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Extensive Makeover Announced For Downtown Apartment Complex


A New York City-based developer unveiled plans today for a major renovation to an apartment complex in downtown Springfield.  The project was hailed by city officials as another big step in downtown’s  revitalization.

Officials with the SilverBrick group outlined plans for what they said would be a $6 million renovation of the 280-unit complex that fronts Main Street.  The extensive makeover will include luxury amenities intended to persuade people to pay market-rate rents to live in the urban center.

Mayor Domenic Sarno hailed the investment, which is on top of $9 million SilverBrick paid to purchase the former Morgan Square Apartments, as a sign business is bullish on Springfield.

"We are open for business and we will work with you to do a fair deal to benefit the development company and the city of Springfield."

The renovations, which have already begun, call for each of the townhouses, one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments to be gutted. New kitchens and bathrooms will be installed and wood plank floors will replace carpet.  There will be new LED lighting, improvements to the elevators, and enhancements to the safety and security systems.   Common areas, inside and outside, will be upgraded.

The buildings are about 65 percent occupied. Existing tenants will have an opportunity to move back in once the renovations are finished, but may have to pay rents up to $120 more a month, according to Erik Dowling, one of the developers.

"We trying to go toward a more market-rate, luxury housing. We are not going to compete with the affordable housing complexes in the area."

Dowling said the Springfield project epitomizes the company’s business plan to turn around underperforming or mismanaged properties. He said they have one other project in New England – in East Hartford, Conn. – and several in New Jersey.

Dowling said over the last several years Springfield has improved its economy, infrastructure and overall quality of life.

"And we see that trajectory continuing for the foreseeable future. We hope to participate in and benefit from that growth we see for Springfield."

The city, through the Springfield Parking Authority, will lease 200 spaces in an adjacent parking garage to SilverBrick to be used by the tenants.

SilverBrick plans to have five models available to show prospective tenants by mid-October and 15 renovated units ready for occupancy by mid-November.  The entire project will take up to 18 months to finish.

The complex is located just a block from Union Station, which is undergoing a $65 million renovation.

Paul Tuthill is WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief. He’s been covering news, everything from politics and government corruption to natural disasters and the arts, in western Massachusetts since 2007. Before joining WAMC, Paul was a reporter and anchor at WRKO in Boston. He was news director for more than a decade at WTAG in Worcester. Paul has won more than two dozen Associated Press Broadcast Awards. He won an Edward R. Murrow award for reporting on veterans’ healthcare for WAMC in 2011. Born and raised in western New York, Paul did his first radio reporting while he was a student at the University of Rochester.
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