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Regional News

Springfield City Council delays vote on additional $6.5 million for Court Square Hotel project

The former Court Square Hotel at 31 Elm St. in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Adam Frenier
/
NEPM

The Springfield City Council did not take up a request to provide $6.5 million in additional funding for the redevelopment of the old Court Square Hotel during its three hour meeting Monday night.

The developers have said the pandemic increased the cost of the project, located at 31 Elm St., by $13 million. The state has agreed to cover half of the increase, officials said.

Tim Sheehan, the city's chief development officer, gave a detailed history of the project Monday and explained that the additional costs come primarily from the increased price of metal, particularly steel.

"This increased the cost of critical materials including windows, steel studs, aluminum storefront and curtainwalls, copper wire, piping, light fixtures, doors and many other items," he said.

Sheehan said the building is in a serious state of deterioration.

"Nobody, including the developer, thought that the project would be in this position, but it's been due to the COVID market conditions and the project structurally does not have the luxury of waiting these conditions out," he said.

Last week, a representative of WinnCompanies of Boston, one of the developers on the project, said that work would stop without the additional funding and the project would enter a "death spiral."

Before the meeting, City Councilor Justin Hurst said he'll likely vote no on the increased investment from the city.

"We already gave them $4 million of city funds," Hurst said in an interview. "And I think at this point in time, what they're asking for is entirely too much to ask the city residents and the city of Springfield to bear."

Hurst and Councilor Tracye Whitfield said the only way they'd vote for the funding is if Mayor Domenic Sarno offers to provide separate relief to Springfield taxpayers.

A spokesperson for the mayor did not respond to requests for comment.

The matter will be discussed again at a special meeting of the City Council on Friday at noon.

Updated: March 23, 2022 at 9:27 AM EDT
This story has been updated to include the date and time of the next City Council meeting.
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