The Last Big Piece of the Puzzle
Lee Pouliot says he’s always had what he calls a bit of a fascination with what is known simply as the Uniroyal property in Chicopee — although there is nothing simple about it. He grew up the city, but, because he’s only 37 (and a BusinessWest 40 Under Forty winner in 2020), all he’s known of the buildings — most of them, anyway — is as empty shells, the subjects of stories that almost every long-time resident of this community tells about working at the tire-manufacturing complex, or being related to someone who did.
While he was earning a master’s degree in landscape architecture at Cornell more than a dozen years ago, Pouliot took this fascination to a higher level, engaging himself and a few of his classmates in a final project — one that would create a development plan for the complex of buildings for the Uniroyal and adjacent Facemate properties, located in the center of the city. Later, as an intern in the Chicopee’s Community Development office and then as a staffer in that office, he worked with city leaders to move a project to redevelop that complex, through a series of critical next steps.