Developers buy up empty Worcester Canal District lots from Wyman-Gordon for $1.035 million near Polar Park
Three developers in Worcester’s Canal District have purchased lots from Wyman-Gordon, the company which earlier this year officially sold land for the Polar Park stadium and surrounding development.
Canal District Parking LLC, comprised of Crompton Place owner Dino Lorusso, Canal District developer Ed Murphy and Worcester Public Market owner Allen Fletcher, purchased lots at 9 Landgon St. and 156 Washington St. from Wyman-Gordon for $1.035 million, according to Murphy and land records.
The Canal District, including an expansive swath of abandoned Wyman-Gordon lots, have been the subject of major redevelopment plans in the last year as the Triple-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox announced the team would be moving from Pawtucket, Rhode Island, to Worcester.
Earlier this summer, the developers started a shuttle service and to maintain parking for employees and customers of local businesses as construction on the baseball stadium begins, eating up a large parking lot.
The lot will be under construction for the forthcoming Worcester Red Sox ballpark.
Murphy said the group wanted the lots to secure parking in the neighborhood and does not have any immediate plans to use the land otherwise.
The 156 Washington St. lot has been used for parking since last month.
“As soon it was announced where the baseball team was going, Dino obviously was losing parking so the search at that point started for additional parking,” Murphy said.
Having Canal District employees park in those lots will free up street spots for people visiting the neighborhood to shop and eat, Murphy said.
The $240 million project including Polar Park and its surrounding development has put eyes on real estate in Worcester, especially the Canal District.
Earlier this year, Wyman-Gordon sold 18 acres to Denis Dowdle of Madison Downtown Holdings, who planning about 250 residents, a 500-plus space parking garage, an office building overlooking the ballpark, two hotels and retail and restaurant space.
Wyman-Gordon sold those acres for $6.1 million, according to land records.
Illustration of Polar Park
Wyman-Gordon sells land for Worcester Red Sox ballpark project to Madison Downtown Holdings for $6.1 million
The property was sold to Madison Downtown Holdings, the Boston company that is redeveloping the industrial site with plans, two hotels, retail space and apartments.
Last month, the Worcester Red Sox and city officials broke ground on the project, starting the construction of the ballpark, slated to cost upwards of $86 million.
An opening is planned for 2021.
On Wednesday, the first major demolition happened on the site.
Edward Murphy, who has purchased and rehabbed properties around Worcester, has bought a mixed-use building on Millbury Street just off Kelley Square for $1.2 million.
The property at 23 Millbury St., which includes European Bakery & Pastry, European Cafe & Deli, and nine upper-floor apartments, sold for well above its assessed value of $697,800, with the seller's representatives saying it received multiple offers within the first week it had the property on the market.
That firm, the investment sales broker Northeast Private Client Group, which has local offices in Newton, announced the sale. The deal closed Aug. 1.
Murphy bought the property through his Baystate Investment Fund, which is headquartered in the Canal District. Murphy, who lives in Westborough, has several other real estate businesses in which he buys, renovates and manages properties, including 7 Hills Property Management and weRENTcentralmass.
Murphy said he normally acquires distressed properties that require more work, but he said 23 Millbury St. doesn't fall into that category. The building is in good condition, but its apartments have been rented at rates 50% to 60% below today's market rates, he said.
Current tenants will be offered lower rents, but rates will still increase, Murphy said. Both first-floor commercial tenants, both longtime occupants, plan to stay, he said.
The sellers were Stanley Siudak and Zbigniew Surowaniec, according to the Worcester County Registry of Deeds. The four-story building includes 18,000 square feet on 0.15 acres.
WORCESTER - Their mission is bold.
“We want to do the impossible: train Worcester people to park two blocks away and walk,” said Canal District developer Allen Fletcher.
But with the upcoming reconfiguration of Kelley Square and the construction of Polar Park, now just may be the time for such a revolutionary idea as a free shuttle service connecting satellite parking lots and the Canal District.
“My vision for this whole neighborhood is always for it to be a walking district,” said Dino Lorusso, owner of Crompton Place. “We’ll get you to the district — then walk around!”
The Canal District Shuttle officially kicked off Tuesday, running a roughly 10-minute circuit to bring employees and customers from satellite parking lots to businesses in the Canal District.
Passengers can park for free at four lots on the other side of Kelley Square from the Canal District’s main drags of Green Street and Water Street. The parking lots are at 156 Washington St., 172 Washington St., 182 Washington St., and 9 Langdon St. They offer a combined 200 to 250 spaces and are a four-minute walk from Crompton Place, developers said. According to Google Maps, the walk to Crompton Place on Green Street is five minutes for the quarter-mile from the closest of the lots and nine minutes for the half-mile from the farthest.
The 15-passenger bus will make stops Tuesdays through Saturdays in front of Crompton Place on Green Street; at the Fidelity Bank Worcester Ice Center, which is at Harding and Winter streets; on Harding Street behind The Queen’s Cups, Maddi’s Cookery and TapHouse, and Lock 50; and then at 1 Kelley Square near the Worcester Public Market under construction.
The idea is driven (quite literally — you might see them behind the wheel) by three Canal District developers: Mr. Fletcher, owner of the Worcester Public Market, Mr. Lorusso and Ed Murphy. It is funded with a $60,000, three-year loan from Cornerstone Bank and from donations from local businesses, including BirchTree Bread Co. Table Talk Pies, and Smokestack Urban Barbecue.
“We are pretty excited about the shuttle for both our customers and employees,” said Avra Hoffman, co-owner of BirchTree. “How can we not be? It’s a free ride to a free parking lot! That’s a pretty sweet deal.”
Many things are still “a work in progress,” according to developers, such as how much participating businesses will pay, whether there will be nighttime service extending from business hours to 10:30 p.m., and whether musicians will be recruited to play on the bus.
But the developers are betting the service will be well-used both by employees who work in the district and the public.
The Canal District is already a draw where parking is at a premium, the developers noted. And spaces are expected to become more desirable as construction commences and eliminates some parking. In fact, the city has launched a website, www.worcestercanal.com, for residents and visitors to stay up to date on construction activities, upcoming traffic changes, and parking options. Visitors can also sign up for weekly email updates, according to the city.
“We think we’re helping solve a problem, and wherever it takes us we’re happy to go there,” said Mr. Murphy.
The developers are well-aware of perhaps their biggest challenge: Worcesterites’ innate predilection for storefront parking.
“This again is this new radical concept of parking and actually walking,” Mr. Fletcher said. “If we do it right, it could be a signature of the district.”
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