Mayor Domenic J. Sarno, Chief Development Officer (CDO) Tim Sheehan, Peter Picknelly and development officials announced today visionary plans for the continued development of the north riverfront property area that could potentially include a new residential facility, a marina with boat access to the Connecticut River, and a possible site for a new state-of-the-art state courthouse.
The north riverfront area encompasses over 14 acres of developable waterfront land. The projects, if approved, would increase and continue to enhance access and enjoyment along the riverfront area that also encompasses Riverfront Park which currently contains many amenities such as a playground area, passive recreation, and the September 11th Memorial monument.
A potential residential housing facility could be developed along the riverfront along with a covered residential parking area. The potential development of a marina and supporting buildings could offer slips for boats to dock. The north riverfront area could also potentially serve as the home for a new state-of-the-art courthouse facility to replace the current troubled state courthouse building on State Street.
Mayor Sarno states, “This visionary and potentially all-encompassing project continues my administration’s commitment of dreaming big on local economic development projects, big and small. The potential for all three new developments would not only continue to spur our riverfront development but would create additional housing for our residents, create tax and parking revenue, and create more of that good four letter word – JOBS, both construction and permanent! Additionally, working with my dedicated city team led by CDO Tim Sheehan, the Baker-Politio Administration and the state DCAM, we could potentially address a major need for the Commonwealth by offering prime waterfront real estate to develop a new state-of-the-art courthouse facility that would also enhance our local riverfront development efforts. In addition, relocating and building a brand new court facility would make the old courthouse building a very attractive economic development site with potential tax revenue possibilities through a private developer and/or possibly part of a potential MGM Springfield footprint expansion.”
Chief Development Officer Timothy Sheehan explained, “The Connecticut River is New England’s flagship natural resource and is one of only 14 designated American Heritage Rivers in the nation. The river was fundamental to the foundation of Springfield as a city and remains the most scenic vista from which to view it today. The City’s stewardship of development along the riverfront remains focused on expanding its recreational, commercial and residential land uses and encourages architectural engagement with the river’s natural beauty and the furtherance of its public activation. The proposed development concept plan responds well to these objectives.”
Peter Picknelly stated, “We are very excited to offer this site for consideration as a possible location for a new state of the art courthouse which would provide a healthy and safe environment for all court personnel and the public. Our intention would be to build this facility and lease it to the Commonwealth. It would serve as another great public/private partnership project. In addition, our vision for this development would include apartments/condominiums, a marina, retail and restaurants which would create an exciting riverfront destination. We believe that this development could spur additional riverfront development and contribute significantly to the economic health of our city.”
The potential projects are estimated to take three to four years to complete with total construction costs estimated at $475 million. Courthouse design and construction costs are estimated at $250-300 million. The residential and marina construction and design costs are together estimated at $150-175 million. Over the course of the projects there will be well over 1 million hours of work created for tradespeople downtown. If the projects are built concurrently, the construction workforce during peak construction is estimated at 300-400 people per day working on the projects.
“My administration is open to working with the state to see if this would be a good economic development opportunity for our trial court system and their employees. We have the land area and a potential developer ready to work with the city and the state to continue to move our Springfield and the Commonwealth forward. Everything being equal and following all local and state bidding and procurement requirements, this would be a tremendous local development opportunity for our local contractors,” Mayor Sarno added.
Plans for the courthouse design include a four-story 210-260 square foot building, a 710-car parking garage, and a rivers edge lookout and platform. The proposed residential housing plans include an eleven-story building with 120-180 one and two bedroom apartments and a 160-car covered parking area. The marina is estimated to include 50 slips.
“This landmark and visionary development project has the potential to provide excellent spin off effects for our local businesses and our Union Station transportation hub for years to come,” said Mayor Sarno. “From day one, my administration has been committed and dedicated to saying ‘why not Springfield’ and making one project after another, that the ‘naysayers’ said couldn’t be done, happen. From Union Station, the 31 Elm Street project, MGM Springfield, the numerous new residential housing projects, brand new state-of-the-art schools (Brightwood-Lincoln and DeBerry-Swan), numerous neighborhood and community development initiatives for residents and business community, and now the untapped potential of continuing to develop the area north of our Riverfront Park area. The possibilities are endless and these three projects: additional housing, recreational aspects for the Connecticut River with the marina, and the building of the new state-of-the-art courthouse facility are all possible and open for discussions. I am looking forward to continuing our discussions with the developers, the city development team, and our state counterparts, and of course this area’s neighborhood council, the New North Citizens Council.”