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Last Of Retail Leases Signed For Space In Springfield's Union Station


   A new tenant was announced today for the newest transportation hub in western Massachusetts that is about a month away from opening to the public.

   A restaurant named the “The Whistle Stop” will occupy 1,107 square feet of space in the main concourse of Union Station in Springfield. The lease for the last retail space available on the ground floor also surpasses $1 million in projected operating revenue for the intermodal transportation center.

   Union Station is reopening in late June after a $95 million restoration.

   "They did a wonderful job on the renovation, a first class job. Its a first class transportation hub," said  Carla Bonavita, a veteran of the food and beverage industry in western Massachusetts. He said his grandfather came from Italy and settled in Springfield and that history is what inspired him to open a restaurant in Union Station.

   His new eatery will feature local craft beers and wines and light Italian fare.

   "They can eat in or take it with them," explained Bonavita. " If they've got an hour to kill and they want to sit and have a glass of wine and something to eat they are welcome to do that, or if they want to take a slice of pizza to go they can."

   Springfield Chief Development Officer Kevin Kennedy called the plans for the new restaurant a “great fit” for the Union Station project.

  The available retail space in the main concourse is now all spoken for with leases signed for a Dunkin Donuts, a Subway restaurant, a convenience store, and car rental office.  Transportation leases have been signed with Amtrak, Pioneer Valley Transit Authority, Peter Pan Bus Lines, and Greyhound.

  Kennedy said he’s pleased about the occupancy level with the opening of Union Station still a month away.

" It is good news for the economics of this building," said Kennedy.

  The Springfield Redevelopment Authority continues to aggressively market the commercial space that is for rent on the upper floors of the building.  So far, one tenant has leased 8,200 square feet of the 64,000-square feet of available space.  SRA Director Christopher Moskal said he’s optimistic the rest of the space will be rented.

   " Everyone is excited by what they see, they love the historic restoration and want to be part of it," said Moskal.

   Revenue from the leases is used to pay for the operations of the building, but Moskal said it won’t cover all the costs in the first 2-3 years.

   The number of passengers using the station is expected to spike to 15,000 a day when additional train service from Connecticut begins in 2018.




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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