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PVPC moves downtown

Date: 9/8/2009

By Courtney Llewellyn

Reminder Assistant Editor

SPRINGFIELD -- Businessman Zane Mirkin stated at the opening of the building at 60 Congress St. that the City of Homes should be known as "the City of Jobs." He and his partner, Jerome Gagliarducci, took a step in that direction by purchasing the foreclosed property and bringing it back to life -- and now the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PVPC) will call Springfield its home.

The building at 60 Congress St. stood vacant for more than three years before Mirkin and Gagliarducci bought it and invested nearly $4 million in its renovation. The building was secured through R.J. Greeley Co., and Caolo & Beiniek Associates, Saloomey Construction and Eastfield Glass are working together to finish the project.

"The city was extremely helpful in making this a reality," Bob Greeley, principal of R.J. Greeley Co., said. He added that part of that help came specifically from Mayor Domenic Sarno, who Greeley said "bleeds Springfield blood."

City officials helped obtain a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) plan for the project as well as state tax credits.

Sarno said the reopened building is "a piece of the puzzle" to revitalizing the city. "Now is the time to do business with Springfield," he stated. "The glass if half-full. We are open for business."

He added that the city worked hard to lure the PVPC from its old space across the river in West Springfield. The PVPC is the first tenant in the building and is housed on the first two floors; the top two floors, 6,000 square feet each, are still available.

Curtis Edgin, an architect with Caolo & Bieniek Associates, said he wanted to design office space for a wide variety of tenants in the renovated building, and focused on modernization and energy efficiency.

Why does Edgin believe this is a good place for business? "It has high visibility -- you can see it from I-91 and I-291," he explained. "It's easy to get to." He continued that the renovation was a good way to bring the building back to life.

In addition to bringing a new business into the city, the Congress Street location will also be adding approximately 50 employees of the PVPC to the downtown crowd.

Borrowing a line from Lt. Gov. Tim Murray's press conference on the revitalization of the brownfield site in Indian Orchard, Sarno said this move is an important one, because it is about "jobs, jobs, jobs."