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Worcester officials selected a developer that’s been active in recent downtown real estate projects to build a 233-unit apartment complex at a former department store property.

The Menkiti Group was the choice of the Worcester Redevelopment Authority to build housing at the former Denholm & McKay site at 484-500 Main St.

“This is an enormously important project for the city of Worcester in terms of the development of downtown, and it’s a very significant project in this location directly across from the City Hall,” Worcester Redevelopment Authority Chair Michael Angelini said, adding that timing could be key to the project’s success. “We understand that financial markets aren’t always stable, nor are they ever predictable, and the success of this project depends to some extent on those markets.”

A report released this week by CBRE tracked a sharp downturn in lending for commercial real estate in the past 12 months.

The agency issued a request for proposals in November, setting a minimum bid of $3 million. The Menkiti Group submitted plans for 233 apartments and 10,000 square feet of retail space in a pair of new 10- and 11-story buildings.

After tabling the approval at a previous meeting, board members asked The Menkiti Group for details about compliance with the city’s responsible employer ordinance, which requires contractors working on publicly-funded projects to pay prevailing wages and participate in apprenticeship programs.

Brian Rennie, vice president of general contractor Bozzuto Construction, told board members on Thursday that approximately 40 percent of the firm’s projects include public jurisdictions with employment requirements. The responsible employer ordinance language will be included in the firm’s development agreement and its agreements with subcontractors, Rennie said.

A land disposition agreement is expected to be finalized by Sept. 1, redevelopment authority officials said.

Washington, D.C.-based Menkiti Group, which has offices in Worcester, has been active in redevelopment projects including housing and commercial space.

The property is located next to the Chatham Lofts property, where The Menkiti Group completed a 24-unit apartment conversion in late 2021.

In July, The Menkiti Group closed on the acquisition of 526 Main St. for a historic rehab project including retail, coworking and makerspace.

MassDevelopment selected Menkiti Group as preferred redeveloper of the property, which it acquired in 2017 through its Transformative Development Initiative program in Gateway Cities.

Menkiti Group Picked for High-Profile Downtown Worcester Project

by Steve Adams time to read: 2 min