September 11, 2017

40u40: Beating the heat at the coolest place in Worcester

40 under Forty winners Andrew Palumbo, Courtney Ross Escobar, Meghan Montaner and Patrick DiGregorio

This is the 10th in a series of 11 stories describing the photos behind this year's 40 Under Forty awards,where rather than shooting all the images in one location, WBJ took the winners to 11 properties around Worcester, showcasing the new developments of a city on the rise. Check out the parts: Burns Bridge, public murals, deadhorse hill, The Edge at Union Station, Fidelity Bank Worcester Ice Center, The Grid District, Wormtown Brewery, Crompton Collective, Mercantile Center.

Even the team behind Creative Hub Worcester -- Laura Marotta and Stacy Lord -- would have to admit their building is a bit of dump right now.

The former Boys Club on Ionic Avenue has suffered from years of disuse, with pooling water, building debris and a running track you can't walk on, for fear of falling through the floor.

Erika Sidor

Yet, when you understand their vision for creating a space for artists to have studios and performance areas -- and look at a structure that still has great bones and standout features like a boxing room, a rooftop events space and an indoor basement pool -- you see the potential for a really incredible place tying together Worcester's history with the emerging creative economy.

It is my favorite building and project in Worcester.

Not surprisingly, even at its infancy, Creative Hub Worcester has already been a favorite for fashion and news photo shoots since Lord and Marotta bought it last year, even being scouted as a potential location for a superhero movie.

Our challenge was capturing the energy behind the project with the 40u40 winners (Andrew Palumbo, Courtney Ross Escobar, Meghan Montaner and Patrick DiGregorio), all while standing out compared to the other photo shoots. This is not to mention the building is poorly ventilated and the hot July air was pouring in, stifling our photo shoot.

Luckily, the winners were willing go up and down the three floors of the hub, jumping over puddles and dead birds to showcase the building in all its glory. We ended up using the photo from the boxing room in the publication because the winners were reflected nicely in a pool of standing water.

Erika Sidor

The 11 photo shoots for the 40 Under Forty were meant to highlight development representing the type of community Worcester is becoming. Of the locations, only three were still under construction: Mercantile Center, Fidelity Bank Worcester Ice Center and Creative Hub Worcester. Of those, Creative Hub still has the longest way to go, but it has the most potential to show off Worcester's history and ingenuity. The 40u40 photos ended up reflecting that.

Brad Kane, editor

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