Related Companies, owners of Springfield’s beleaguered 489-unit Chestnut Park high-rise apartment complex, have changed the name of Chestnut Tower to Skyview Downtown just before construction begins on $50 million worth of top-to-bottom renovations.
The name started appearing in March 2019 in ads soliciting tenants for 1-, 2-, or 3-bedroom affordable housing apartments at the 44-year-old complex near Springfield’s downtown. Prospective tenants will enter a lottery for apartments as they become available and must earn between $33,900 and $79,650 a year, according to the ad.
At 289 feet (88 meters), the 33-story main tower is the fourth-tallest building in Springfield, but as it is seated on higher ground, Skyview Downtown appears taller.
Once marketed as luxury living when it opened in 1976, Chestnut Tower — or Chestnut Park Apartments as it was once called — has been in rough shape for some time, with crime and upkeep issues being constant complaints.
Springfield Chief Development Officer Kevin Kennedy said Related is trying to set a new tone for the complex and get away from the negative associations with Chestnut Tower.
Springfield Police have already opened the new Metro Unit Substation at 75 Dwight St. in one corner of the complex.
The parking structure adjacent to the substation will also be part of the city’s new Fresh Paint Springfield mural program, Kennedy said.
“It’s all in line with the renewal of downtown Springfield,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy said work will start this month.
He featured the new Skyview Downtown as part of his recent economic development update for the Springfield Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Illustrations that Related provided to Kennedy show cafes and other retail in the first-floor space on Dwight Street.
Related, which owns affordable housing complexes all over the country, took over management at Chestnut Park in 2017. It has had an ownership stake in the complex since 1996, but was not managing it.
Earlier this year, Related shifted ownership of Chestnut Towers between business entities it controls, with the on-paper selling price of $12 million.
Earlier this year, MassHousing, the state’s quasi-public housing finance agency, agreed to provide $50 million in affordable financing to Related at Chestnut. It’s part of an agreement that will raise $87 million to refinance the purchase and renovation of the complex.
Related promises all-new windows, revamped apartments and amenities, including a fitness center, resident community space, workforce development training center, children’s playroom and a computer lab.
For more on this story, go to Mass Live.