October 17, 2018
The Menkiti Group, through its subsidiary 526 Main Street Partners LLC, has executed a purchase and sale agreement with MassDevelopment to buy 526-538 Main Street in Worcester, the former Pawn Shop building that MassDevelopment bought last year through its Transformative Development Initiative (TDI) Equity Investment program. MassDevelopment purchased the building in 2017 and made façade improvements before soliciting interest from developers through an RFP process.
The Menkiti Group, an integrated real estate services company, submitted a comprehensive proposal to reactivate the building by providing opportunities for retail, arts, and cultural amenities that will reinforce the neighborhood’s identity as a destination for arts and entertainment. The sale is expected to close in spring 2019.
“Our anticipated purchase of 526-528 Main Street will add to The Menkiti Group’s growing portfolio of projects in the Worcester Theater District, and further demonstrates our commitment to that neighborhood and to its future,” said Bo Menkiti, Founder and CEO of The Menkiti Group. “We recognize the significant architectural, cultural, and educational community assets that are here, and we look forward to working with existing stakeholders, local creatives, and entrepreneurs to enhance and harness those assets to develop a thriving, diverse, and economically vibrant neighborhood.”
“The Menkiti Group has a strong presence here in Worcester’s TDI District and throughout the city, and is the right team to lead 526-538 Main Street into the next stage of development,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Lauren Liss. “MassDevelopment was proud to invest in this key property through our TDI Equity Investment program and we look forward to seeing this revitalized building breathe new life into downtown Worcester.”
The redevelopment of 526-538 Main Street, a two-story building located across the street from the Hanover Theatre and Conservatory in Worcester’s Theatre District, is critical to advancing the city’s vision for transforming its downtown. Following the departure of the Pawn Shop from the building in March 2018, 526-538 Main Street contains 8,000 square feet of vacant space on the building’s first floor and 8,400 square feet of vacant space on the building’s second floor. The Muse Bar, a contemporary bar established in 2015, occupies 1,000 square feet on the building’s first floor. Since MassDevelopment purchased the building in 2017, the Agency worked with the Theatre District Alliance to install new signage that visually improved the building and marketed the property.
“As our downtown revitalization efforts continue with a complete re-imagining of Main Street, reactivating this key property in our Theatre District is a vital piece of our overall development plan,” said City Manager Edward M. Augustus. “We thank MassDevelopment and the Menkiti Group for making this important project a reality through the TDI program.”
MassDevelopment’s Transformative Development Initiative is a program for Gateway Cities designed to accelerate economic growth within focused districts. The program works with cross-sector partnerships to engage community members in actionable planning, implement local economic development initiatives, and spur further public and private investment.
MassDevelopment uses its TDI Equity Investment program to make equity investments in properties with potential to spur transformative development in and around a TDI District. Through the program, MassDevelopment invests in near-term projects that will have significant economic impacts within a district; are consistent with Commonwealth and Agency priorities; engage and build capacity in local communities and partners; catalyze market demand and support district goals; and lack other sufficient funding sources to proceed.
Worcester is one of 10 Gateway Cities selected in 2014 to host pilot TDI Districts—along with Brockton, Everett, Haverhill, Holyoke, Lynn, Malden, New Bedford, Peabody, Pittsfield, Revere, and Springfield. As a part of the TDI program, each District receives a range of real estate development services to support local visions for redevelopment and to catalyze economic activity and investment. The vision for Worcester’s Theatre District is to become a bustling hub of cultural activity and entertainment within the downtown, leveraging institutional, residential, and commercial growth anchors to create a mixed-use neighborhood for residents and visitors alike to live, work, and play.
“The announcement of this sale is an exciting development in bolstering the great momentum that the Theatre District is currently witnessing,” said Craig Blais, President and CEO of the Worcester Business Development Corporation (WBDC). “This purchase is yet another example of MassDevelopment’s TDI investment programs and the indelible impact that they continue to have within the Theatre District. The 526 Main Street property has long been viewed as a distress property and the WBDC commends the Menkiti Group’s willingness to take on this difficult property. This complements our block by block strategy connecting CitySquare to Main Street.”
“The 526-538 Main Street building had been a real detractor to the area until MassDevelopment purchased it,” said Hanover Theatre President and CEO Troy Siebels. “We’re glad to see that they’ve identified a buyer in Menkiti Group that’s committed to using the building in a way that contributes positively to the theatre district.”
MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, financial institutions, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2018, MassDevelopment financed or managed 384 projects generating investment of more than $4.1 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are estimated to create or support 10,994 jobs and build or rehabilitate 830 housing units.
Kelsey Schiller, MassDevelopment
617-330-2011 & 617-694-9695 (cell)