CategoriesProperty Update

Table Talk Pies Begins Construction on New Facility

The coronavirus pandemic has done all it could to dismantle Worcester’s Renaissance. Dozens of restaurants across the city navigate through uncertain futures. Concert and performance venues have been emptied for months. College campuses are vacant.

On Thursday, though, Worcester fought back with a pair of ceremonies that injected life into the city’s future.

City officials celebrated as the final beam of steel became part of Polar Park in the morning. A few hours later, many of the same faces broke ground on Table Talk Pies’ 120,000-plus square foot bakery within the former Crompton & Knowles Complex in the Main South Neighborhood.

“Its perfect bookends to a great day in Worcester,” City Manager Edwards Augustus Jr. said. “I’ll tell you, 2020 has been a sucky year in Worcester, a sucky year in the country between COVID and all sorts of other challenges, but it’s so nice to have days like today where we can remind ourselves of all the progress that’s going on in the city.”

Despite all the speed bumps 2020 laid out in front of each project, officials said Polar Park is scheduled to be complete on time in April of 2021, and Table Talk Pies’ facility should open in August of 2021.

When the company announced the project in January, the original completion date for the new bakery was June of next year.

The delays haven’t soured Table Talk Pies owner Harry Kokkinis.

“The one advantage we have is people love to eat pies. No matter it’s good times or bad times,” Kokkinis said. “Pies are a comfort food.”

Kokkinis compared the pandemic to the Great Recession of 2008 when the company continued to invest in itself.

“As long as the virus doesn’t impact people’s desire to eat pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, I think we’ll be OK,” Kokkinis said.

As the city prepares to climb out of the pandemic in 2021, Table Talk Pies will be adding at least 50 jobs as it moves to its new home.

Table Talk says it plans to employ 180 full-time operation staff at the new location, including 130 current full-time production staff that will relocate from the Kelley Square bakery. More than 60% of Table Talk’s employees live in Worcester.

As part of the Tax Increment Financing policy with the city, all employees would earn $15 an hour within six months after beginning at the company.

“This day is not just a groundbreaking for a building, it’s groundbreaking for opportunities,” Augustus said. “There’s going to be decades of people who are going to come to work every day at Table Talk and with the paychecks they’re going to earn coming here every day, they’re going to put their kids through college. They’re going to buy a house. They’re going to do all the things that are a part of the American dream.”

Table Talk Pies was founded in 1924 in Worcester by Theodore Tonna and Angelo Cotsidas, two Greek immigrants who came to the U.S. looking to better the lives of their families.

Kokkinis said the company never wants to lose sight of its roots, including its current home. The company has started to speak with parties potentially interested in the Green Street location, nestled next to Polar Park.

“Now that we finally figure out our home and stuff, we’re starting to look at that a bit,” Kokkinis said. “All I know is we want to make sure Table Talk still has a presence in Kelley Square and that our store is still there. That old building, 153 Green Street, that means a lot to us.”

Table Talk’s new home is seven acres of blank canvas ready for demolition and construction.

As it searched for the location, Kokkinis’ mother had only one request: that Table Talk Pies remain in Worcester.

“I can finally go back to telling my mom, ‘I listened to you this time,’” Kokkinis said.

CategoriesProperty Update

Table Talk breaks ground for new headquarters in South Worcester

Steven H. Foskett Jr. Telegram & Gazette Staff @SteveFoskettTG

WORCESTER – Drawing on the South Worcester neighborhood’s rich manufacturing history, Table Talk Pies officials Thursday afternoon reminded the audience gathered on the cobblestone-lined section of Tainter Street that its new 130,000-square-foot headquarters will still be making things – small, round things that taste really good.

Joined by local and city officials, Table Talk kicked off construction of its vast new manufacturing space that will stretch across 8 acres in the neighborhood with a traditional groundbreaking ceremony. Most of the buildings at the former Crompton & Knowles facility have been torn down, and seven different parcels attached to various owners have been combined to make the project work. Nearby Gardner Street – the facility will be called the Gardner Street Bakery – will be lowered under the railroad bridge to accommodate expected tractor-trailer traffic.

Table Talk President Harry Kokkinis said construction equipment is here and ready to start digging the foundation of the new facility. He said in just about a year, the facility should be complete.

Kokkinis said the goal for Table Talk in its search for a new headquarters was always to stay in Worcester, but “pad-ready” sites that could accommodate the company’s needs were hard to come by. He said it took some convincing, but working with the city and the state on the various moving parts of the project, including a tax increment financing deal and funding to facilitate the Gardner Street redesign, is coming to fruition. Around 70,000 square feet of old, rundown factory buildings have been demolished, he noted.

“This is 8 acres of open space in the middle of Worcester,” he said. “Where else could you find it?”

Mayor Joseph M. Petty said the project is an extension of industrial and community-level progress the neighborhood has made over the years, including the South Worcester Industrial Park, in which Table Talk already operates a facility.

City Manager Edward M. Augustus Jr. noted the project is an example of the city helping facilitate development outside the downtown area – he said that’s an unfair criticism, considering its efforts to attract projects like Table Talk and the biomanufacturing initiatives on Belmont Street.

“We are cooking on all burners here in the city of Worcester,” Augustus said.

He said that around the time the Pawtucket Red Sox were negotiating with the city for what would become Polar Park – right next door to Table Talk’s current Kelley Square headquarters – the city approached Table Talk to explore the idea of moving away from Kelley Square, where game-day crowds and traffic could impact the company’s ability to get trucks out on the road.

District 2 City Councilor Candy F. Mero-Carlson said the Table Talk project will help keep good jobs in the city accessible to city residents.

Worcester Telegram

CategoriesProperty Update

Brownmed launches temporary manufacturing site in Central Massachusetts

Site will focus solely on Personal Protective Equipment and provide paid summer internships for Worcester high school students.

WORCESTER, MA, UNITED STATES, July 23, 2020 / — Today, Brownmed announced the successful launch of a temporary production worksite to produce lifesaving PPE to protect health care workers and others from the spread of COVID-19.

The launch of the site was made possible through an innovative partnership with The Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MassMEP), Worcester Public Schools and Chacharone Properties.

“As a company, we’ve been continuously exploring ways to increase our manufacturing capacity for PPE since March” said Kylia Garver, President of Brownmed. “We reached out to MassMEP in early June and quickly realized there was an opportunity to engage with students in the Worcester community who were actively searching for summer jobs. Chacharone Properties stepped in to help us find a great location and we were up and running in less than three weeks.”

The site launched June 22nd and will be staffed through the summer by sixty-five high school students from seven schools including interns from the Innovation Pathways Advanced Manufacturing Program. Brian Cummings, a Worcester Technical High School program instructor, has assumed the role of site manager.

John Killam, President of MassMEP, is a strong supporter. “Building a pipeline of future employees who want to make things is a high priority for manufacturing companies and MassMEP. Our partnership with Brownmed leverages resources that provide hands on instruction through programs like Advanced Manufacturing Training which is part of Lieutenant Governor Polito’s Innovation Pathways Program.”

Drew Weymouth, Director of Innovation Pathways with Worcester Public Schools, agrees. “The connection with Brownmed via Karen Myhaver and MassMEP is an incredible opportunity for the students of Worcester. In this heightened health care crisis, the opportunity to contribute to the fight against COVID-19 by producing face shields for health care providers allows students to make an essential and active contribution. Additionally, the chance to earn money and work with other students from across the city allows them to build professional skills.”

In addition to healthcare workers, teachers, dentist offices, salons,
manufacturing operators, meatpacking plants and retail workers are just some examples of the people who will use these face shields daily for added protection from COVID-19.

About Brownmed
Brownmed is a leader in manufacturing products aimed at improving the quality of life for patients and has been for more than 50 years. From First Aid to Arthritis Care, from PPE to Pain Relief, all Brownmed products have a solid medical foundation and all new product design starts with patient comfort in mind. The result is a higher quality product, improved patient compliance and increased overall product efficacy.

Today, Brownmed employs more than 90 people with executive offices in Boston, sales in Kansas City and an 81,000 square foot manufacturing facility in Spirit Lake, Iowa. Brownmed is a 6-time recipient of the Inc. 5000 award, as one of the Fastest-Growing Private Companies in the United States, and manufactures and sells more than 100 different products to a worldwide market.

Learn more at

About MassMEP
MassMEP is one of 51 MEP Centers throughout the United States and Puerto Rico that operates through a cooperative agreement between the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) under the Department of Commerce. MassMEP was established as a non-profit in 1996 to provide consulting services to small and medium-sized manufacturers, as part of the MEP National Network and it’s 1,300 manufacturing experts at over 400 service locations.

About Innovation Pathways
Innovation Pathways are designed to give students coursework and experience in a specific high-demand industry, such as information technology, engineering, healthcare, life sciences and advanced manufacturing.
Innovation Pathways are designed to create strong partnerships with employers in order to expose students to career options and help them develop knowledge and skills related to their chosen field of study before they graduate high school.

About Chacharone Properties
Chacharone Properties, established in 1982, develops, manages and leases quality properties in Central Massachusetts. Today, the firm’s multi-faceted approach has resulted in the creation of nearly 2 million square feet of prime commercial property in one of the state’s most vibrant regions for economic growth.

Media Contact
Matt Garver
VP – Marketing 857.317.3363

EIN Presswire


Chacharone purchases vacant Worcester mill for $850,000

WORCESTER — A 105,000-square-foot vacant mill building at Gardner and Hollis streets in Main South was sold to a developer for $850,000.

The parcel was purchased by Southgate Street Realty LLC, a subsidiary of Chacharone Properties LLC.

The parcel includes four properties: 50 Gardner St., 38 Gardner St., 40 Gardner St. and 30 Hollis St.

Mel Chacharone, principal and in-house counsel at Chacharone Properties, said the company has no immediate plans for the building, which has been vacant for years.

“The property needs a little TLC and we plan to improve it,” Chacharone said.

He said Chacharone Properties owns two buildings at South Worcester Industrial Park that the company developed and leases to Table Talk Pies.

“We like the area and we see a lot of potential in it,” Chacharone said. “We’re excited about that area and we’re hoping for good things.”

Harrison Klein, an associate at Marcus & Millichap, which brokered the sale, said the parcel is sometimes called 100 Tainter St.

The parcel sold during an online auction with five prospective buyers bidding on the 3.5-acre property, Klein said. The sale was recorded with the Registry of Deeds on Thursday. The deed lists Ralph M. Dworman, trustee of GTH Trust, as the seller.

The property is two blocks from the South Worcester Industrial Park.

City property records say the 105,450-square-foot property is assessed at $406,300. The four properties were sold together to Southgate Street Realty LLC through the online auction facilitated by Ten-X, an online realtor service.

Ten-X’s online bidding platform allows for a “quick and smooth closing,” according to Klein.

Chacharone Properties LLC also purchased the former Allegro Microsystems property at 115 Northeast Cutoff in Worcester in May.

The company develops, manages, and leases properties in Worcester and Central Massachusetts.

Worcester Telegram

CategoriesProperty Update

Table Talk breathes sigh of relief with new 30,000 sq.ft. cold storage facility

By Zachary Comeau

A new 30,000-square-foot building will house Worcester dessert maker Table Talk Pies’ finished products and eliminate the need for several smaller freezer units throughout the Northeast.

The freezer building on Armory Street in the South Worcester Industrial Park was officially opened Thursday as city officials joined Table Talk representatives and developer Chacharone Properties for a ribbon cutting.

The facility will be primarily leased to Table Talk, but the facility will be available to lease for other operators as well. The facility was built by Tippman Innovation, an Indiana cold storage builder.

Prior to constructing the building, Table Talk had been using 36 refrigerated trailers in four different warehouses.

“It’s been a major problem,” said Table Talk President Harry Kokkinis.

The scattered location of the company’s finished products has been a logistical problem when orders are ready to ship, Kokkinis said.

“It will have a profound impact on our company,” he said. “Finally, the job of shipping our product will be easy and not the tortuous adventure that we often have to engage in to get our products to our customers.”

The building was developed by Worcester builder and landlord Chacharone Properties and will be managed by Maryland cold storage facility operator H&M Bay, which has local operations in Uxbridge.

The facility is adjacent to Table Talk’s 50,000-square-foot manufacturing facility,  which it opened in 2017.

The opening of the new freezer building comes as Table Talk continues to have reservations about the future of its Kelley Square facility, which abuts a proposed $101-million ballpark being constructed for the new home of the Pawtucket Red Sox.

Mayor Joseph Petty referenced that issue Thursday, thanking the company for working with the city in the industrial park and in Kelley Square.

After the ceremony, Kokkinis said the company is continuing to look for a new space for its main facility.

Worcester Business Journal

CategoriesGeneral News

Worcester housing market squeezing out the poor

On Aug 28, the nonprofit RCAP Solutions, which generates about $32 million in annual revenue, opened its new headquarters at 191 May St. in Worcester, consolidating operations from its Gardner and Worcester offices. With the new office, Executive Vice President Bill Minkle said RCAP can work better and more efficiently.


How many clients do you see annually?

We see about 6,000 clients per year, all from the Worcester area. We can have as many as 100 per day come to this office.

About 2,800 are here for the rental assistance. For the rest, we provide services like housing counseling, housing search, workforce development, secure jobs and for those suffering from domestic violence. We want to help families become self sufficient.

We are multipurpose, with two divisions: the housing division and the community resources division, which we are renaming it the rural division. The rural program covers nine states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.


And your clients numbers are growing?

Our numbers will fluctuate based on the economy. Our numbers are growing now because the rental market is really squeezing a lot of people out.

The rents are going crazy. They have gone up 10-20%. Every landlord is demanding increases. They can get it because the demand is very high.


How does RCAP help?

Our clients’ incomes are not going up to match the rents. That is what happens in a capitalistic society; there are winners and losers. It is unfortunate, but that is the way it works.

The displacement causes major trauma and problems in a person’s life. Many of our clients get evicted. That makes it difficult in rehousing them, too. That is why our RAFT (Residential Assistance for Families in Transition) program is so important, because we can provide emergency assistance to prevent the eviction.

You are seeing it all over. Around Boston and inside Route 128, affordable housing is almost nonexistent. Even out here, there are not enough units.

Affordable housing is defined many, many ways; but if you look at minimum wage, where the original idea was that you could afford housing, there is no way you could pay for the rent on minimum wage. It is way out of alignment with today’s realities.

So, some things are a little upside down. People are really struggling.


Where do displaced people go?

You will be squeezed into a different neighborhood, and there is even a lack of housing in those neighbors. We look for clean, safe, affordable housing, and those units are evaporating.


Do they end up in outlying communities?

They really need to be in the city. One of the advantages to living in the city is being near public transportation. A lot of our folks can’t afford cars. They need public transportation, so they need affordable housing in the city.

A city really needs affordable housing for its labor supply, whether or not they want to admit it. I know people will say they don’t want affordable housing in their neighborhood, but the fact of the matter is there needs to be a mix of housing: low-, middle- and high-income housing. When the prices go up, the people at the bottom get pushed out.


Why did RCAP decide to move?

We decided to move about two and a half years ago. We started to outgrow the space in the Worcester office. It was no longer adequate for what we needed.

It is nice to have everything together under one roof. Once we opened this office, we realized it made more sense than we realized because of the accessibility for clients, with the parking lot and access to public transportation.

This is a fabulous new beginning for us. We are going to be able to serve more clients and in a better way.


How did you decide on 191 May St.?

We were fortunate to get this. Our clients have a hard time finding a home, and we had a hard time finding the right place. I probably looked at 60 properties.

When I first looked at this place, I thought it would be perfect, but I didn’t know if the timing would be right, because of how long it would take to move. But then our landlord – Chacharone Properties of Worcester – really worked with us. It has been more of a partnership, and they have been terrific to work with.

This interview was conducted and edited by WBJ Editor Brad Kane.

Worcester Business Journal


Former Allegro Microsystems building sold for $3.9M

The former Allegro Microsystems building at 115 Northeast Cutoff in Worcester has sold to an industrial property developer for $3.9 million.

The sale to Worcester-based Chacharone Properties comes nearly a year after the company moved out of the nearly 200,000-square-foot Worcester location in favor of a new facility in Marlborough.

The Worcester space, according to Allegro President and CEO Ravi Vig, was falling short of the semiconductor company’s research and development needs.

“We’re very excited about this property’s potential,” principal Jim Chacharone said in a statement. “It’s a high-quality 200,000 square foot building with ample parking in close proximity to Interstate 290. The development potential of the property coupled with Worcester’s low vacancy rates and increasing rental rates make this 56-acre property an attractive proposition for our portfolio.”

Chacharone could not immediately be reached for comment. Chacharone owns about two dozen other properties in Worcester, Sturbridge, Shrewsbury, Auburn, Sterling, Marlborough, Charlton and Rhode Island. The company was a major developer in the South Worcester Industrial Park, including for Table Talk Pies’ newest facility.

The structure, comprised of an office building and manufacturing space, sits on more than 50 acres, including a 578-space parking lot.

Worcester Business Journal

CategoriesProperty Update

Sterling Crossing project to finish in November

A Saint Vincent medical office is expected to open on Nov. 1 in the first floor of the 96-102 Leominster Rd. property in Sterling, named “Sterling Crossing.”

Other medical offices are still in the works, said Jim Chacharone, founder of Chacharone Properties LLC.

“Nothing’s firm yet,” Chacharone said. “We’re serious with a physical therapy facility and two other doctors.”

Chacharone Properties owns the Leominster Road property and several other properties in Massachusetts that total around 2 million square feet, he said. They focus on properties with easy commuting access and neighborhood conveniences like area restaurants and shops.

While the company focuses on building medical and professional office space, he said the building that is just south of the Chocksett Road roundabout has attracted mostly medically focused interest.

“It’s just what’s happening,” he said.

There’s still a 6 to 8,000-square-foot of Class A office space available for lease, Chacharone said. Building is expected to finish Nov. 1, the date most of the leases finalized on the property are anticipated to begin.


The Landmark

CategoriesProperty Update

New buildings unlock opportunity at South Worcester Industrial Park

WORCESTER – Take about 11 acres of land, buy much of the property, tear down decrepit buildings, give new construction a tax break and then resell available parcels to developers.

That’s the recipe the city of Worcester followed with the South Worcester Industrial Park over close to two decades, a swath of land wedged between Canterbury Street and railroad tracks. The land was once home to metal and machine manufacturers, a foundry and an auto salvage business.

Today, the park is home to a pie maker and a manufacturing equipment seller. Soon, a modern manufacturing building for small businesses or startups will rise on another parcel. All of the parcels bought and cleared by the city have been sold or have deals in place.

It’s a project that has rejuvenated a previously underwhelming stretch of Worcester business land and tapped into a market brimming with demand for modern production, distribution and warehouse space.

For Harry Kokkinis, president of Worcester-based Table Talk Pies, it was also the answer to a frustrating search for expansion space in the city that had long been home for the privately held producer of pies. TableTalk now occupies a new building the size of a football field on Southgate Street, where it makes and distributes snack pies.

“My mother was pretty happy when we found this,” Mr. Kokkinis said last week, as he walked through the 51,000-square-foot building while 4-inch cherry pies rolled out of an oversize oven.

The South Worcester Industrial Park, sometimes abbreviated as SWIP, didn’t always look to be a success. The city acquired about 8 of the 11 acres, mostly after owners failed to pay taxes, according to Paul Morano Jr., assistant chief development officer for the city of Worcester. The parcels were crowded with old, abandoned buildings.

Yet the properties had a long history of industrial use and were close to freight rail lines and highways, including Interstate 290.

Absolute Machinery Corp., a privately held company that sells new and used machinery to the plastics manufacturing industry, had already moved in to 92-94 Gardner St. in 2006. The company’s partners liked the access to rail lines, and neighbors were supportive, said Nathan Smith, co-owner. Still, the neighborhood needed work.

“We had our crew, on a regular basis, pick up the trash, weed-whack and mow a quarter-mile stretch up Gardner Street,” Mr. Smith said.

The city took years lining up federal and state grants plus other funds to tear down old buildings, deal with contamination and re-work the roads. The total bill was close to $7 million.

By 2013, the city created an economic opportunity plan for the area, clearing the way for property-tax breaks for new construction. Finding buyers for the city-owned land, however, initially proved difficult. Mr. Morano said.

“We always try to identify companies,” Mr. Morano said. “But it’s difficult to find a company that is willing to or even wants to build their own space. Most manufacturers want to be tenants. So we switched gears, and rather than deal with the tenants, we went right to developers.”

That included Jim Chacharone, president of Chacharone Properties LLC of Worcester, a company that specializes in developing commercial and industrial properties. Chacharone Properties bought three parcels and is negotiating to buy another in the park.

The company built the Table Talk Pies facility and is leasing it to Table Talk, with an option for Table Talk to buy it. Mr. Chacharone said he’s planning to build two more facilities in the park. Chacharone Properties does not have tenants lined up for the properties yet.

“Usually, when you put a building up, a tenant will come,” said Mr. Chacharone, who estimates he’s invested about $6 million in the park so far and will likely spend another $2 million to $3 million. “Without a building, no.”

Especially now, modern industrial space is at a premium in Central Massachusetts, said James G. Umphrey, president of Kelleher & Sadowsky Associates Inc. of Worcester, a commercial real estate business.

Conversion of industrial space to other uses near Boston has driven users to look for existing buildings or construction-ready space elsewhere. In addition, the growth of online shopping is fueling demand for warehouses and distribution centers close to population centers.

“The majority of the industrial market has moved away from just general manufacturing to distribution and fulfillment,” Mr. Umphrey said.

Top-of-the-line industrial space typically features ceilings about 32 feet high, few interior columns, powerful sprinkler systems and plentiful, well-placed loading docks for trucks.

Steven Rothschild, who has launched a number of businesses, including commercial lighting business Access Fixtures LLC, said he learned what tenants need while trying to market space he owns in an older building.

Prospective tenants “start asking questions,” Mr. Rothschild said. ”″Does it have a loading dock? Does it have this feature?′ ‘Yes.’ ‘Does it have that feature?’ ‘No.’ Click. I decided, how would it go if I could design a space that I could say yes to everything?”

Mr. Rothschild is building a 22,000-square-foot manufacturing building in the park that will be called the Armory Business Center. He expects the one-story building to feature ceilings up to 30 feet high and eight or nine units for small manufacturers. It should open by the end of 2018. Mr. Rothschild estimates his investment at $4 million.

Those who have bought or taken space in the park say a critical element in the city’s oversight of the neighborhood was property tax relief. Worcester taxes commercial and industrial property at $34.03 for every $1,000 of valuation. That’s more than double the rate of some Central Massachusetts communities that tax all real estate at a single rate.

At Table Talk Pies on Southgate Street, Mr. Kokkinis said the tax relief was critical to staying in Worcester.

“It leveled the playing field to the outside surrounding towns,” he said.

Now, after investing about $4 million in Table Talk’s new site, he’s planning to install a second production line. The plant employs about 40 workers.

Nearby, Absolute Machinery has spread out, adding additional space for its related businesses. Absolute Haitian Corp. sells injection molding machinery in North America. Absolute Robot Inc. distributes robotic equipment used in manufacturing. Absolute businesses employ about 25 people in Worcester.

Mr. Kokkinis said he hopes that as more buildings open in the park, they will focus on industrial uses.

“I do think (the park) is an example of showing what can work to do economic development in the city,” he said.


Worcester Telegram


Chacharone Properties Acquires Former McDonald’s in Auburn, MA

The long-time McDonald’s fast-food restaurant in Auburn will be converted into professional offices.

The property at 813 Southbridge St. in Auburn was sold to Worcester-based CM Developers, LLC for $580,000, according to an announcement Thursday from Worcester real estate brokerage NAI Glickman Kovago & Jacobs, who represented the sellers – McDonald’s Real Estate Co. of Delaware.

The 6,587-square-foot building sits on a 4.1-acre lot. The McDonald’s restaurant had included a play area.

CM Developers is headquartered on West Boylston Street in Worcester and its listed manager is Meletios Chacharone, according to Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth records.


Worcester Business Journal