MassDevelopment celebrates completion of renovation of former courthouse at 1550 Main St.
April 9, 2012 : The Springfield Republican, by Peter Goonan
MassDevelopment, a state finance and development agency that owns the former federal courthouse building at 1550 Main St., announced the completion of major renovations last week.
Local, state and federal officials and various tenants gathered in the foyer, and praised the restoration of the downtown Springfield building. The property was purchased by MassDevelopment in 2009 for $2.5 million, and the agency invested approximately $3.6 million in renovations.
The state also provided a $3 million grant for physical improvements including the public plaza in front.
The purchase occurred after the federal court and some federal agencies moved from the building to a newly built courthouse on State Street.
MassDevelopment rents two floors at 1550 Main St. to the Springfield School Department and one floor to Baystate Health for offices, along with space for multiple federal tenants. The building is about 90 percent occupied, and houses approximately 350 employees, officials said.
U.S. Rep. Richard E. Neal, D-Springfield, praised MassDevelopment, saying the agency â€œstepped up to the plate,â€ and made sure the building was a vibrant workplace in the downtown, and would enhance the downtown economy.
â€œDevelopment in an urban city is tough under any circumstances,â€ Neal said.
Mark R. Tolosky, president and CEO of Baystate Health, said Baystate is glad to expand its downtown work force, with the Main Street site housing about 150 information technology employees. Neal and Mayor Domenic J. Sarno urged Baystate to rent space in the building and have been â€œincredibly good partners,â€ he said.
A 2006 study by the Urban Land Institute in 2006 recommended the reuse of the courthouse property â€œto help secure Springfield as a vibrant urban center and cultural hub,â€ said Marty Jones, MassDevelopment president and chief executive officer.
â€œIt has been a joy to see that idea morph into a reality over the last few years,â€ she said.
Local and state officials also praised newly installed sculptures in the first and second floor lobbies by artist James M. Kitchen, of Chesterfield. Plans are in place for more Kitchen pieces to be installed outdoors and in other areas of downtown. All the pieces are for sale.