A general contractor has been selected to manage the building of a major transportation project in western Massachusetts. A recent influx of federal funds has the long stalled redevelopment of Springfield’s derelict train station back on the fast track, as WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports
Springfield city officials Tuesday announced another significant step forward in the redevelopment of Union Station with the selection of Daniel O’Connell’s Sons of Holyoke as general contractor for the $45 million project. Company president Dennis Fitzpatrick said the new Union Station will be his firms latest signature project, locally, joining the Memorial Bridge and the Springfield Federal Courthouse.
Work is to begin in the fall to redevelop the old train station into a modern transportation center with facilities for Amtrak train service, commuter rail, intercity and public transit buses . Construction is to be finished within 2 years.
Efforts to redevelop Union Station, which closed in 1974, languished for decades. But now city officials say it is on the fast track, thanks in part to the Obama administration’s commitment to spend $1billion to expand high speed rail in the Northeast. Last month, US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was in Springfield to green light the Union Station project.
Kevin Kennedy, the city of Springfield’s chief development official said the commitment of federal money helped attract seven submissions from firms hoping to be selected as construction manager.
The project is expected to create 200 construction jobs. Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno said it is yet to be determined if it will be build with a project labor agreement with the local building trades council.
Sarno has called the redevelopment of Union Station crucial to the continued revitalization of Springfield in the aftermath of last year’s tornado.
Springfield has recently become a magnet for casino developers, who have been scoping out potential sites.