Taylor Street Dental Revitalizes Historic Stacy Building
Reason to Smile
The new logo for Taylor Street Dental doesn’t picture anything, well, dental. No mouth, no teeth, no dental chair or examination equipment.
It’s a building. An important building, said Dr. David Peck.
“We wanted to meld this old, historic building with our dental practice — meld them together, old and new,” he said of the logo, but also of his practice itself, which for 30 years had been known simply as David I. Peck, DMD and been housed in a storefront on Worthington Street, in downtown Springfield’s club district.
But he was looking to move, and became intrigued by the Stacy Building a block away — its striking architecture, solid bones, and storied history, but also its proximity to where he had been treating patients for three decades.
“I knew I wanted to move the practice into another building, to expand and gain more space,” Peck told BusinessWest. “I started looking in the city. I could have gone to the suburbs — Longmeadow, East Longmeadow, Wilbraham — but I’ve been downtown 30 years, and I really believe my success is due to the city of Springfield — due to all my patients, past and present, who had no problem coming to downtown Springfield. I felt like it was time to pay it forward by building them an office where they’re comfortable and happy and feel great about the surroundings.”
He found it in the Stacy Building on Taylor Street, which he bought in 2013 from Plotkin Associates and now houses 3,700 square feet of dental space on the fourth floor — a striking top-level office boasting plenty of exposed brick, chestnut beams and columns, skylights, and barn-style sliding doors.
“We wanted to keep all the old parts of the building that are so beautiful — the large windows, the wood beams and columns,” he explained. “Construction always takes longer than you expect, but we finally moved in this past August.”
One aspect of the project that caused delays was making sure the building was completely handicapped-accessible, including installation of a new, larger elevator cab that opens to both the lobby of the building and at ground level; previously, the lobby was accessible by stairs only.
“We wanted to make sure all my patients, young and old, could get from the ground floor to the fourth-floor office,” Peck said. “We now have handicapped accessibility to all four floors.”
That’s just one element that pleases him about the building, which still houses NAI Plotkin on the first floor and two marketing agencies on the second. The third floor has 2,500 square feet of space yet to be leased, in addition to some conference space for Taylor Street Dental.
“The building looks as good as it does because of the hard work of Laplante Construction in East Longmeadow,” Peck said. “They were pivotal in the design and construction and successful outcome of this building. We owe them a debt of gratitude for doing such an amazing job.”
Old and New
The Stacy Building is best-known as the place where brothers Charles and Frank Duryea built the first American gasoline-powered car in 1893. Within a few years, they were making 13 cars a year there.
“The building was in good condition, but I knew I wanted the dental office on the fourth floor, which was small offices, so we demoed the third and fourth floor, modernized it, sandblasted the brick to keep the aesthetics of the brick, kept the beams and the wood columns, and cleaned up the molding around the large windows.”
The space now boasts nine treatment areas, up from five on Worthington Street, and Peck is looking to add staff — he currently employs 11, including two other dentists — to make use of the additional space.
“We renovated all new — we didn’t even bring any of our existing equipment over,” he said, referring to state-of-the-art devices like CT scanners, medical lasers for treatment of soft tissue, and movie-projecting goggles for patients to wear during their procedures. “We wanted all brand-new equipment.”
The construction work isn’t totally complete, however, as exterior façade work will continue in the spring. But the Stacy Building has taken a big step into the 21st century, with a new, more efficient HVAC system, a new fire-alarm system, and new lighting.
“We totally converted the entire building to LED lighting. My daughter, a civil engineer, said, ‘Dad, you’ve got to go LED and be as green as you can.’ So, as a tribute to my daughter, I changed out all the fluorescent lights in the whole building.”
Peck’s patients have already expressed approval of the new office.
“Let me tell you — when patients come here, their mouths drop open. They love it. They say, ‘as comfortable as I felt with you in the other office, Dr. Peck, I’m so much more comfortable here in the new office.’ They say when they come in, they feel even more relaxed, more comfortable, more at peace. When you go to the dentist, you’re nervous, but they feel like they’ve come into a spa environment; their anxiety and nervousness is at a much lower level. They come in and say, ‘it’s just like a spa. I want to sit here and never leave.’”
Those are compliments he relishes.
“It’s just a nice feeling. That’s what I want to do. With any business establishment, you want to provide the very best for your patrons, customers, patients,” he said, adding, “my wife, Susan, was very much involved in helping me design this. We have a partnership; we’ve been married for 35 years, and we just love designing together. I thank my wife for helping me make this place such a success, and something that’s so beautiful for my patients.”
Those patients visit Peck for a full range of general, cosmetic, and implant dentistry, he explained, adding that he designed his practice as a one-stop site for dental needs — and, now, a coffee bar with USB chargers.
Those are the sort of funky touches that appeal to a downtown Springfield clientele, one that doesn’t necessarily need a storefront window to draw them in. Parking is plentiful, he added, from validation at a neighboring parking garage to on-street spaces to a small lot dedicated to Taylor Street Dental. “We try to give patients every reason to come to us.
“I bought this place because I wanted to stay in Springfield,” he went on. “It’s a gorgeous building. Just look at it from the outside — I love the way the building looks in springtime, when the trees bloom. It is an absolutely gorgeous building, and with the architecture, the way the brick is laid, the façade, and even the windows, I fell in love with the building.”
Peck’s clear affection for his location explains the logo. “This melding of the dental practice with the historic building creates — as corny as it sounds — a marriage made in heaven,” he told BusinessWest. “It feels great when I come in here. It’s amazing, the beauty they were able to build into it back then, without the heavy machinery we have now. I love coming in here every day.”
The Duryea Historical Society sent Peck a plaque for the office, and when he schedules a grand-opening celebration, he’s going to try to get some Duryea descendants to join in, if only to celebrate another success story in a city seeing more of them these days.
“There’s a perception that Springfield is unsafe. But I’ve been here 30 years; I’ve walked out at 12, 1 in the morning. I’ve never had a problem,” he said. “I love Springfield, and Springfield loves us. I think about times when people felt more positive about the city they work and live in, but they should appreciate what they have here in Springfield. We have museums at the Quadrangle, the Basketball Hall of Fame, MGM wants to come in … these are all positive things. It’s a beautiful city, so let’s start appreciating what we have and stop bashing it.”
That’s why he refuses to discount the City of Homes, but rather continue to support it — with a highly visible investment in the future of its downtown.
“I’ve seen other business around downtown Springfield that had no interest in staying, but not Taylor Street Dental,” he said. “We’re here to stay for the long term.”
Joseph Bednar can be reached at [email protected]