At Arrowstreet, many of our complex projects develop over a long period of time. Our work on CitySquare in Worcester, which is taking shape now with the development of a public garage, housing and hotel, began in 2004. As the master planner and architect for the 20-acre revitalization project, our involvement has continued through the latest phases with the design of the Unum office building and now as the garage and public park near completion.
The project was permitted by Arrowstreet for Berkeley Investments. They then sold a portion of the development to Worcester-based Hanover Insurance Group Inc., which was committed to jump start the development, despite being in the midst of a recession. The physical transformation of the area began with demolition of the 1970s superblock that was the Worcester Galleria to reconnect Main Street and Union Station. With strong support from the City of Worcester, Hanover convinced Unum to relocate their Massachusetts headquarters to CitySquare in 2009 and brought in Leggat McCall to oversee the development. Our original vision of repurposing portions of the outdated mall and over-scaled parking structures can now be seen as the project has developed.
Since the Unum building was completed in 2013, the rest of the development has been advancing around it. The East Garage, revitalization and expansion of Mechanic’s Plaza, and Saint Vincent’s Medical Center have also been completed. Most importantly, the complex road system that connects CitySquare with downtown and other popular areas, such as the restaurant corridor on Shrewsbury Street, is now functioning as envisioned. Work is being finalized on the 550-space underground parking garage near the center of the development. Things are moving forward in other areas as well; construction is expected to begin in February on a 150-room hotel, and an apartment complex is under development through Roseland Property Co.
On top of the underground parking and in the center of the project, Arrowstreet and CBA Landscape Architects have designed a park that we hope will draw people into downtown and activate the area with art installations and events. The lawn, though temporary as it waits for future development, is designed to provide CitySquare with a distinct identity. Conceived in a similar way to the Lawn on D in Boston, this multi-function, flexible public space will redefine CitySquare as the Innovation District in Downtown Worcester.
As the pieces of the master plan are completed, CitySquare is gaining more momentum to become the place we had envisioned. We expect to continue our efforts to develop the site further as it becomes an urban center for the surrounding civic, educational, commercial, and transportation resources in Worcester.