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January 18, 2023

Three developments propose 416 apartments, grocery store for downtown Worcester

Image | Worcester Planning Board - Rendering by LYFArchitects of Andover Proposed development at City Square, Worcester
Image | Worcester Planning Board - Rendering by LYFArchitects of Andover Proposed development at 5 Salem Square, Worcester
Image | Worcester Planning Board - Rendering by context, LLC of Boston Proposed development at 35 Portland St. in Worcester.

Downtown Worcester could be transformed with hundreds of units of additional housing, a grocery store, more restaurants, and electric vehicle charging stations, as three developments proposed for the neighborhood – including at the site of the demolished Notre Dame des Canadiens Church – are heading to the Planning Board on Feb. 1.

Combined, the three mixed-use proposals from two separate developers will bring 416 apartments and retail to downtown Worcester, according to a Planning Board legal notice posted on Tuesday. The locations of the properties include the former site of Notre Dame des Canadiens Church, an open space at CitySquare, and a parking lot on Portland Street.

Of the 416 units, zero are proposed to be designated as affordable. The proposals will be presented before the Worcester Planning Board prior to the City Council’s final vote on an inclusionary zoning proposal, which would require developers to set aside a certain number of apartments for affordable housing.

5 Salem Square

Foresight Capital of Rhode Island has proposed a 163-unit mixed-use building at the former site of Notre Dame des Canadiens Church in Worcester at 5 Salem Square in Worcester.

The 259,536-square-foot building will include 28,000 square feet of commercial space the preliminary site plan application says will be used for restaurant and grocery story space.

The site will offer 107 parking spaces, 14 accessible units, and zero units designated as affordable.

Following an outcry from community members advocating for the church built in 1929 to be preserved, Notre Dame was demolished in 2018 after being closed by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester in 2008.

3 Eaton Place (CitySquare)

A couple blocks away from the Notre Dame site, Foresight Capital is proposing a seven-story, 145-unit mixed-use building at 3 Eaton Place, a currently open space surrounded by the Mercantile Center, the AC Hotel by Marriott Worcester, and Saint Vincent Cancer and Wellness Center.

That development will include 12 accessible units and zero units designated as affordable, according to the preliminary site plan submitted to the City of Worcester. There is 19,000 square feet of commercial space designated for restaurant and grocery store use.

Both Foresight developments are being represented by Joseph Peznola of Danvers engineering firm Hancock Associates.

35 Portland St.

Portland Salem Realty, LLC, an affiliate of Boston’s MG2 Group, has proposed a six-story, mixed-use building offering 108 units and 3,054 square feet of commercial, lobby, and amenity space on the first floor, at 35 Portland St. in downtown Worcester.

The property at the corner of Portland Street and Myrtle Street, across from the Printers Building is being used as a private parking lot.

The new structure will offer 62 off-street parking spaces, according to the application submitted to the City by Joshua Lee Smith, a partner at Worcester law firm Bowditch & Dewey. According to the filing, the property is in a downtown overlay district, which frees it from parking minimums.

Similar to the new development at 102 Temple St., the former Fairway Beef site, proposed by AKROS Development also represented by Smith, the site is being billed as transit-oriented and will feature an indoor stacking system for parking, a bike storage room, and electric vehicle charging stations.

MG2 has redeveloped the neighborhood south of the Worcester Common by developing apartments, restaurants, and retail spaces in an area it has branded The Grid.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly said Foursight Capital of Utah was proposing the Notre Dame and 3 Eaton Place developments, through a Rhode Island affiliate. The correction information is Foresight Capital of Rhode Island, which is unrelated to the Utah firm, has proposed those projects.

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