The Economic Development Administration, an agency of the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, has awarded Holyoke Community College and the HCC Foundation $1.55 million to renovate the lower floors of The Cubit building in downtown Holyoke for the school's new Center for Hospitality and Culinary Arts.
Once completed, the center will occupy the first and second floors of the historic building at the corner of Appleton and Race streets, near the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center and the city's new cobblestone Canal Walk and bridge.
"This is an exciting federal grant that will bring economic development and more pedestrian traffic to downtown Holyoke," U.S. Congressman Richard E. Neal said in advance of a press conference on Friday, Jan. 29. "It will also help continue the renovation and transformation of a historic factory that has been in the city for 95 years. Hospitality and culinary arts are growing fields, and I am pleased that Holyoke Community College is using these resources to locate their new center in the Cubit Building.
This grant, when combined with previously announced state funds and additional resources from the HCC Foundation, will allow for the relocation and expansion of HCC's Hospitality and Culinary Arts programs to the new facility in Holyoke's Innovation District.
The project is expected to be completed by January 2017. The new facility is expected to allow HCC to double the number of students enrolled in the two programs from 60 to 120.
"The money the EDA delivers, which is for renovations, is going to complement the $1.75 million the state is giving us for equipment," HCC president Bill Messner said last week. "We've been very fortunate to get these funds, without which we wouldn't be able to do this project. Our hope is that a year from now we'll be moving in and fully operational."
Messner thanked Rep. Neal and U.S. senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey for their work in obtaining the grant.
"I'm very glad this federal grant will help support the expansion of Holyoke Community College's Hospitality and Culinary Arts programs as they relocate to a new facility in Holyoke's Innovation District," said Warren. "HCC does a terrific job giving local students quality training that prepares them for good careers, and this federal funding recognizes the value of that education."
"This project is a great example of the economic opportunities that are created when local, state and federal resources collaborate," said U.S. Sen. Edward Markey. "Holyoke continues to bring together key stakeholders throughout the community, like Holyoke Community College, who, with the leadership of Holyoke mayor Alex Morse, are moving Holyoke forward."
The HCC Foundation, the nonprofit fundraising arm of HCC, will serve as landlord to the college for the duration of the initial 15-year lease.
For media coverage of Friday's event, please go to:
PHOTOS by CHRIS YURKO: (Left) Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse and U.S. Congressman Richard Neal pose with HCC president Bill Messner and students and staff from HCC's Culinary Arts program. (Right) Congressman Richard Neal announces a $1.55 million federal grant to renovate The Cubit building in downtown Holyoke for HCC's new Center for Hospitality and Culinary Arts.