticipated cost for the first phase of this project is over $100 million. As part of this project, The Hanover expects to invest approximately $70 million, which will finance the construction of the Unum building and the redevelopment of an adjacent parking garage.
First envisioned by Lieutenant Governor Murray when he was mayor of Worcester, CitySquare will replace a failed urban-renewal era mall that bulldozed 21 acres in downtown Worcester. CitySquare will begin the process of recreating pedestrian friendly streetscapes, creating a vibrant new mixed-used district with housing, retail and varied commercial uses, all within walking distance of the inter-modal transit hub at Worcester's Union Station.
"Today has been a long time coming but now that it has arrived, this groundbreaking for CitySquare is a watershed moment in Worcester's history," said Congressman James McGovern. "I am personally so very proud that the federal government is a partner in this ambitious economic development project which will transform the core of our great City. The Patrick-Murray Administration, the City of Worcester and Hanover Insurance and Unum in particular deserve a tremendous amount of credit for finally making this vision a reality."
"I am extremely grateful for the private/public partnership that has brought us to this important time in our city's history, and in particular, for the leadership of Fred Eppinger and The Hanover Insurance Group. It is an incredible sign of confidence in our community," said Worcester City Manager Michael O'Brien. "CitySquare will prove to be a catalyst for future investments in the heart of our downtown, but it is the sum of the parts that will fuel and define our economic vitality and progress."
The Hanover Insurance Group said the company's decision to invest in the project reflects its confidence in the city's leadership and in its future. "We are very pleased and proud to be involved in this important project," said Fred Eppinger. "We view this as a win-win for our company and for our city. CitySquare is a good investment for us. We know the city, its plans and its vision, and we have unique insight into this market."
"This may very well be the biggest economic boost that the city has seen in years and it couldn't have come at a better time. I applaud all who participated in making this happen," said Representative John J. Binienda.
"CitySquare will mean temporary and permanent jobs for the people of Worcester, and is a great example of our state working with the private sector to help grow the economy. I am grateful to the Patrick-Murray Administration for supporting this project and am glad to see it getting underway," said Representative Vincent Pedone.
CitySquare's first phase is expected to be completed by early fall 2012. This work will include demolition of the Worcester Common Outlets Mall, the construction of Unum's new office building, demolition of a portion of the existing parking garage, development of new public streets, streetscape, and other site work. The redeveloped garage will accommodate approximately 860 vehicles and be used by Unum and its employees. The first phase of this development will also include the creation of a public roadway and other infrastructure work that will support future growth and development in and around the site.
This project is one of more than 50 housing and economic development projects, both renovation and new construction, expected to break ground this year, totaling more than $1 billion dollars in development investments in the Commonwealth. Each of these projects has been initiated by an investment from the Patrick-Murray Administration. Together, they will create thousands of jobs throughout Massachusetts.
The investment in CitySquare is just one example of the Administration's multi-pronged strategy for growth through supporting small businesses; regional economic development; and strategic investments in education, infrastructure, and innovation.
Key to supporting this strategy is partnership with local communities and the private sector that fosters residential and commercial growth, and the successful leveraging of a number of state resources that spur that growth including:
• The Growth Districts Initiative - by working with communities to plan ahead for new growth and development that is consistent with their long-term community vision, regional needs and with the Commonwealth's sustainable development principles, the Administration is creating an entire network of places around the state where new growth is being welcomed and encouraged.
• The Chapter 43D Expedited Permitting - by working with communities to support prompt and predictable permitting for development that is consistent with community plans, dozens of communities have made a commitment to issue permits for commercial development in six months or less in order to helps facilitate targeted economic development that is consistent with their long-term plans.
• The Massachusetts Opportunity Relocation and Expansion (MORE) Jobs Capital program - by targeting public infrastructure investments and improvements needed to support private development activity and business expansion, cities and towns get the tools they need to spur economic development, job retention, and expansion.
• The newly reformed Economic Development Incentive Program (EDIP) - by partnering with companies and municipalities focused on job creation, manufacturing job retention, and private investment, the Administration is working to stimulate business growth throughout the Commonwealth.
• Through a wide array of state and federal programs administered by the state Department of Housing and Community Development, the Commonwealth can provide direct financial assistance, where appropriate, to residential and commercial development projects through low-cost financing, tax credits, and other forms of financial support.
Learn more about how the Patrick-Murray Administration's agenda has led Massachusetts out of a global recession faster and stronger than the rest of the nation at www.ma.gov/governor/agenda.