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June 2013
Gunn Block
Restoration of the historic Gunn Block

473-477 State Street



DevelopSpringfield recently announced the acquisition of the historic Gunn Block (corner of State and Walnut Streets).


Built around 1830, the building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is believed to be the oldest commercial building in Springfield. It is also one of just a few masonry blocks remaining from the early nineteenth century.


The Gunn Block was built to house Elisha Gunn's flourishing trade in "West Indies Goods" such as coffee, rum, molasses, sugar and spices.  The presence of the Armory across the street contributed to the commercial growth of the area at that time.  The third floor of the Gunn Block contained a large hall used for meetings and social events that was used for a time by the Hampden Lodge of Free Masons and by the Armory workers who met to organize and promote their own welfare.


The building has been vacant for at least three years.  The first floor was last used as a bar and the upper two stories were used for six apartments.


DevelopSpringfield plans to stabilize the building as soon as possible and then rehabilitate it in a historically appropriate way for commercial or mix-use development.  The first floor provides an ideal space for a restaurant or pub while the upper levels would be appropriate for residential or possible office space.


Click here for further information on this evolving project.

River Inn demo, 5-29-13 Progress on the former River Inn
700 State Street

DevelopSpringfield purchased the former River Inn in February, a building which had long been in disrepair and a blight on the neighborhood and the State Street corridor. 


A ceremonial demolition event on May 9, marked the beginning of the redevelopment process which includes the demolition of the building and site preparation to market the site to an appropriate end user or developer.


In addition to the State Street property, the City of Springfield recently approved the sale of two abutting lots on Thompson Street to DevelopSpringfield. Our goal is to redevelop the properties together as a single site for commercial use appropriate for the area.  The now larger site affords adequate space for a viable commercial establishment with appropriate space for parking and landscaping.


While an end use has not yet been established, market research has indicated that there is interest and viability to the prospect of a casual sit-down restaurant as they are currently limited in the Mason Square area and would provide a positive economic impact to the neighborhood and the city as a whole.  Such a use would spur employment opportunities and likely stimulate additional private investment and redevelopment in the area.


DevelopSpringfield has invested almost $500,000 so far in property acquisition, demolition costs, back taxes paid to the city and back water and sewer fees. Our goal is to ensure appropriate redevelopment of the site to make a positive impact on our economy. MassDevelopment provided a $143,000 grant to assist in remediation of asbestos and demolition of the building.


Click here for project highlights and view photos of the demolition progress.



D2 Community Meeting
Residents and stakeholders working at a recent District 2 meeting
Rebuild Project Highlights


An enormous amount of work has been done by the Mayor, the City's Development team and countless city departments along with  individuals, businesses, and

non-profit organizations to advance the rebuilding and revitalization of Springfield since the June 2011 tornado. We are pleased to be a part of the ongoing process and to provide an opportunity in our monthly e-newsletter

to highlight some of the extraordinary work being done. 


The Rebuild Springfield planning process provided a 

framework for community engagement and collaboration with recommendations for advancing common goals and priorities for revitalization in Springfield. The following are examples of just a few of the projects which align with recommendations out of the Rebuild Plan.


  • Plantings and landscaping enhancements have been underway throughout the City.
    • Some examples:
  • The City's Choice Neighborhood planning process is underway in collaboration with the South End Revitalization Coalition. See results below from two recent surveys:
    • Education and Youth Strategy Survey (March 2013) Results
    • Residents Community Survey (June 2012) Results   Data
  • The City announced the Abutter Lots Sales Program.  Click here for details. The sale of vacant lots to abutting property owners was one of the Plan's Physical Domain recommendations.
  • With the nicer weather comes the celebration of a new Community Garden on Tyler Street--HAP Housing, the Old Hill Neighborhood Council and Gardening in the Community dedicated this new garden space on May 31, 2013. 


The updates within this e-newsletter have been compiled with the assistance of District and Domain leadership who continue to spearhead community participation to advance the Rebuild Springfield Plan. The involvement of all of our community stakeholders in this ongoing process is very much appreciated.


Links to the Rebuild Plan can be found at www.developspringfield.com. Just click on the links found in the red "Rebuild Springfield" box on our homepage.  If you have news or updates to share, please let us know!


Please forward this newsletter to others in the Springfield community

to help spread the news!

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Our mission is to help create conditions that encourage private development, with a bricks-and-mortar focus and always with an eye toward understanding and meeting Springfield's unique and diverse redevelopment needs.


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