The final two vacant parcels in downtown Worcester’s CitySquare development, including the site of the demolished Notre Dame church, sold for $5 million to a Rhode Island residential developer, according to the Worcester South District Registry of Deeds.
The properties at 5 Salem Square, which is 1.69 acres, and at 1 CitySquare, which is 3.59 acres, are part of CitySquare, a $565-million, multi-phased project in Worcester’s center. The CitySquare project began in 2010 and encompasses the Unum building, the Saint Vincent Hospital campus, the Worcester Common Garage, the AC Hotel by Marriott, and the 145 Front residential development.
In a deal closed Friday, the two parcels were sold to Garfield Spencer, according to Will Kelleher, partner at Worcester-based real estate firm Kelleher & Sadowsky Associates, Inc. Spencer’s buying entity is registered to the Pawtucket, R.I. address of a loft-style apartment complex which he developed in the 2000s.
The properties were sold by CitySquare II Development Co. LLC, which is registered to the investment arm of The Hanover Insurance Group, Inc. in Worcester. Opus Investment Management, Hanover’s subsidiary, bought into the CitySquare project back in 2010. Opus hired Boston-based Leggat McCall Properties to develop the project.
The property at 5 Salem Square was previously occupied by the Notre Dame des Canadiens Church, which was torn down after extensive controversy in 2018. The second parcel, which is located across from the AC Marriott at the corner of Front and Mercantile Streets, is all green space with a parking garage underneath. It has the footings for a 200,000-square-foot building, which was proposed but never finished, according to Kelleher.
Timothy Murray, president and CEO of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, in January told the Worcester Telegram & Gazette residential developments were likely at the two remaining CitySquare parcels.
The properties are designated priority development sites, so local permitting decisions are guaranteed within 180 days, according to the listing for 1 CitySquare.
The Mercantile Center, a 640,000-square-foot office and retail complex, was also included in CitySquare’s radius before it was bought by privately-owned Franklin Realty Advisors LLC. In March, Franklin Realty’s managing director Chip Norton announced plans to construct a 150-unit apartment and a 125-room hotel around his Mercantile Center development.