Turning long-vacant building into luxury apartments in Worcester

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“Eight freshly renovated one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartments will open to new tenants next month in what was once a long-vacant building steps from City Hall and Worcester Common — the latest in a series of transformations spurring the downtown renaissance.

 The red brick façade of 517 Main St. sits sandwiched between the Great Wall Chinese restaurant and the tall corner building at the intersection of Franklin and Main streets. Its interior has undergone major changes under Grid Management, which is leasing the new units.

Property Manager Scott Johnson called the building “just a shell” when the management group acquired the property. It rises five stories tall with a commercial space at street level. Now, it is a “luxury apartment building” with rents priced at $1,750 per month.

“We framed it, built it out and everything is brand new,” said Johnson, who oversees the management group’s Worcester portfolio consisting of eight buildings with 549 units in total.

The ground level previously housed a MetroPCS store, that was moved to a commercial space in the neighboring building Johnson said. The upper levels sat vacant and unused for “quite some time” according to Johnson, though he could not give an exact amount of time. Some of the upper floors also had boarded windows in archived Google Street View images.”

Full Article

Downtown Worcester Business Improvement District Enlivens Storefronts with Local Art

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Release Date: May 17, 2022

Media Contact: Evelyn Darling, Executive Director

 

WORCESTER, MA – The Downtown Worcester Business Improvement District (BID) selected two local artists to bring new vibrancy to windows on Portland and Salem Streets in Downtown Worcester. The Worcester-based artists were selected for the BID’s call for art with the theme “Through the Glass” to create engaging window displays that enhance the pedestrian experience in the Downtown area. Both artists chose handcrafted butterflies to reflect the transformative power of change. Through physical improvements and activities, the BID has prioritized local art in its placemaking efforts to establish Downtown Worcester as a vibrant destination.

 

“Art engages people and brings increased activity to an area,” notes Evelyn Darling, Executive Director of the BID. “We are excited to work with local artists Sharinna Travieso and Amanda Santerre on this installment of our storefront activation program, which makes such a positive impact in our Downtown. Each window brings a sense of innovation and imagination.”

 

“Kaleidoscope is an installation about togetherness,” says artist Amanda Santerre. “The butterflies are a visual representation of what is capable when we come together as a community.” Santerre involved the Worcester community in sourcing the colorful butterflies for the display, provided free materials for anyone wanting to participate, and coordinated with three local businesses, C.C. Lowell Art Supply, Burncoat Center for Arts and Wellness, and Tidepool Books, to serve as drop-off points. This effort was so successful that each butterfly was created by a different person. Santerre remarked, “Within the hundreds of butterflies, each one is unique, and they represent coming together and creating the strong community that I believe Worcester has.”

 

Sharinna Travieso says her piece, titled Butterfly Effect, is inspired by her love for nature and passion to create eco-friendly art that stimulates the community. “For those who look through the glass, this piece is a reminder that even the smallest changes we make can affect who we are and how we overcome our fears and doubts, which appear smaller the higher we rise above them. From afar, you see a word surrounded by floating colors, but up close the butterflies serve as a delicate reminder of the beauty of life and nature.”

 

The art installations will be on display through the summer in two storefronts in the Portland on The Grid complex that spans Portland and Salem Streets. MG2 Group, the building’s owner, agreed to provide access to its empty storefront windows at 26 Portland Street. The Salem Street location is being hosted by the organization BAMSI’s (Brockton Area Multi-Services, Inc.) New Start Brain Injury Community Center at 15 Salem Street. Each storefront is illuminated at night, providing continual access to these colorful window displays and creating a new visual experience for those living, working, and visiting Downtown Worcester.

 

“We’re pleased to be hosting Downtown Worcester BID’s latest storefront art installation,” notes The Grid’s property manager Scott Johnson. “These windows will enliven the Downtown experience not only for our own residents but for everyone working, visiting, or living here, while also showcasing local artists. We’re grateful for the opportunity to support the BID’s ongoing placemaking efforts.”

 

This year’s window display initiative is the latest installment of the BID’s storefront activation program. In the spring of 2021, the BID worked with five different artists/artist groups who responded to a call for art titled “Downtown Reemerging” to create window displays in vacant storefronts at 526 Main Street and 403 Main Street. In the fall of 2020, the BID worked with The Menkiti Group and several local artists to install a multi-faceted art exhibit in the storefront windows at 554 Main Street.

 

This window display project is supported, in part, by a grant from the Worcester Arts Council, a local agency, which is supported by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency.

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About Downtown Worcester Business Improvement District

Downtown Worcester Business Improvement District is a non-profit organization established in 2018 to sustain momentum in the heart of Downtown Worcester. The result of a comprehensive community-based effort, the organization represents the owners of 140 properties and seeks to create a unique sense of place through enhanced investment and development, establishing and sustaining a vibrant, welcoming, and economically viable district for all.

Downtown Worcester Business Improvement District | 44 Portland Street, Suite 508, Worcester, MA 01608

 

Portland St. RISE artPortland St. RISE art logo

Worcester Beer Garden Reopening

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The Worcester Beer Garden, operated by Grid Hospitality an affiliate of MG2 Group, will be reopening from winter hiatus tomorrow! The Worcester Beer Garden is located in the Grid District and is looking forward to returning to the Downtown Worcester location.

The new GM Andrea Dunne states in the following article: “We’re happy to be a part of what’s happening in downtown Worcester,” she said. “The growth and rejuvenation is fantastic and we’re really proud and happy to be part of that”. Click the link below to read more about the live music, 35+ beers on tap, and other additions to the Worcester Beer Garden this year.

https://lnkd.in/gdx72Vx3

Worcester Beer Garden’s Pavilion Set to Feature Wide Range of Shows

John McGrail

Article by Chris Van Buskirk | Telegram

WORCESTER — “Hodgepodge.”

That’s what Leah Urbano, director of entertainment at The Grid Hospitality Group, uses to describe the different acts slated to perform in a brand-new event space set to open in downtown Worcester.

“We have high hopes for the space and the sky’s the limit, really. As far as the music, that we want to bring in there we’d like to try everything based on what the area will bring for us,” she said in a phone interview. “We’re talking about Latin, jazz, hip-hop, rock, jam bands, folk, blues, swing, (and) reggae.”

The Pavilion at the Beer Garden is set to open Tuesday with a jam-packed schedule of local  bands, Boston DJs and DeadBeat, a Grateful Dead cover band. The event space will host everything from burlesque to country music and corporate parties to DJs.

Entering into The Pavilion at the Beer Garden is almost like walking into a state-of-the-art festival tent that isn’t moving anytime soon. The high ceilings made up of white canvas and airy dance floor with modern staging, lighting, video and sound systems could make the most road-hardened artists pause.

A nearby bar whose front is made up of black and white tiles will serve up to 20 draft beers. For those wanting to take a break from the festivities, stools at the bar offer a welcoming reprieve — not to mention that the four flat-screen TVs can keep one distracted for hours.

Read full article here.

Worcester’s Brew Beer Garden to Open New 300-Person Pavilion

John McGrail

Article by Aviva Luttrell | aluttrell@masslive.com

WORCESTER — Worcester’s Brew Beer Garden will open its new 300-person Pavilion entertainment and event space next week with a lineup of DJs and musicians.

The Pavilion at Brew Beer Garden is scheduled to open Tuesday with a performance by the local XS Band. The event is open to all ages and there is no cover fee.

The new space will feature a wide variety of musical genres and entertainment, as well as various themed and and private events, including weddings. The Pavilion has a 300-person standing capacity, 28-foot stage, full sound and lights and a 19-foot LED video wall.

It adjoins the Beer Garden on Franklin Street, which has 36 beers on tap, a full dining menu, an outdoor terrace and indoor live entertainment.

The Pavilion will feature ticketed national concerts, local showcases and more, the company said in an announcement.

Next week’s lineup includes Boston’s DJ Sisko on Thursday; DeadBeat — a Grateful Dead tribute band — on Friday; and a variety of bands followed by DJ TecThreat during an all-day grand opening event on Saturday.

Sunday will feature Boston Beautease — a summer-themed burlesque show.

Ryan Reynolds Film Scenes to be Shot in Worcester

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Article by Walter Bird Jr. | @worcestermag

Holly-Worcester is at it again. Hot on the heels of Liam Neeson bringing his particular set of skills to Worcester to film his new movie “Honest Thief,” the new flick “Level Up” is scheduled to start filming here next week. Or is it “Free Guy?”

A flyer sent around the Franklin Street area referred to film as “Level Up,” while a recording at a phone number listed on the flyer called it “Free Guy.”

Either way, the movie is a Twentieth Century production starring Ryan Reynolds, and scenes are being filmed on Franklin Street.

Sam Morris, manager of Brew on the Grid at 56 Franklin St., told Worcester Magazine he was told filming would run Sunday through Thursday, and that his business, a popular spot at the corner of Franklin and Portland streets, would be used as a set location. He said they will also being doing “some minor catering.”

“They haven’t really told me a lot,” Morris said, adding he does not know whether Reynolds will be on site for the filming. “I assume so, but I’m not entirely positive.”

Morris said the entire interior of Brew on the Grid would be changed for the filming, and some false walls would be constructed.

“When it’s actually in the movie,” he said, “it certainly won’t look entirely like Brew, but it will be Brew.”

Read full article here.

Students Vie for Funniest College Kid Title at WooHaHa!

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Article by Victor D. Infante | Telegram
WORCESTER – Did you hear the one about the WPI student who crashed a Holy Cross party? No? Well, if there’s a punchline to this joke, you’ll find it at the Funniest College Kid in the City Competition at WooHaHa!. Ten students representing Worcester’s colleges will each deliver five-minute sets, which will be judged on originality, performance and audience response. The winner gets the title and a paid feature set at the comedy club. And that’s no joke.

What: Funniest College Kid in the City Competition
When: 8 p.m. April 25
Where: The WooHaHa! Comedy Club, 50 Franklin St., Worcester
How much: $15

Comedy-club manager to open WooHaHa! downtown Jan. 18

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Article by Richard Duckett

WORCESTER — John Tobin once ran the room at the comedy club at the former Aku-Aku restaurant on East Central Street in the mid-1990s and was happy to do it. It was a commute from West Roxbury for Tobin, but comedy always had a big pull for the Boston native. Tobin’s first job in comedy was as a doorman at a comedy club. “I would have worked for free. I always loved comedy,” he said.

Along the way, he also dreamed of being mayor of Boston. That’s not a joke. Tobin was elected to five terms on the Boston City Council. He is first vice president for city and community affairs at Northeastern University. But Tobin has also established quite a big name for himself on the Boston comedy scene.

Now he’s heading west again, and it is a laughing matter. “Worcester’s a great comedy city,” Tobin said.

As the owner of John Tobin Presents, Tobin will be operating and booking acts at the WooHaHa! Comedy Club at 50 Franklin St., which is scheduled to open Jan. 18 with featured comedian Paul Mecurio (numerous appearances on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert”). Meanwhile, Jan. 4 will see the debut of Roar! Comedy Club in the Armory at MGM Springfield, which John Tobin Presents will produce and book shows for. Comedian Roy Wood Jr. opens.

Among other comedy clubs John Tobin Presents also operates and books are Laugh Boston and Nick’s Comedy Stop in Boston, and The Comedy Scene at Patriot Place in Foxboro.

At WooHaHa! in the Grid District the 130-seat comedy club will be alongside the new Revolution Pie + Pint and Craft Table & Bar.

Read the full article here.

From fast-casual to upscale, Worcester is getting these new restaurants and a 5th brewery in 2019

John McGrail

Full article by Aviva Luttrell | aluttrell@masslive.com
Big changes are happening in Worcester, and the city’s dining scene is no exception.

From a new artisanal butcher shop and coffee roastery to a fastcasual
Chipotle Mexican Grill and Dairy Queen, there’s no shortage of eateries that have had their eyes on Worcester. In 2019, the city — which has been in is in the midst of a renaissance of dining and development will become home to a slew of new establishments. At least 14 restaurants, cafes and breweries are planning to open their doors throughout the city this year.

Here’s what you can expect to see in 2019:
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Revolution Pie + Pint
This pizza joint is coming to the city’s downtown Grid District on Jan. 18. Revolution Pie + Pint t gets its name from the revolving pizza oven that cooks its pizzas at 850 degrees in less than two minutes. Diners can order custom pies or select one of the eatery’s signature pizzas.

The Worcester location will offer pies like the Becker pizza, featuring buffalo sauce, roasted chicken breast, mozzarella blend and red onion, and the City Hall pizza, featuring apple cider BBQ, smoked pulled pork, caramelized onion, cubed bacon and mozzarella blend.

And as its name suggests, the restaurant’s second claim to fame is its beverages. The location will have a number of local and regional craft beers on tap.

Craft Table & Bar
Craft Table & Bar, which already has a location in East Boston, is coming to Worcester Jan. 18 with polished casual cuisine.

Opening on Franklin Street in the lower level of the Bancroft Building, the restaurant will offer craft beer, wines, spirits and innovative dishes prepared from a scratch kitchen. Menu options will range from roasted lamb lollipops with mint infused demiglaze to lobster claw meat in a tomato vodka alfredo with fresh cavatappi pasta.