Located at a prominent Main Street intersection in downtown Worcester, this formerly vacant eight-story, 105,000-square-foot historic office building is a key element of the city’s ongoing revitalization. TAT’s sensitive adaptive reuse and renovation will create 55 mixed-income units, including 14 workforce housing apartments funded by Massachusetts’ pioneering Workforce Housing Initiative, as well as a vibrant mix of ground-floor retail uses.
Originally constructed in 1925, the Classical Revival-style building is listed on the State and National Register of Historic Places. Preservation work included a full restoration of the limestone façade and grand, vaulted entry, highlighted by refurbished historic pink and cream marble and terrazzo floors and framed by cove lighting along with brass and crystal lighting fixtures. The project team also restored copper and brass detailing on cornices, entry and elevator vestibules, and window surrounds. New, historically accurate windows and storefront assemblies maintain The Central Building’s original aesthetic appeal, while adding modern functionality. At mailrooms and other key areas, TAT’s interiors team preserved a prior renovation’s classic Midcentury Modern aesthetic, blending Classic Revival luxury with the chic flavor of midcentury wood paneling and streamlined furniture. The comprehensive revamp also cleverly integrates new mechanical, plumbing, and life safety systems, concealing them behind the building’s monumental barrel vault plaster ceilings.
For the residential conversion, the firm’s design approach gives careful attention to unit layouts, showcasing historically significant elements including marble elevator lobbies, plaster ceilings, and decorative trims. The unit mix includes one studio unit, 17 one-bedroom apartments, 34 two-bedroom apartments and three three-bedroom apartments. A compelling set of amenities takes full advantage of The Central Building’s impressive scale, and centers on a repurposed second-floor “Main Street” corridor, which serves as the central hub for communal activities. With a series of original skylights and ornamental pilasters left on display, TAT incorporated a new movie room, lounge, and community kitchenette to recreate this area as the “heart” of the building. Additional amenity spaces feature a bright, contemporary color and material palette, and include office areas with private work pods and high-end custom furnishings, a game room and play area with climbing wall, a pet spa, and a fully-equipped fitness center. With an advantageous location and design solutions that exceed the norm, local sources believe The Central Building will help Worcester become a true “18-hour city.”