Tower Square partners buy former Springfield federal courthouse, 1550 Main St., for $6 million
January 4, 2023 : MassLive, Jim Kinney
SPRINGFIELD — Two of the owners of Tower Square and its revitalized downtown Marriott hotel have purchased the adjacent former federal courthouse buildings from MassDevelopment.
“We control two of the best class A office spaces in the city,” said new owner Vidhyadhar “Vid” Mitta.
Mitta and Dinesh Patel paid $6 million for the building, originally constructed in 1981, according to a deed filed in November with the Hampden County Registry of Deeds. The property is financed with a $4.5 million mortgage from New Valley Bank & Trust Co., according to other documents also filed with the registry.
The most recent owner, MassDevelopment, the state’s economic development finance agency and land bank, announced the sale Wednesday.
The building at 1550 Main is 130,000 square feet with a highly visible public plaza and 103 parking spaces below grade, with physical connections via skywalks to the adjacent Springfield Parking Authority-owned Columbus Center Garage and Tower Square’s parking.
The Columbus Center Garage property includes the now-closed CityStage performance venue.
The 1550 Main St. property is 98% occupied with tenants including the Springfield School Department, Baystate Health, Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and regional offices for U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey.
Mitta said he knows some leases in 1550 Main St. are coming due, but he’s hopeful of getting renewals and new tenants. Demand for high-end office space is growing, he said, as companies reopen from the pandemic. “No big changes, basically,” he said when asked about the new owners’ plans.
By controlling two adjacent office buildings — now totaling 1.7 million square feet of office and retail space — the partners can share parking and amenities as well as marketing and maintenance efforts. The two buildings — Tower Square and 1550 Main — are linked by a pedestrian skybridge over Bridge Street.
Mitta, of Lexington, Dinesh Patel, of East Longmeadow, and Rohit Patel and Kamlesh Patel, both of Maine, bought Tower Square and the adjoining hotel and parking garage from MassMutual in 2018.
In that 2018 transaction, they paid $7 million for the office tower, mall, parking and Steiger Park across the street. Those same four partners bought the hotel from MassMutual in a separate $10.5 million deal.
Tower Square has 1.6 million square feet of space with 370,000 square feet of space in the 28-floor office tower. The “mall” portion of Tower Square totals 180,000 square feet.
In November, the partners reopened Springfield Marriott Downtown in Tower Square following its $50 million rehab with a 266-room hotel and more than 15,000 square feet of flexible event space and a rooftop garden event space.
Mitta said Tower Square’s office high-rise is 85% full, while the retail mall is 80% leased. Big Y Foods is building a Big Y Express Fresh Market in the former CVS space in Tower Square.
MassDevelopment said it bought 1550 Main St. in 2009 for $2.5 million when the courthouse moved to the new building on State Street.
“I want to thank MassDevelopment president and CEO Dan Rivera and his dedicated team for their continued belief and investment in our Springfield,” said Mayor Domenic J. Sarno in a prepared statement. “The property at 1550 Main Street is a key piece to the economic stability of our downtown. Dinesh Patel, Vidhyadhar Mitta and their team have a proven track record of property ownership, management, investment and economic development.”
Sarno cited the partners’ efforts at Tower Square and “grand reopening” of the hotel as indicators they will be “ideal owners” for the 1550 Main St. site.
“All of this makes them the ideal owners to continue the advancement and oversight of this important and vital economic development property,” the mayor said. “I have the full confidence that they will continue to enhance our downtown Springfield footprint while providing the same quality of investment and management to the existing tenants of 1550 Main Street, including our Springfield School Department.”
When MassDevelopment took over, the property was 70% occupied and in need of significant upgrades, MassDevelopment said.
“Revitalizing underused commercial properties helps bring additional jobs, foot traffic, energy, and economic growth to a neighborhood,” said state housing and economic development secretary Mike Kennealy, who serves as chair of MassDevelopment’s Board of Directors. “MassDevelopment’s stewardship of 1550 Main St. has sparked new life in a prominent building in downtown Springfield and demonstrated the value of investing in and modernizing properties to meet the needs of communities today,” Kennealy said.
MassDevelopment said it put the property up for sale in order to focus its investment elsewhere.
“Working with tenants, partners, and the city of Springfield over the years allowed us to cultivate this property to its best and highest use,” said the agency’s president and CEO Rivera in a news release. “This type of focused teamwork is how long-lasting redevelopment takes root. It is what makes converting an old federal courthouse into a stunning multi-tenant office building possible.”
A year ago in January 2022, local investors bought the TD Bank Center at 1441 Main St. along with an adjacent parcel of land for $5.2 million. Those buyers are the principals of Colebrook Realty Services, which manages the property now — that’s B. John Dill, Mitch Bolotin and Kevin Morin — and a company controlled by James E. “Jeb” Balise Jr. of Balise Auto Group.