December 11, 2017
CENTRAL MASS IN BRIEF

Cliff Rucker expands Worcester holdings

PHOTO/ZACHARY COMEAU
In addition to its restaurants and offices, the 285 Main St. block includes parking spaces behind the building.
Cliff Rucker

Worcester Railers Owner Cliff Rucker has become a major part of the city's economic and cultural remaking, investing heavily in a busy strip of Downtown Worcester.

On Dec. 1, Rucker purchased the Main Street block housing popular restaurant deadhorse hill for $2.65 million. In addition to deadhorse hill, the building includes the restaurant Rice Violet, the salon Friendly Nails, and law and commercial offices on the upper floors.

The purchase is just the latest in a series of moves by the businessman, who came to Worcester to start a hockey team and has been buying up properties ever since, with investments in the neighborhood of $25 million.

A key growth figure

Rucker is owner of Beverly equipment leasing firm NFS Leasing and former CEO of technology firm NEXL. Rucker is the principal owner of Porzio Properties, a national real estate investment firm, and Fulcrum FXT, a global asset management company, according to his bio on the Railers' website.

Even though he made his initial investment in the city with the Railers just in 2015, Rucker has been a key figure in the city's revitalization because he understands Worcester's potential, said Timothy Murray, CEO of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce.

"The confidence in the trajectory of the city is underscored by his continued investment," Murray said. "From a development point of view, it presents some unique and exciting opportunities in that he now has control and ownership of the full block."

Rucker now owns a large strip of buildings on Main Street, including the Worcester Palladium and 311 Main St. housing law firm Bowditch & Dewey.

Rucker declined to be interviewed for this story. Railers spokesman Tom Matthews said since the team started playing, Rucker wants a more hands-off role and just be a fan of his team.

Rucker's Worcester investments

In 2016, Rucker purchased the Bowditch & Dewey building for $2.8 million. That deal included an eight-year lease by the firm.

In June, Rucker bought a 25-percent stake in the 3,000-seat Worcester Palladium, with an option to buy the remaining 75 percent over the next two years. Financial terms of that deal were not disclosed.

He built the $18-million, 110,000-square-foot Fidelity Bank Worcester Ice Center, the practice facility for the Railers.

The rink will be the home to local schools and colleges, including Worcester State University, Becker College and Worcester Academy.

He renovated a former bar at 90 Commercial St, into a Railers-themed bar that opened in October after buying the property last June for $500,000.

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