| G. Michael Dobbs
SPRINGFIELD – The work on finishing Union Station is continuing and Springfield Redevelopment Authority (SRA) Christopher Moskal said the main construction on the rehabbed structure is done.
Now the contractors will be addressing the “punch list” of final details submitted by the architects, he told Reminder Publications.
There are extras details such as a break room for employees and a flagpole in the front of the terminal that would be undertaken, he said.
The Pioneer Valley Transit Authority will soon begin training its drivers on how to negotiate the hundreds of bus trips that will either start or stop at the terminal. Moskal added the PVTA would move its operations to the terminal in early April.
Leases for some of the retail space will soon be announced and Moskal said he anticipated the SRA board members would consider approving them at their next meeting.
He explained once the leases are signed there would be a build-out period between 60 and 75 days for the vendors to move into the space.
Moskal said there are on-going talks with interested parties for office space on the upper floors of the terminal.
Shortly furniture for the first floor of the terminal will be arriving and in March the security camera will be installed. Until Amtrak makes necessary modifications to the tracks it will keep its ticketing operations in its present trackside building, Moskal said.
Still under negotiations is the lease agreement between the SRA and Peter Pan Bus Lines and Greyhound, Moskal added.
The Request for Proposals (RFP) for a property manager for the terminal and the parking garage is now underway. Moskal said 16 entities have expressed interest in applying to run the buildings. A decision on the building manager should be made by the end of February.
Another RFP will be issued shortly for a company to operate the digital advertising billboards that will be in the terminal as well as the tunnel connecting to Lyman Street. The selected vendor would sell the advertising that would be seen on the screens.
In responding to recent media reports about the operating deficit faced by the Worcester Union Station project, Moskal reminded that Springfield’s Union Station had the advantage of $7.5 million issued annually in $500,000 increments by MGM. This will give the SRA assistance in operating deficits and should prevent any tax levy to support the building.
Moskal praised the historic displays created by the Springfield Museums that will be installed shortly at the terminal. There are two groups of exhibits – one set is about the city’s transportation history, while another features the history and artifacts of the terminal itself, built in 1926.
“The Museums has done an unbelievable job,” he said.