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A comeback realized: $50M renovation of Skyview Downtown housing in Springfield draws praise

SPRINGFIELD — Local, state and federal officials gathered Tuesday to hail a completed $50 million renovation project at the Skyview Downtown housing complex on Chestnut Street, a comeback that they said ended decades of difficulties.


The four-building, 489-unit complex, known previously as Chestnut Park Apartments and Chestnut Tower, opened in 1976 as a luxury high-rise. But over the decades it fell into disrepair and experienced problems with crime.


Today, it has rebounded in line with improvements in that area of the downtown, local officials said. The renovation project was launched in 2019.


“This is a public-private partnership that we are very pleased to celebrate today,” said Jeffrey Brodsky, vice chairman of Related Companies, which took ownership of the complex in 2017. “But it started off with conversations with many of you here in the audience. What did you want to see, is what wanted to know.”


The complex includes 77 new workforce housing units that will be affordable to moderate-income households, and 22,000 square feet of commercial space.


U.S. Rep. Richard E. Neal and Mayor Domenic J. Sarno joined in praising the joint efforts to improve Skyview Downtown and the area.


“The stars were aligned,” Sarno said, citing the support from Neal and Gov. Charlie Baker and referring to Brodsky as “a man of your word.”


Neal said the project is a “great example” of local, state and federal partners working together to provide much needed improvements in a historic area of the city.


A low-income housing tax credit was critical for the project to proceed, as were other public sources of funding, Neal and others said.


“The low-income housing tax credit has proven once again to be a critical tool for revitalization that has a real, positive, lasting impact on our communities,” Neal said.


The renovations included extensive upgrades of all apartments, including new kitchens, baths and flooring, as well as redecorated hallways, said Related Companies. In addition, the owner invested in window facades; elevators; new heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems; plumbing work; accessibility upgrades; enhanced security; and free Wi-Fi for all apartments.


Related Companies also added a fitness center, resident lounge, workforce development center, computer room, laundry room, children’s playroom and on-site management office, the company said.


Agencies supporting the project with funding and tax credit assistance included the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the state Department of Housing and Community Development and MassHousing, a quasi-public housing finance agency.


Police commissioner Cheryl Clapprood and Sgt. Brian Elliott, of the downtown metro unit, said police calls to the complex have declined in recent years. They thanked the new owners for providing a home for a police substation on the Dwight Street side of the housing complex.


Others praising the renovations included Kay Simpson, president of the Springfield Museums, who said they will have a “long-lasting and transformative impact on downtown Springfield.” The exterior improvements that include the park and the outdoor gallery “serve as a welcoming gateway to the Springfield Museums,” she said.

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