Inaugural WOOlympics a Huge Success
The first-ever WOOlympics drew a large crowd to Downtown Worcester in spite of frigid February temperatures. One hundred “Olympic” medals were awarded to those who donated canned goods upon entry for Worcester Community Fridges. A medal granted free admission for skating as well as a complimentary hot chocolate and a cookie from The Dogfather food truck. Over the course of the day, community members collected more than 150 pounds of canned goods to fully stock Worcester’s free fridges. We are grateful to WOOlympics’ chief sponsor, ComputerVault, for their financial support and lending their college interns to help staff the event. In addition to their generous sponsorship, ComputerVault also donated eight tickets to Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Central Mass & MetroWest. Attendees got friendly with mascots Trax from the Railers and Benji from Bay State Saving Bank while completing Olympic-themed crafts with Creative Hub and the Worcester Public Library. Competition grew fierce at the School Yahd’s family-friendly obstacle course and their life-sized Connect 4 game. Thank you to all who came out; we look forward to watching Worcesterites defend their medals at next year’s WOOlympics!
Two New Downtown Restaurants
Open in 2022
Have you noticed the construction fencing is down from The Mercantile Roof Top Bar & Restaurant? That can only mean one thing—a springtime grand opening! We encourage you to take a peek through the windows and check out the space as it nears completion. Furniture and fixtures are being installed to outfit the 500-seat restaurant for all of Worcester’s dining needs. Patrons can expect a combined indoor/outdoor space of 12,000 square feet at 2 Mercantile Street managed by the Broadway Hospitality Group. Three local restaurateurs are responsible for this exciting new addition Downtown: Joey Arcari, President & CFO Restaurants & Development, Stephen DeSousa, Partner & CEO, and Renata Valentin, Partner. Nearby, Ruth’s Chris has begun construction on a new upscale restaurant where they aim to create a 275-seat space in just under 8,300 square feet at 4 Mercantile Street by the summer of 2022. Owner of Franklin Realty Advisors and Managing Director of Mercantile Center Chip Norton shared, “We are delighted that both The Mercantile Roof Top Bar & Restaurant and Ruth’s Chris restaurant will provide enhanced dining experiences to complement the energetic business and residential communities as well as visitors to Downtown Worcester.” These two well-respected restaurant concepts will transform Mercantile Center Plaza into a premier food and entertainment destination Downtown. 
Photos/Matt Wright
What's New and Coming to 554 Main Street
We’re proud to share that 554 Main Street, purchased by The Menkiti Group in 2018, is undergoing active build-outs and ongoing negotiations for potential retail and office tenants. The full building renovation will feature a first-floor lobby and common areas to welcome office visitors and tenants. Current tenants include Center Stage Bistro—a full-service bar and restaurant owned by the founder of the nearby Theatre Café–and eMerge—a co-working space designed by creatives for creatives. The building was formerly home of the Small Business Service Bureau as well as the U.S. Presidential Museum, both owned by local entrepreneur Frank Carroll. Throughout the transition, the vacant space served as a canvas for the Downtown Worcester Business Improvement District’s first storefront activation project in 2020, highlighting our Downtown Worcester Placemaking Planning effort. The front-facing windows also hosted a spectacular lighting installation during the 2020-21 Festival of Lights, curated by the Creative Hub.
The Midtown Mall Gets a Face Lift
Felicio Lana of Northeast Properties purchased the three-story Midtown Mall along with the adjacent five-story commercial building at 12 Front Street in May of 2019. The property will soon host a rooftop Brazilian Steakhouse, the second of its kind—the first is located in the Seaport District of Boston. With scaffolding down, the fresh and modern glass facade reveals great progress toward the Midtown Mall’s rehabilitation. Lana estimates that the Mall’s main level has already reached 96% capacity. A health club, Worcester Common Fitness, is expected to move into the second floor while smaller shops, including long-time tenants Kim’s Jewelry & Gifts and Your Tattoo tattoo shop, as well as Doughnut Homies and a beer and wine store, are planned to inhabit the first floor. Doughnut Homies debuted at the Worcester Public Market in 2020; owner Hayleigh Noel envisions the Downtown location as a cafe where people can sit at the counter for a morning doughnut or coffee and work for a few hours. Doughnut Homies offerings will also include breakfast sandwiches, a gourmet avocado toast menu, flatbreads, and salads.
January Street Report
In January, our Downtown Worcester Ambassadors removed snow, ice, stickers, graffiti, and trash in a continued effort to beautify Downtown. Fifteen inches of snow fell throughout the month of January, resulting in the shoveling of over 450 block faces and more than 400 curb cuts. Our Ambassador’s spread nearly 6,000 pounds of ice melt to ensure the safety of visitors Downtown. In addition, Ambassadors removed over 1,300 pounds of trash to keep Downtown looking pristine for all to enjoy.
Save the Date:
March Community Meeting
Join us on Friday, March 11, from 9-10 a.m. for our monthly community meeting. Our meetings are always free and open to all. Closed captioning is available upon request at least 24 hours before the meeting. March topic for community meeting will cover Mercantile Center’s updates, including the Spring 2022 opening of The Mercantile Roof Top Bar & Restaurant.
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The focus of our Instagram page is to highlight the businesses and people of Downtown Worcester. Follow our page for our shop local/eat local series, community event announcements, did you know facts, and Downtown history.