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Congressman Richard Neal

Representing the 1st District of Massachusetts

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DevelopSpringfield gets $1.1 million federal grant for rehab of historic Maple Street building

October 6, 2017
In The News

SPRINGFIELD -- U.S. Rep. Richard E. Neal announced a $1.1 million federal grant on Friday that will be used by DevelopSpringfield to complete rehabilitation of a historic building at 77 Maple St. for office and entrepreneurial uses.

The $1,136,124 grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) will target the former Springfield Female Seminary building at that address. That project, coupled with two adjacent renovated sites, is being developed by DevelopSpringfield as the Lower Maple Business Park.

"This is a significant funding piece that helps us drive forward with this project," said Nick Fyntrilakis, chairman of the DevelopSpringfield board. "The project is an entrepreneurial center providing space and support for start-ups, space they need to excel."

Neal, a Springfield Democrat, said the former school building at 77 Maple St., constructed in 1832, "is one of only 25 known, still-standing buildings in Springfield to pre-date 1835." It is on the National Register of Historic Places.

"By saving this historic treasure and transforming it into a hub for small business use, the team at DevelopSpringfield once again shows what can be done to revitalize our downtown," Neal said.

The building is adjacent to the the historic Merrick-Phelps House, at 83 Maple St., which has been rehabilitated and is also part of the business park. There is also a carriage house to the rear of 77 Maple St. that is part of the project.

Fyntrilakis praised Neal and the U.S. senators in Massachusetts for their efforts, saying the grant is a "critical investment in this strategic redevelopment" for small business developments.

"The rehabilitation of this historic property will help strengthen this vital corridor and complement other projects taking place in the neighborhood," Fyntrilakis said.

"Simply put, this over $1 million award is a jobs generator," Mayor Domenic J. Sarno said.

The Springfield Female Seminar building was purchased from the Springfield Preservation Trust in 2014 for $35,000.

The total cost of the project at 77 Maple St. is more than $1.4 million due to its historic conditions and complexities to full interior and exterior rehab, Fyntrilakis said.

"We need to invest to make it right," he said, noting that the work should take 18 to 24 months to complete.