What's Wrong With Worcester? A Story of Stalled Revitalization

The $565 million CitySquare project was supposed to spark the revitalization of Worcester's downtown. But 10 years later, the 21 acre site is home to vacant sites and outdated buildings. What went wrong?
October 18, 2013, 9am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"In many ways, Worcester has the ingredients to prosper: It is the second-largest city in New England and home to 10 colleges and universities, including University of Massachusetts Medical School, College of the Holy Cross, and Clark University. It has respected cultural institutions, including an art museum with an impressive, encyclopedic collection amassed during Worcester’s industrial heyday in the early 20th century; diverse industries, like medical, insurance, and biotech; and commuter trains to Boston," writes Lonnie Shekhtman.

"But few cite the downtown area as one of the attractions. One reason could be the gap between the city’s vision of pedestrian-friendly streetscapes and a vibrant commercial sector, and developers’ goals to attract corporate tenants to realize a return on their investments."

In that gap sits the stalled CitySquare project, a cautionary tale of the pitfalls of focusing on big developments. 

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Published on Tuesday, October 15, 2013 in The Boston Globe
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