November 13, 2017

MassDevelopment seeking builder for Worcester building

The state agency MassDevelopment is giving developers until Jan. 30 to pitch their plans for 526 Main St.

MassDevelopment, the state's development arm, is seeking developers for a largely unused building at 526 Main St. in downtown Worcester.

MassDevelopment announced in August that it bought the 27,000-square-foot building for $800,000. The two-story building was built in 1894, according to a report to MassDevelopment by CSS Architects Inc. of Wakefield.

The building houses The Muse Bar & Kitchen and The Money Stop, a pawn shop and check-cashing business. Much of the structure was listed in poor condition in a report by MassDevelopment.

The state agency bought the rundown building as part of its Transformative Development Initiative, or TDI, investment program. Worcester is one of 10 Massachusetts cities in the TDI program, with each city receiving help with redevelopment plans.

Developers have until Jan. 30 to submit proposals for the site to MassDevelopment. A developer will be responsible for upgrading the building, said Mike Mitchell, a vice president for planning and development at the agency.

MassDevelopment has estimated necessary structural repairs, such as facade, roof and fire protection work, at nearly $2.5 million.

A rendering of what MassDevelopment believes a renovated 526 Main St. could look like.

The Main Street site is one of several downtown buildings eyed for major redevelopment, mostly by the city through its new downtown revitalization plan.

A surface parking lot immediately across Chatham Street from 526 Main St. is eyed by the city as a potential site for a mixed-use building with first-floor retail and upper-floor commercial or office space. Next to that lot, the Denholm Building, which is largely vacant, is slated for commercial, retail and restaurant use.

Across Main Street, the Great Wall restaurant building at 521 Main St. and the adjoining MetroPCS building at 517 Main St. could both be bought by the city. The Worcester Development Authority voted in June to seek appraisals for the site as a first step toward what could be eminent domain use to take the properties for redevelopment.

A stretch of Main Street, including the part that runs by 529 Main St., is being overhauled with new paving, sidewalk and trees in an $11-million project.


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