Tower Square Hotel deal with Marriott extended while MassMutual continues effort to sell hotel, office tower, mall
Marriott's deal to manage the 265-room Tower Square Hotel has been extended by two months until at least mid-to-late February, both hotel management and MassMutual, owner of the Tower Square complex, said Monday.
"After that, we will transition," said hotel general manager Bill Hess. "Or we could be here after February."
Hess declined to say what the next step in that transition might look like, deferring questions on long-term prospects to MassMutual.
But the deal means the hotel will stay open and operating and guests will still be able to use the Marriott online and telephone booking system and earn and use Marriott Rewards frequent customer points.
The hotel has 120 employees, Hess said.
James Lacey, head of media relations and strategic communications at Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, wrote in an email to The Republican on Monday that there is nothing new to report on the potential sale of the Tower Square hotel, office tower or mall.
Boston-based CBRE/New England is marketing all three, said David J. Pergola, CBRE/New England executive vice president and partner, who represents the tower and mall, and Dave McEcelroy, senior vice president of hotel brokerage and investment services, who is handling the sale of the hotel.
Marriott's deal to manage the hotel at 2 Boland Way was scheduled to expire Dec. 15.
In June, Lacey cited the end of that agreement as one reason why MassMutual was putting the complex on the market 45 years after developing it as a means of rejuvenating downtown Springfield. He also said MassMutual sees the property as an investment and feels that the property has gained value with the MGM Springfield casino project nearing completion.
While Marriott continued running the hotel, its name came off this summer.
MassMutual is also selling Steiger Park, a 45,000-square-foot parcel at the corner of Main and Bridge Streets, across Main Street from Tower Square. The land -- referred to by MassMutual as Tower Square Park -- was once the site of Steiger's department store.
The Tower Square properties could be sold separately or together, MassMutual has said.
Consolidation in the hotel industry might also complicate matters. Marriott now also owns the Sheraton brand name after buying Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide in 2016 for $13 billion. Paul Picknelly owns and operates the 325-room Sheraton Hotel across Boland Way from Tower Square and connected to it via an airwalk.
Completed in 1971 on a 4-acre block at the intersection of Bridge and Main streets in downtown Springfield, MassMutual built Tower Square in cooperation with civic and business leaders interested in sparking a downtown resurgence.
Tower Square, originally called Baystate West, has 1.6 million square feet of space -- about the same size as Holyoke Mall at Ingleside. At Tower Square, 370,000 square feet of space is in the 28-floor office tower.
MassMutual has not announced an asking price for Tower Square. The city of Springfield has the whole complex assessed at $34.2 million.