A long-awaited project to bring more than 70 apartments to Court Square in downtown Springfield, Massachusetts, could get underway in earnest this fall.
Developers announced Wednesday they've hired a contractor, Fontaine Brothers of Springfield, for the $51 million project at 31 Elm Street, site of the former Court Square Hotel.
A public-private partnership is funding it, with MGM Springfield kicking in $16 million to satisfy a requirement it develop housing units near the casino.
Michael O'Brien with Winn Development, which is partnering on the project, said at a press conference outside the building that construction needs to begin soon.
"We are in the mode that we have to get this project underway as soon as possible," O'Brien said. "The building condition really cannot stand another winter as is, and so time is not our friend."
Peter Picknelly with OPAL Real Estate Group, which is also helping to develop the parcel, said a 175-seat fine dining restaurant is planned for the first floor of the building. He said attempts to rehabilitate the buildings have run in his family for decades.
"My family's been working on this project for almost 30 years," Picknelly said. "It's a bear of a project, and it took a whole team effort to get where we are today. This building will be accomplished."
Picknelly said the project would not be possible if it wasn’t for more than $11 million in federal and state historic tax credits. He said he expects the project to be completed within two years.
Labor union officials at the press conference said the project will create more than 100 construction jobs.