Page 11 - BusinessWest April 28, 2021
P. 11

 Nadim Kashouh says the return of office workers will be critical to the success of businesses downtown.
Father’s Day, when he struggled mightily to keep up with a flood of takeout orders. Gymnastics — in the form of youth
competitions featuring teams from across New England — were returning to the MassMutual Center for the first time in more than a year. And Kashouh’s eatery, Nadim’s Downtown Mediterranean Grill, located just a block from the convention center, always does well when the gym- nasts come to town.
of progress in Springfield, it has also provided an opportunity to step back, look at some of the key development challenges and opportunities in the city, and work to be ready for the proverbial ‘other side’ of the pandemic. That’s been the case with two key areas downtown — the area around MGM Springfield, which is underperforming
in many ways, and the so-called ‘blast zone,’ the area surrounding the site of the natural-gas explosion in November 2012 (more on these later).
 “If they turn right when they leave the building, they find us — and a lot of them do turn right,” said Kashouh, noting that not many people have been coming to town, as in down- town, since COVID changed the landscape in March 2020. “It’s excit- ing to have the gymnastics back.”
“Some of the outcomes resulting
from the funding that came from the
tornado assistance were transformative
for Springfield. And we’re looking to
   And there are other signs of life as well. The AHL’s Springfield Thunder- birds are not playing hockey — they
are one of three teams in the league
to essentially opt out of play in a abbreviated 2021 season — but they
are gearing up for the 2021-22 slate,
and management is optimistic there
will be considerable pent-up demand for their product (see related story on page
Meanwhile, in Pynchon Plaza, various works
by the sculptor Don Glummer are now on dis- play, yet another sign that the Quadrangle, one of the city’s tourism mainstays, is moving ever closer to something approaching normal (see related story on page 14).
While COVID has certainly slowed the pace
 similarly deploy, very strategically, the
resources we have from the rescue plan
“Our thought process throughout this has been to take the mindset, ‘once we’re through it, we want to be ready to go,’” Sheehan said. “And some of the funding that is coming will be able to help those initiatives be realized.”
For this latest installment of its Community Spotlight series, BusinessWest takes an in-depth
Continued on page 13
  so that we have a similar result.
 will return, casting the future of the office towers that dominate the skyline into doubt.
But there are some signs of life and abun- dant optimism for the balance of this year and beyond.
Indeed, as he talked with BusinessWest on a quiet late Tuesday afternoon, Nadim Kashouh was looking forward to the upcoming weekend — moreso than any time probably since last
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Staff Photo

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