Concept Plan

Concept Plan
Based on the above vision, the project team developed concepts for the West End that focus on 5 primary areas:
  • Delta Park/Former Hampden Steam Plant
  • Residential
  • The Gateway
  • The Mill Properties
  • The Riverfront
Focusing efforts on these key areas will have significant synergistic effects on the redevelopment potential of other properties in the West End.
Map of west end of Chicopee with areas highlighted and text showing development plans
Key Initiatives
The concept plan reactivates the neighborhood through the following key initiatives:

Redevelopment of the Cabotville & Lyman Mill Properties
These structures are currently underutilized and therefore detract from the neighborhood's appeal. The city should primarily focus its efforts on supporting or facilitating the redevelopment of the Cabotville Mill Complex in the near term based on the following traits:
  • Architecturally and historically significant
  • Can accommodate a large concentration of businesses and residents, which will generate further reinvestment in the West End
  • Located near valuable resources including the canal
  • Most prominent Brownfield site in the West End
  • Will likely stimulate reinvestment at the former Lyman Mill properties if redeveloped
Restore Environmental Health
The urban environment should be restored to conditions that are considered healthy for:
  • Biking
  • Recreating
  • Walking
  • Working
Create Public Amenities
There are opportunities to improve the West End through the creation of new public amenities, particularly a path and park along the canal. Such a path could connect the Connecticut Riverwalk and Bikeway Project to the Chicopee Canal and RiverWalk. A new path and park along the canal would increase the amount of open space in the West End and draw people to the neighborhood.

Improve Infrastructure
To support the redevelopment of mill buildings and encourage neighborhood revitalization, several infrastructure improvements are necessary. These include a water line replacement and possible road widening.

Change Circulation Several of the roadways in the West End only allow 1-way traffic, which has anecdotally hampered West End businesses. Converting them into 2-way streets would support businesses by enhancing their visibility and accessibility. It would also help to create a stronger link between the West End - the targeted Brownfield sites - and the regional transportation system.

Market Overview
FXM Associates prepared Technical Memorandum early in the planning process to assess key population, business and employment characteristics and trends affecting economic development potential in the City of Chicopee. Key findings include the following:
  • Businesses: There are an estimated 153 business establishments in the West End, accounting for more than 1,100 employees and nearly $119 million in annual business sales.
  • Employment: The West End has a lower percentage of employed residents (53%) than the city, Hampden County and Massachusetts. Additionally, the neighborhood has a higher percentage of blue collar workers (43%).
  • Manufacturing: There are approximately 12 manufacturers in the West End, 12% of all manufacturing establishments in the city.
  • Retail: The retail sector is the least represented industry group in the West End, accounting for less than 4 percent of all citywide retail jobs and business sales.
FXM also conducted Residential and Commercial Market Analyses as part of the AWP as summarized in the Technical Memorandum. Key findings include the following:

Market Analyses Findings
  • Industrial/Warehouse Space: There is steady, increasing demand for industrial space in the Chicopee-Holyoke-Springfield region and beyond, which could afford development opportunities in Chicopee. Based on the region's projected net absorption of 1,600,000 square feet of industrial space, over the next 5 years, Chicopee would have a net absorption of 435,000 square feet or approximately 90,000 square feet annually.
  • Office Space: The City of Chicopee overall currently holds about 5% of the Chicopee-Holyoke-Springfield regional office space inventory. Net absorption of 31,000 square feet is expected in the City of the next 5 years. To increase the amount of Office Space in the West End would require extraordinary measures to increase visibility within the regional market and development of competitive product and price offerings for conventional and/or niche office space users.
  • Rental Housing: The residential market assessment targeted households under age 35 and over age 55, such as:
    • Empty nesters
    • Graduate students
    • Retirees and
    • Temporary skilled workers at nearby healthcare, educational and technical centers
    • Young adults
    In other comparable urban areas, these market segments have been found to be the most likely to find urban rental housing attractive.
  • Retail Space: Based on analysis of historical and projected trends in the total inventory of retail space, vacancies rates, and planned and proposed developments, no net additions to the current inventory of retail space in the Chicopee-Holyoke-Springfield regional market are expected over the next several years. However, a Retail Opportunity/Gap Analysis reveals potential in specific retail categories that have the potential to ‘capture' more household expenditures within the market areas. These categories include:
    • Computer and software sales
    • Gifts and novelties
    • Hardware stores
    • Limited-service and specialty restaurants
    • Office supplies and stationary
The overall goal for the West End Brownfields Plan is to stir excitement for broader revitalization by enabling market-based change in the most significant properties - especially the Cabotville Mill Complex - while providing improvements for public accessibility, general cleanup of city properties and streets, and cooperative outreach to attract new commercial tenants.

A series of initial, short-term steps should be taken to promote the overall vision and advance the goals of the Implementation Plan. These steps include:
  • Advancing the primary redevelopment initiative
  • Design
  • General cleanup of public and private properties
  • Preliminary assessments
  • Targeted demolition and construction
Implementation Matrix
The Implementation Matrix provides a summary of the key actions to advance the AWP's goals while defining potential resources available to support the brownfields reuse process. Key actions include the following:

1st Steps
  1. Advance Cabotville Mill Phase I Reuse Project
  2. Improve water service to the Mill Complex
  3. Phase I Canalway - Improving city-owned property between the canal and Front Street
  4. Complete brownfield assessments
  5. Develop marketing partnerships
  6. Promote Gateway redevelopment
  7. Complete temporary brownfield improvements and cleanup
Key Mid-Term Projects
  1. Continue design and implementation of the Canalway project
  2. Address former Hampden Steam Plant and Delta Park properties
  3. Improve Water Department property
  4. Enhance riverfront access
  5. Consider creation of a Business Improvement District
  6. Complete Building and Sanitary Code review
  7. Review land use and zoning regulations
View the Documents page to view and/or download planning materials.