On October 19, 2023 in Springfield, Massachusetts, it was announced that the Springfield Redevelopment Authority will purchase the approximately 17 acre campus of the defunct Vibra Hospital for $1.00 and associated conveyance fees. The goal is to redevelop and revitalize this strategically-located property.
The site represents one of the city’s largest and significantly underutilized commercial sites, has tremendous accessibility to the regional highway network, and is adjacent to MassMutual’s corporate headquarters.
The announcement was made by Mayor Domenic J. Sarno, Chief Development Officer (CDO) Tim Sheehan, and Springfield Redevelopment Authority (SRA) Executive Director Amanda Pham. City Council Vice President Melvin Edwards, State Senator Jacob Oliveira, State Representative Bud Williams, SRA Board Member Fiore Grassetti and Chair Armando Feliciano, and Lamari Jackson from State Senator Adam Gomez‘s office were also in attendance.
“This is truly a unique opportunity for the City to have direct control over such a large land area for future economic development and for us as a community to be able to guide the type of development that will occur on this campus in a way that truly benefits the City of Springfield and its residents via jobs, economic investment, environmental sustainability and creative land use strategies, while also being conducive with the neighborhood – much like what was done to secure the positive economic development future of the three properties at the corner of State Street and Main Street,” said Mayor Sarno.
The campus includes two land parcels with the addresses of 1400-1414 State Street.
Current site conditions include a six floor, 91,272 square foot hospital with 120 beds, out buildings and a 303-space parking lot. The assessed valuation for the two parcels is $6.4 million and the existing zoning is Residence C.
“The site is critically important to creating new economic development opportunities in Springfield through a Planned Unit Development approach, which includes varied but compatible land uses on the site. The negotiated price for the acquisition by the SRA reflects the complexities in preparing the site for this type of redevelopment going forward, but still is a significant windfall for the City, which has very little land area available for such significant development to be planned for. Such development potential is essential to the City’s ongoing economic health. Development of the site will create additional taxes, jobs and improve land use efficiencies,” said Sheehan.
“We are pleased to work with the Springfield Redevelopment Authority in the transfer of the property and to support their vital work in the Springfield community,” said Vibra Healthcare.
The SRA is pursuing this development via a demonstration project, which is focused on urban regeneration.
Urban regeneration is recognized as one of the most comprehensive and effective tools that municipal governments can use not only to drive economic development, but also for promoting more inclusive, resilient, safer and sustainable neighborhoods.
“Successful urban regeneration projects can have significant positive impacts on the local economy, environment, and social well-being of residents. They help attract investment and retain existing businesses, create new jobs, increase property values, and enhance community cohesion and diversity, as such the SRA welcomes this work as part of its mission,” said Pham.
Now that the Purchase and Sale Agreement has been signed the SRA is commencing the pre-development work necessary in undertaking the redevelopment of such a significant land area.
City development officials anticipate such work will take at a minimum a year to complete.
“With the Mayor’s support the SRA has become a substantive partner in the City’s overall economic development agenda. I and the entire SRA Commission welcome this enhanced role and fully share the City’s enthusiasm regarding the long-term redevelopment potential of this site and the transformative impact it will have on the upper State Street corridor. This site is now one of the SRA’s top priorities and we will be advancing the associated master planning work in a cohesive and collaborative manner,” said Feliciano.
The planning work undertaken by the Redevelopment Authority on the site will be inclusive and transparent and will involve both the adjoining neighborhoods and the institutions and businesses that reside within them.
Featured photo via Google Maps.