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February 29, 2016 Briefing

Millions in development underway in downtown Worcester

Sam Bonacci Construction has begun at the site of a long-term stay hotel on Washington Square.

Demolition has begun at the site of the extended stay hotel in Washington Square, but it isn't the only project underway, with several projects tied to downtown redevelopment breaking ground or opening.

Washington Square

The Homewood Suites Hotel by Hilton being constructed by First Bristol Corp. will be located on the rotary near historic Union Station. Demolition of two parcels that housed the former locations of KJ Barron's, Gabriel Racing and the Gun Parlor commenced this month. Weather permitting, construction on the foundation of the building could begin in March.

The completed hotel will stretch up six stories and contain approximately 120 long-term stay rooms. Parking will consist of 115 spaces. The hotel is expected to employ 35 full and part-time workers and will generate more than $350,000 in property taxes and local hotel tax revenues.

“This project is going to revitalize an underused parcel,” said City Manager Edward Augustus. “With a nearly 80 percent occupancy rate ... Worcester has a great demand for new hotels.”

More hotels?

Another hotel slated to come online in the next 18 months is the AC Hotel by Marriott, set to break ground in June, said Michael Traynor, the city's chief development officer. The high-end, 120,000-square-foot, 168-room hotel will bring the European luxury experience at a $30 to $50 premium over the current $150 to $199 high-end Worcester market. The hotel includes a 250-seat restaurant.

The Hampton Inn at Gateway Park will have an opening in late March, said Traynor. Construction of the 100-room hotel was delayed due to an unexpected electrical line running through the site.

The rest of City Square

The underground Worcester Common Garage that will serve as the foundation underneath the AC Hotel will open in March with 340 of the final 550 spots.

The 145 Front @ City Square 237-unit apartment complex located nearby is the first phase of a residential development that will include 128 residential units and a parking garage. Construction began in November on the first phase of the development from developer Roseland. The final project is expected to include two four- and five-story residential buildings with a total of 365 units, 402 parking spaces and approximately 11,200 square feet of street-level retail.

City infrastructure work will tie these projects together. Streetscaping is complete at Federal and Salem streets and will continue on Portland Street. In 2017, a $7.5-million streetscape project will stretch along Main Street from the Federal Court to Worcester District Court. It will cut in half the number of travel lanes, adding a turning lane in the median and bicycle paths on the sides.

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