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June 12, 2023

WinnDevelopment plans to buy, redevelop downtown Worcester’s Slater Building

Photo | Timothy Doyle WinnCompanies plans to redevelop the Slater Building (center) into apartments and 30,000 square feet of commercial space.

Boston development firm WinnDevelopment has entered an agreement to purchase 390 Main St. in Worcester in order to create a mixed-use, mixed-income development. 

WinnDevelopment, a subsidiary of WinnCompanies will purchase the property from Berkshire Bank after a period of due diligence, said Paul Kelly, regional president of Berkshire Bank, and Michael O’Brien, executive vice president of WinnCompanies, via a video conference on Friday with WBJ. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The details of the development will be determined in terms of the number of units, the mixture of affordable, and market-rate apartments. O’Brien anticipates 30,000 square feet of commercial space, including space Berkshire Bank will continue to occupy.

“Berkshire Bank is committed to Worcester,” said Kelly. “Worcester is our largest market.” Berkshire bank has 15 branches in Central Massachusetts, according to Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. data, employing 160 people according to Kelly.

Over the next year WinnDevelopment, will be talking with the building’s tenants, downtown stakeholders, and the City of Worcester government to determine the right plan for the development.

While converting an office building to apartments is not always easy, O’Brien said the building is in good condition and well cared for by Berkshire Bank. The U-shape of the building is an advantageous layout, eliminating the need to remove part of the building to allow for apartment windows.

WinnDevelopment will use historic tax credits to preserve the building and will be looking at what environmentally-friendly measures it can employ in the redevelopment, O’Brien said.

There is no solid time table for the project, but O’Brien hopes to have the project permitted by fall 2024. The planned purchase price was not disclosed.

The project will reflect the community’s mix of incomes and will provide a mix of uses to bring vitality to downtown, he said.

“WinnCompanies has been bullish on Worcester going back to 1971 with Coes Pond Village,” said O’Brien, a former Worcester city manager. The development was one of the company’s founder, Arthur Winn, first projects with WinnCompanies. The company has invested $20 million in upgrades at that development.

WinnDevelopment is redeveloping the former Boys Club in Lincoln Square into senior-living apartments and developed the Canal Lofts Apartments at 48 Water St. in Worcester.

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Stephen Quist
June 13, 2023

Winn Development has some very unique projects in the pipeline and that bodes well for our city and entire region.
Mike O'Brien has shown steadfast leadership and vision creating projects and turning them into reality from his time as City Manager to his current position at WD and that bodes well for all involved across the city and beyond.

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