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February 3, 2022

Reduced proposal for The Cove project approved

Photo | Worcester Planning Board application New renderings of The Cove residential tower show a seven-story development, a significant reduction from the original 13-story plan.

The Worcester Planning Board has unanimously approved a revised definitive site plan for The Cove, a mixed-use development in the Polar Park ballpark tax district, cutting the planned project from 13 stories to seven.

The project, at the former site of Cove Music Hall on Green Street, was originally approved by the planning board in May 2021 as a 13-story, 300-unit housing project with 30,000 square feet of retail space. The revised plan is reduced to 173 market-rate units and 16,000 square feet of retail, which will still include the originally proposed bowling alley and flatbread pizza shop.

The planning board voted unanimously in favor of the new proposal Wednesday, saying The Cove still would achieve its original goal of activating the streets it would occupy. 

Planning board member Conor McCormack said the smaller project would be a better fit for the Canal District neighborhood, as the original plan would have been the tallest new building constructed in Worcester since 1990.

“As far as the site plan is concerned, which is really the focus of this board…it’s essentially the same project, just shorter,” said Chair Albert LaValley. “I’m very much in favor.”

The site is located within the District Improvement Financing zone for Polar Park. Revenue from new developments in this corridor go toward paying off the remaining costs of the ballpark construction.

Developer Churchill James, LLC, which is managed by Thomas Keane and Harry DiLeo, bought the development site from the city for $3 million in early December. The firm submitted the revised proposal to the planning board about two weeks after closing on the sale. 

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