Construction on court square building to begin soon

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) It’s a building that’s sat empty for years in Downtown Springfield.

The 22News I-Team has new information on the court square building and found out when we’ll see some progress.

We found out work may get going soon but how it’s developed depends on the November election.

It’s one of Springfield’s oldest structures, but the building that sits next to court square hasn’t been touched in years.

“If you look at the building, you know its not in the best shape and anything that goes in there will be better than it is,” said Springfield’s Joel Illouz.

While it may look like an abandoned project, the 22News I-Team discovered a plan is in place and work could begin in just a few months.

“We’ve been working diligently on the structural, construction plan of the shell,” said Demetrios Panteleakis, the Chief Operating Officer of Opal Real Estate Group.

Panteleakis told the 22News I-Team the city has already approved their 25-30 million dollar renovation plan.

The plan would maintain the shops at the bottom of the building and turn the rest of the building into office space, keeping the historic facade as it is.

While there are plans in place for this building, developers say they’re keeping a close eye on November. If the casino law is upheld they may change their plans and turn this back into a luxury hotel, what it originally was.

“If we have an opportunity to make it that once again and be a five-star product in the city, that would be grand, that this victorian-built city would have one of its gems restored back to its original use,” Panteleakis said.

The 136,000 square foot building needs a lot of cleaning and structural work that will begin in November regardless of the direction they plan to take the project.

Panteleakis told the I-Team they need to build a new roof and replace the windows shattered in the June 1st 2011 tornado.

“The national parks service requires us to take those windows out, preserve them and put them back into place so we suffered major damage there,” Panteleakis added.

He says if all goes as planned, the project will be complete 18-20 months after they start.

The proposal to build office space has been approved and they’ve been awarded federal and state tax credits for it.

If the casino deal law is upheld and they switch to a luxury hotel, they would have to get the new plan approved in order to keep those credits.

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