Evan Plotkin can look out the windows of his offices on the 14th floor at 1350 Main St. and see many signs of progress, and momentum, in downtown Springfield.
Across neighboring Court Square, the renovated hotel at 31 Elm St. that had been vacant and deteriorating for years is getting set to welcome its first residential tenants. Meanwhile, the park itself is undergoing a much-anticipated, $6 million facelift.
Further south on Main Street, Plotkin, president of the real-estate company NAI Plotkin, referenced the so-called Clocktower Building and, behind it, the Colonial Block, two more mostly vacant, underutilized properties that are being targeted, like the former Court Square Hotel, for market-rate housing that is expected to bring more people, vibrancy, and opportunities for retail and hospitality businesses to the downtown.
Gesturing in a different direction, he referenced the new parking garage rapidly taking shape where the dilapidated Civic Center garage once stood. That garage and accompanying facilities are expected to provide another jolt of energy downtown, he noted, and be much more than a place to park cars.
“There’s new energy coming into the city,” he said, noting that he met with the Chicago-based group named the preferred developer of the Clocktower Building and Colonial Block project, and came away impressed with their enthusiasm for doing something in Springfield. “I think we’re really turning a corner; I think we’re at a tipping point.”