Key downtown Worcester building across from Hanover Theatre to be redeveloped into arts, retail space

October 17, 2018 :, by Aviva Luttrell

526-538 Main Street, WorcesterA prominent building in Worcester's downtown Theatre District is being purchased by a developer who hopes to reactivate the space by providing opportunities for retail, arts and cultural activities.

The Menkiti Group, through its subsidiary 526 Main Street Partners LLC, has executed a purchase and sale agreement with MassDevelopment to buy 526-538 Main Street in Worcester, the former Money Stop Pawn Shop building that MassDevelopment bought last year through its Transformative Development Initiative (TDI) Equity Investment program.

MassDevelopment purchased the building in 2017 and made facade improvements before soliciting interest from developers through an RFP process.

The sale is expected to close next spring.

"Our anticipated purchase of 526-538 Main Street will add to The Menkiti Group's growing portfolio of projects in the Worcester Theater District, and further demonstrates our commitment to that neighborhood and to its future," Bo Menkiti, founder and CEO of The Menkiti Group, said in a statement. "We recognize the significant architectural, cultural, and educational community assets that are here, and we look forward to working with existing stakeholders, local creatives, and entrepreneurs to enhance and harness those assets to develop a thriving, diverse, and economically vibrant neighborhood."

MassDevelopment President and CEO Lauren Liss said the Menkiti Group has a strong presence in the city and is looking forward to seeing the revitalized building "breathe new life into downtown Worcester."

The two-story building is located across the street from the Hanover Theatre. After Money Stop left the space in March, the building has contained 8,000 square feet of vacant space on the first floor and 8,400 square feet of vacant space on the second floor.

The Muse Bar, established in 2015, occupies 1,000 square feet on the building's first floor. Since MassDevelopment purchased the building in 2017, the agency worked with the Theatre District Alliance to install new signage that visually improved the building and marketed the property.

"As our downtown revitalization efforts continue with a complete re-imagining of Main Street, reactivating this key property in our Theatre District is a vital piece of our overall development plan," City Manager Edward M. Augustus said in a statement.

MassDevelopment's Transformative Development Initiative is a program for gateway cities designed to accelerate economic growth within focused districts. The program works with cross-sector partnerships to engage community members in actionable planning, implement local economic development initiatives, and spur further public and private investment.