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Tax Breaks Sought For Economic Development Projects

Springfield City Hall at night
Paul Tuthill
Springfield City Councilors will be asked to approve real estate tax breaks for housing and commercial developments when the regular meeting schedule resumes after Labor Day.

Springfield City Councilors briefed on proposals

When City Councilors in Springfield, Massachusetts resume regular meetings after the summer recess they’ll be asked to approve tax incentives for several projects. These are a mix of residential and commercial developments.

A developer plans to restore and redevelopment six Gothic-style row houses and an 11-unit apartment building on Maple Street in the Maple High-Six Corners neighborhood into market-rate apartments.

Roger Roberge of RR and Company Realty said a partial exemption on the local real estate taxes along with state and federal historic tax credits are part of the financing for the $6.5 million project.

“ If you look across the nation, these Gothic-style architecture row houses have been in dwindling supply, they’ve been deteriorating, they’re hard to maintain, and its such a part of Springfield’s history, I would had to see it go,” Roberge said.

He told a recent meeting of the City Council’s Economic Development Committee that preserving and redeveloping the historic buildings will benefit the entire city given its high profile location.

“It really is a gateway into the downtown on a major commuter route,” Roberge said. He said the buildings are currently an “eyesore.”

Brian Connors, Springfield’s Deputy Director of Economic Development, said the city and the developer are consulting with members of the Maple High-Six Corners Neighborhood Council to address their concerns about the fate of the blighted properties.

“It is an important project for the neighborhood to see some progress,” Connors said. “A project like this has little chance without an incentive of moving forward.”

The city administration will also ask the City Council to approve a tax incentive to finance a $3.7 million project to convert the vacant upper floors of the building at 1341 Main Street into 18 market-rate apartments.

“It would really be a signal for downtown housing right on Main Street to convert this property,” Connors said.

A company that makes prefabricated ducts for heating and cooling systems is planning to relocate to Springfield from East Longmeadow and will ask the City Council for a 5-year partial tax abatement to help finance a $1.5 million renovation of a commercial building on Page Blvd. in East Springfield.

Greg Merchant, the president of Duc-Pac Corporation, said the company plans to relocate its operations to Springfield in May 2022.

“In recent years, it just became obvious that for us to keep up with the growth of our distributors we were going to need new space,” Merchant said. “This building on Page Blvd. is just the right size for us. It is going to leave a little extra room for growth and I think we are going to grow into it pretty swiftly once we get set up there.”

He said the move will bring 43 jobs to Springfield.

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.