Shoppers welcome plaza renovation proposal

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – First it was Union Station and the elevated portion of Interstate 91. Now another renovation project is in the works here in Springfield; the Springfield Plaza on Liberty Street.

In the early 1900’s, that land  was an airport. Now it’s a shopping center that will soon be renovated.

Kayla Nunez works at one of the businesses in the Springfield Plaza. She told 22News, “The signs out there, they are old, and nobody can really see what they are reading. And they are all discolored and not even bright. They don’t pop.”

Albany Road Real Estate Partners and Davenport Companies bought the Springfield Plaza on Liberty Road for $35 million. They are now committing $4 million to give the plaza a whole new look.

President of Albany Road Real Estate Partners Christopher Knisley said the improvements will include “Lighting, signage, parking lot, landscaping, and I think as much as anything else, increased and enhanced security presence.”

One of the new co-owners, Davenport Companies, is also a development partner for MGM’s proposed casino in downtown Springfield. Mayor Domenic Sarno hopes between the proposed casino and the plaza renovation, the city will soon see some major economic improvements.

And shoppers agree. “Everybody’s going to come to buy, to this plaza because they are going to be safer, you know,” Diomicio Santiago of Springfield said.

An official start date has not been announced yet, but construction could begin as soon as the warmer weather arrives.

Businesses, both locally owned and national chains, occupy 93% of this plaza. The new owners hope to fill the vacant spots once the renovation is complete.

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