Peabody Construction Co. of Braintree has been selected to build the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, a $32.7-million facility that will be developed near the site of the hall’s home overlooking the Connecticut River. The project is the linchpin in a massive overhaul of the 18-acre riverfront area.

Featuring a domed, basketball-shaped entranceway, the hall is scheduled for completion in March 2002. The project will feature 35,000 sf of display space, more than 30 virtual and interactive exhibits and a 200-seat theater. The design, by Bargmann Hendrie + Archetype of Boston and Gwathemey Siegel & Associates of New York City, also includes basketball-themed retail and restaurants.

As with many older Eastern cities, Springfield is striving to revitalize its downtown area, and officials with the Springfield Redevelopment Authority are using the Naismith venture to anchor the effort. The $105- million infusion, which includes the hall of fame price tag, will feature a bikeway connected to the hall by an overpass, a tourist information center BS hotel and extensive roadway improvements to Interstate 91. Hall of fame and city officials are planning a ceremonial groundbreaking for October.

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