A major move forward was announced Wednesday in downtown Springfield on the long-awaited project to renovate the historic Court Square Hotel, which will include new apartments and retail opportunities in the city.

SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- A major move forward was announced Wednesday in downtown Springfield on the long-awaited project to renovate the historic Court Square Hotel, which will include new apartments and retail opportunities in the city.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, Congressman Richard Neal, and other local leaders met today to announce Fontaine Brothers as the general contractor for the building project, which will provide new housing, dining, and shopping in the downtown area.

“My family has been working on this project for almost 30 years. It’s a bear of a project and it took a whole team effort to get where it is today. This building will be accomplished,” said Springfield-area business leader Peter Picknelly, Jr.

Picknelly is excited to announce the next step in the process to resurrect the old Court Square Hotel at 31 Elm Street, a historic building that has been vacant for over 30 years.

Fontaine Bros. Inc., which has been chosen to lead the project, is a local company also involved in the construction of MGM Springfield and the MassMutual Center. Vice president David Fontaine, Jr. called the selection an honor.

“I grew up in this area, I still live in this area, and for me, downtown continuing to be revitalized, continuing to give folks a place that they can live work and play downtown is transformational for the city,” Fontaine noted.

Fontaine told Western Mass News that there will be 74 apartment units in the building with plans to use the first floor for fine dining and retail space.

The funding, which exceeds $50 million, is being pooled from both public and private groups, including MassMutual, MassHousing’s workforce housing initiative, and MGM Springfield.

Neal said this would not have been possible without tax credits set aside years ago.

“We played an instrumental role in saving the historic tax credits and new markets tax credits and the low-income housing tax credits against long odds in 2017,” Neal explained.

The announcement has Audrin Desardouin, owner of L&A Fine Men’s Shop, excited at the prospect of new business.

“I am very excited about that because I think it will bring some new business in downtown and we need more conservative foot traffic in downtown too,” Desardouin said.

The project will get underway towards the end of 2021 with a target completion date about two years from now.

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