American International College is prepared to move forward with a $25 million redevelopment project on the State Street Corridor for the Indian Motocycle properties, including the former Mason Square Fire Station. The college also announced that it is welcoming First Resource Development Company as its development partner, a company with vast development experience in Springfield and throughout Massachusetts.
The announcement was made at a press conference hosted by AIC on Tuesday, Jan. 8 in the International Room of Lee Hall.
The Indian Motocycle/Mason Square Fire Station project will result in the full rehabilitation of the existing 139 units of housing in the Indian Motocycle building, the addition of upper-story residential units in the former Mason Square Fire Station, and a ground floor commercial/common space. FRDC plans to highlight the history of Indian Motocycle at the site. The use of Indian Motocycle B building will be determined in the future.
"We are excited to see this important project move forward for this long dormant property," said Mayor Domenic J. Sarno. "It is crucial for State Street and the neighborhood to see new life brought to the Mason Square Fire station and we believe this partnership has the experience to make it a reality as well as infuse a significant amount of investment into the existing units at Indian Motocycle, and bring new market rate housing to the neighborhood."
AIC was named preferred developer in 2010 to Request for Proposals (RFP), which sought proposals in partnership with MassHousing for the disposition and redevelopment of the Indian Motocycle A, Indian Motocycle B, and Mason Square Fire Station properties. The Indian Motocycle A building and associated parking lots are controlled by an entity whose manager is a subsidiary of MassHousing; the agency agreed to the disposition of the property under a single RFP in cooperation with the city properties, and in accordance with the State Street Corridor Redevelopment Program, the 2008 plan highlighted the site as a target redevelopment opportunity.
AIC President Vincent M. Maniaci anticipates that the project will make the college even more attractive to prospective students, and symbolizes AIC's continued commitment to the surrounding community.
"Not only does this project enhance the value of the western end of campus, but it also serves to positively impact the quality of life in the Upper State Street area," said Maniaci. "Contributing to the restoration of the iconic Mason Square Fire Station is an honor that further reflects our pride in being a part of the city of Springfield," he said.
Frank Colaccino, AIC Chairman of the Board of Trustees and President of the Colvest Group, echoes President Maniaci's enthusiasm. "Projects of this nature serve to advance not only the college's interests in developing the neighborhood, but the city of Springfield's commitment to strengthening its economic development. The renovation of the Indian Motorcycle complex will have a positive impact on the area's small businesses and retail establishments," he states.
AIC has continued to do due diligence on the project, examining several development scenarios, and most recently brought in First Resource Development Company as its development partner. First Resource recently completed the award-winning $25 million redevelopment of Worthington Commons at Federal and Worthington Streets in the city, and is now in the midst of a three-phase $75 million South End revitalization project, including the redevelopment of the Outing Park Historic District apartments.
"We’re honored to partner with such a prestigious institution as American International College," said Gordon Pulsifer, CEO & President of First Resource Development Company. "We’ve enjoyed working in Springfield and look forward to this important project."
The project was envisioned as one of six key redevelopment projects in the 2008 Redevelopment Plan. The plan stressed the importance of packaging the development as a single development opportunity with MassHousing and the importance of the Fire Station to the fabric of the Mason Square commercial center. Implementation of the Redevelopment Plan is currently being advanced through a partnership of the city and DevelopSpringfield.
"As DevelopSpringfield continues to focus on advancing the State Street Redevelopment Plan, we are excited that the Indian Motocycle/Fire Station project is moving forward," said Nick Fyntrilakis, Chairman, DevelopSpringfield. "There has been significant progress made on several aspects of the plan to date. This piece moving forward - a key element of the plan - demonstrates the positive momentum we are experiencing on State Street."
The project will seek final approvals from both the Springfield City Council and the board of MassHousing in the upcoming weeks.