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FILE PHOTO The Fellows Gear Shaper Plant in Springfield, VT has been turned into an upscale business center, complete with a Great Hall to host meetings and art exhibits.

Historic manufacturing plant revamped into upscale business center

A Springfield, VT facility that once hummed with manufacturing activity as the Fellows Gear Shaper Plant has been renovated into an upscale business center.

The One Hundred River Street facility has had a $13 million make-over, according to Bob Flint, executive director of the Springfield Regional Development Corporation. James Ward, broker and owner of Equity Group Realtors, is the exclusive listing agent for the property.

Springfield Hospital has located its new Health Center in one wing of the building. Other tenants that would be an ideal fit for the center would be other health-related services, as well as businesses, schools, and other companies needing large space that offers several on-site amenities at a favorably low rental rate, said Ward.

“The Springfield Pharmacy recently located there, and owners of a deli and sandwich shop, to be named the Lunchbox Café, had signed a lease and [were] in the process of fitting up the restaurant space this spring,” he said.

Total space within the former manufacturing plant is about 200,000 square feet. Nearly 140,000 square feet of space was available during the spring, with lease rates ranging from $2 per square foot for lower-level space; about $10 per square foot for office space; and $12 per square foot for retail space. “We will rent space from 1,000 square feet to about 100,000 square feet,” Ward said.

River frontage, large windows, and the waterfalls by the building add to the appeal. Inside, there is a good deal of common area with natural light and high ceilings. There also are high ceilings in the Grand Hall, where several retail spaces are available; art exhibits and receptions also are held there.

“Cutting-edge, high-speed fiber-optic service, with broadband access using 4G/LTE [fourth-generation/long-term evolution] in the near future, help to make this facility an effective combination of the historic [building] and the state-of-the-art” technology, said Ward; 4G technologies provide voice, data, and multimedia streaming at speeds of at least 100 megabits per second and up to as fast as one gigabit per second.

A Washington, D.C.-based development group led by John Meekin and Rick Genderson used the name One Hundred River Street, LLC when purchasing the old Fellows property, and invested more than $1.5 million in site work.

Renovation funds came from a variety of sources. The State of Vermont contributed $110,000 used to address the site’s brownfield soil-contamination issues, and another $750,000 to install new safety systems, including sprinklers and emergency lighting. The Southern Windsor Regional Planning Commission contributed another $518,000 to the effort.

Brownfield sites have been identified as having some level of soil contamination that often resulted from the operation of industrial properties before the long-term hazards associated with those substances had been identified. The development or re-use of these sites requires remediation and monitoring for developers and the municipalities where such projects are located. The level of remediation required depends upon the property’s proposed future uses. For the developers and officials, the broader the range of acceptable uses, the brighter the prospects of finding the best future occupants for the property. v

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