May 15, 2019

Worcester Memorial Auditorium reuse recommendations to be unveiled May 28

Courtesy | Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre
Worcester Memorial Auditorium

Worcester and a Boston-based historic preservation architect firm are narrowing in on a reuse plan for the Worcester Memorial Auditorium.

At a Tuesday budget hearing, City Manager Edward Augustus said the city is in negotiations with the Architectural Heritage Foundation on recommendations for the reuse of the 87-year-old building. Those recommendations could be unveiled at the City Council's May 28 meeting.

"This would take us to the next level," Augustus said.

Architectural Heritage Foundation, on its website dedicated to the project, said the 138,200-square-foot building could be repurposed for several uses, including a multi-use, high-tech performance space or IMAX-type movie theater in the Little Theater, a restaurant and function hall for the War Memorial and lobby and a performance space for the main auditorium.

Other parts of the building could become dining facilities, retail shops or office space.

Those uses, listed on the company's website, are only suggestions and not the firm's final recommendations to be unveiled later this month.

The building, known colloquially as the Aud, is the last of three large, formerly vacant buildings in Lincoln Square without a redevelopment plan.

Both the former Worcester County Courthouse and Lincoln Square Boys Club are being redeveloped into apartments and as a school for children with autism, respectively.

Augustus said a reuse project would complete the triple crown of redevelopment projects in Lincoln Square.

"That's really critical to the whole strategy of … linking up North Main Street with Gateway Park, the Highland Street area … and bring back that vigor to that area of Main Street," he said.

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