Daily News

DevelopSpringfield Forges Collaborations in Advance of Redevelopment

SPRINGFIELD — DevelopSpringfield acquired a vacant building at the corner of Dwight and Carew streets together with several adjacent parcels to create a large redevelopment site with the aim of bringing new vitality to the area by redeveloping a critically underutilized and vacant site.

The proposed redevelopment concept would rehabilitate the historic Carew Street Baptist Church building’s 11,680 square feet, in a historically sensitive manner, into modern, energy-efficient office space. The surrounding parcels, formerly a brownfields site, would be redeveloped into parking and landscaping. The project represents a more than $3 million investment in this section of Springfield’s North End.

As a part of this redevelopment initiative, DevelopSpringfield forged innovative partnerships with EcoBuilding Bargains (EBB), Roca, and Habitat for Humanity in an effort to reduce waste and recycle as much of the reusable interior furnishings and building materials as possible. In addition, the site is now secured with fencing salvaged from another recent DevelopSpringfield project.

“We appreciate the opportunity to engage with these organizations to help advance our common goals,” said Jay Minkarah, president and CEO of DevelopSpringfield. “Working together, we can really pay it forward.”

A team from Roca, a local organization dedicated to supporting high-risk young men from the community by providing them with mentoring and transitional employment-training assistance, removed salvageable items like church pews, radiators, an organ, and more, to be shared with EBB and Habitat. Roca also assisted in clearing brush and debris from the adjacent lots. No historically significant building features or fixtures were removed.

“It was Roca’s pleasure to participate in this exciting collaboration. Eighty-six percent of the young men we are privileged to serve here at Roca are from the city of Springfield, and it is wonderful to give them the opportunity to give back to their community,” said Chris Judd, director of Roca Springfield. “Young men work hard at Roca to learn new work skills that help them stay out of harm’s way and succeed, and this is exactly the kind of opportunity that help them and our community move forward.”

Both EBB and Habitat’s ReStore have programs to create treasure from salvage in the form of unique resale opportunities of donated household goods which provide each of their organizations with needed resources to support their important programming.

“We’re very excited to be working with DevelopSpringfield to help find new homes for these valuable materials,” said Amy Weber, eco sales specialist at EcoBuilding Bargains. “Our mission is to keep perfectly good materials out of landfills and make these available at bargain prices.”

EcoBuilding Bargains, located at 83 Warwick St. in Springfield, is an enterprise of the nonprofit Center for EcoTechnology. For information about how to donate materials to EcoBuilding Bargains, call Weber at (413) 341-0098.

This redevelopment will be exemplary of sustainable development and smart growth principles. Rehabilitating an existing building, rather than demolishing it and building new, uses less energy and fewer materials, and enhances sustainability by capturing the building’s ‘embodied energy’ — the energy consumed through the processes associated with constructing the building when it was originally built. The project will also result in the redevelopment of a former brownfields site and is located in a densely populated, walkable urban area at a location with excellent transit access.

The rehabilitated building will be energy-efficient, with a new, natural-gas-fired, forced-hot-air system and energy-efficient air conditioning, as well as energy-efficient windows and insulation. The redevelopment will also minimize water use and feature low-impact development with enhanced stormwater management.