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2021 12 People: Marco Denis

High Riser

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A native of Haiti, Marco Denis is now the owner of one of the most well-known properties in the Queen City.

Through Springfield Property LLC, Denis, 45, in September 2020 purchased the 10-story, 130,000-square-foot Plaza Towers, 35,000-square-foot Plaza Towers Center and Jimm’s Steakhouse and Pub building for $13.3 million from the family of Errett Sechler Jr., who died in 2019 at age 98.

Now, Denis and his team at Springfield Property are investing more than $6 million to renovate the roughly 50-year-old office building and its adjacent shopping center at the Glenstone Avenue and Sunshine Street intersection. Restaurant owner Jimm Swafford will continue to operate his namesake restaurant under a long-term lease arrangement.

“My vision was to restore that building and to bring back all the memories that Springfield has for that building,” says Denis, who became familiar with Plaza Towers as the owner of Plaza Shopping Center, another center he owns across the street. “I knew that building was an iconic building.”

Springfield Property already has set up operations in Plaza Towers and started a facelift on the Plaza Towers Center. Denis says his plans include a first-floor restaurant in Plaza Towers, as well as interior work involving upgrades to public spaces. On the exterior, concrete repair work is among the projects planned. Denis also says the building’s highly visible lighted sign on top would be changed to digital.

“In my opinion and everybody else’s, it was falling apart,” he says of the need for the renovation work.

Denis previously told Springfield Business Journal he’s working to grow occupancy at Plaza Towers and the shopping center from their current level of around 70%. He says there’s room for about 100 tenants between the two properties.

Denis has operated Springfield Property for over a decade and for several years also operated cellphone stores through First Impressions Wireless Inc., selling the last of his four stores in 2017.

Prior to discovering Springfield, Denis grew up in Haiti. His goal was to move to the United States for an education, so he first earned his bachelor’s degree in business at College Blaise Pascal in Port-au-Prince as a stepping stone before moving to New York to attend Columbia University.

“I didn’t know about Springfield at first,” he says. “I was looking for a cheap place to get an education.”

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