Here’s an architects vision of the new “Marketplace” from 1978′s (It’s) Time (for Springfield). The idea was to turn an agglomeration of several Main Street and Market Street buildings as well as Market Street itself into an interconnected pedestrian mall. It was done, and the design was superb. Unfortunately the demand for downtown retail never materialized, the surface parking lot at a pivotal corner was never developed into an anchor for the project, and it has degenerated into a mostly empty, if not unattractive, urban byway.
The design is such that a change in public habits along with a corresponding change in building programming could quickly turn this area into a spectacular asset to people in the downtown. On the other hand, in an unusual twist, the “atrium” as actually built turned out much better than this architect’s rendering!