I-Team: Springfield residents are being forced to move

UMass Amherst’s lease on the apartment building is being terminated

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Courtney DeZorzi and her neighbors who live in this Elm Street Apartment building next to Court Square said they got notices asking them to move out by the end of the month.

Some of them say they just moved in. “I know it takes longer than a week to finalize selling anything. Especially a building, So, I feel they knew before they even moved us in,” said DeZori.

UMass Amherst leases this building from the city, but the I-Team found out, the lease is being terminated at the end of the year to make way for future development.

UMass spokesman Ed Blaguszewski told the I-Team they found out just before Thanksgiving they were losing their lease and say they told the tenants as soon as possible, which was before the legal 30 day notice.

Right now, Peter Picknelly’s Opal Real Estate Group is working on plans to restore the building next to DeZorzi’s apartment, the old Court Square Hotel. The plan is to turn it back into a 120-room boutique hotel that will then be managed by MGM, who’s building a casino right across the street.

However, Picknelly said they’d like to eventually redevelop the entire block. “I’m talking with Tony Rivoso who owns the building on the corner and we’re talking about having that a part of the project but sooner or later it will all be part of the project. That’s just a natural ripple effect of what this project will do for our downtown.”

Picknelly said they expect to have most of their agreements completed in the next 30-60 days.

As for the tenant, the I-Team found out from UMass on Tuesday that the tenants will now be given an extra 3 weeks to move out. They also told us, they are meeting with the residents to help them find housing. We passed the information we got along to the tenants featured in our story.

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