Worcester, Massachusetts: The Architectural Heritage Foundation (AHF) is pleased to announce the hiring of Jake Sanders as the Project Executive for the renovation and redevelopment of the Worcester Memorial Auditorium. Jake previously served as the Chief of Staff to City Manager Edward M. Augustus, Jr.
“AHF is thrilled to bring Jake on board to lead our efforts in restoring the Aud. Together, we will preserve the building’s historical integrity while adapting the facility to meet the needs of a 21st century economy as a center for digital innovation, entertainment, entrepreneurship, and the arts,” said AHF President Sean McDonnell. “This is not a project without substantial challenges, but we are confident that Jake has the requisite skillset to spearhead the effort and bring community partners together toward a common vision.”
The redevelopment of the Worcester Memorial Auditorium, locally known as “the Aud,” will require private, local, state, federal and philanthropic investment. AHF’s objectives are to rehabilitate and restore the facility into an innovative digital technology, arts, and entertainment center; to recognize the cultural, institutional, and commercial users in the surrounding area; to acknowledge the historic nature of the Auditorium and its potential to serve as a catalyst for the neighborhood; to preserve the exterior building facades, Memorial Hall, Kimball organ, and interior murals, while also providing building upgrades and improvements, including life safety systems and universal accessibility; and to create economic development opportunities related to digital media.
“The Auditorium really sits at the front door of Worcester. We have seen successful redevelopment of the neighboring Courthouse Lofts, exciting plans for the renovation of the former Boys Club and wonderful small businesses lining north Main. Bringing the Aud back to life will add to the density and vibrancy of the area. I look forward to continuing to work with Jake and my economic development team to make this project a reality,” said City Manager Edward M. Augustus, Jr.
“The Worcester Auditorium and Lincoln Square as a whole really represents the gateway to our downtown core,” said Mayor Joseph M. Petty. “Jake has the disposition, talent, and experience to bring together this complex project. I’m truly looking forward to the Worcester Auditorium getting a new lease on life.”
“The Worcester Memorial Auditorium is an architectural masterpiece, a magnificent monument to the veterans of World War I, and one of the crown jewels of our city” said U.S. Congressman Jim McGovern. “I’m thrilled that Jake Sanders will be leading the effort to turn this diamond in the rough into a downtown Worcester destination, and I look forward to partnering with him and his team as we bring this incredible venue back to life.”
“The Memorial Auditorium is a Worcester institution, and I can think of no better person to lead its restoration than Jake Sanders. As the former Chair of the Auditorium Board, and having worked with Jake for many years, I am confident that under his leadership, future generations of Worcester residents will be blessed with the incredible opportunity to enjoy everything that the Aud and Lincoln Square have to offer,” said Senator Harriette Chandler.
“I’ve had the opportunity to know Jake since he was a young man and fresh out of college. He has always been a pleasure to work with, attentive to detail, and a consummate professional. I look forward to working with him in this new capacity and I’m excited about the prospects of the Auditorium, which I feel is a Worcester architectural treasure,” said State Representative John Mahoney.
“North Main Street is one of my favorite areas in the City. It’s got great bones, dynamic entrepreneurs and so much historical significance. As the District Councilor for the area, I look forward to continuing my fantastic working relationship with Jake and leaving no stone unturned to bring the Aud back to prominence,” said District City Councilor Candy Mero-Carlson.
“With Trinity Financial’s successful conversion of the former courthouse to housing and WinnCompanies’ plan to convert the former boys and girls club to senior housing; the revitalization of the Worcester Auditorium becomes paramount if we are going to fully activate Lincoln Square. This reactivation is critical in bringing together N. Main St., Highland St., and the Salisbury Cultural District/Gateway Park. The addition of an effective leader like Jake Sanders will help us move towards this vision,” said Timothy P. Murray, President & CEO of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce.
“I am excited that Jake Sanders joined the Architectural Heritage Foundation staff and am especially pleased that a seasoned Worcester resident will be working on the Worcester Memorial Auditorium project. Repurposing one of the city’s most significant buildings is exceedingly challenging and having someone connected to the project who understands and cares for our community will hopefully be just what the project needs to move forward,” said Deborah Packard, Executive Director of Preservation Worcester.
Born and raised in Worcester, Jake played an integral role in the relocation of the Worcester Red Sox and the construction of Polar Park as a member of the negotiating and construction teams while employed by the City. He also spearheaded the redesign of the city website and created the process by which cannabis establishments would be allowed to operate in Worcester. He represented the City with state and federal officials, corporate partners and community leaders to secure financial resources and strategic opportunities. Jake was also the City designee on the Worcester Regional Transit Authority. Prior to his time with the City, Jake served as the Director of External Relations at Becker College, working closely with the Massachusetts Digital Games Institute in their formation and expansion. He is a graduate of Ithaca College and received his Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Clark University.
“This is a unique opportunity during a unique time in Worcester’s history,” said Sanders. “So many of us have fond memories of the Aud and I’m going to do all I can to help bring it back to its proper place as an architectural and cultural gem in the City. AHF has a proven track record in overcoming difficult historic preservation projects so I’m excited to be part of the team.”
The Architectural Heritage Foundation (AHF) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to stimulate economic development in disinvested communities through the preservation and adaptive reuse of historic properties. AHF works as a developer and consultant to facilitate projects that become sustainable sources of opportunity and vitality in their communities. AHF has just completed the Charles River Speedway, a complex adaptive reuse project in Brighton that was the result of a public/private partnership with the Department of Conservation and Recreation through their Historic Curatorship Program. The rehabilitated and revitalized Speedway is a newly thriving and dynamic marketplace and community gathering place, featuring a taproom and expansive biergarten from Notch Brewing, as well as a robust small business retail program and a flexible event space.