2023 Power 50: Charles “Chip” Norton

In Media

View story at wbjournal.com

Norton has had the foresight to recognize the value in Central Massachusetts. He redeveloped the Mercantile Center in Downtown Worcester starting in 2015 and in the past year has filled it to almost 100% occupancy. He has changed the landscape of downtown hospitality and nightlife, by leasing space for the various ownership groups to open The Mercantile, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, and the Harpoon Worcester Beer Garden at his properties.

He expanded his holdings in Northborough in 2022 with the $10.7-million purchase of a 29,000-square-foot UMass Memorial Health facility and completed 48 units of a 275 affordable housing complex in Southbridge. He is one of the largest commercial property owners in Central Massachusetts, including at the Southbridge Innovation Center.

Norton understands the importance of giving back to the communities in which he invests. He was co-chair of the UMass Memorial Health Hope and Healing Celebration, which raised $1.5 million, and he was awarded the 2022 United Way Ted Coghlin Award for vaccine efforts. He even rappelled off of the Mercantile Center to raise money for Canines for Disabled Kids.

How should professionals best use the power they wield? “With substantial presence comes substantial responsibility. I want to leave Central Massachusetts a better place than I found it, and through my influence and investments, I’m trying to build a better today for our communities, on the way to an even better tomorrow. I hope the next generation will also blend altruism into their ambitions.”

For those about to rock: “I own a full drum set that I play in my garage (so I don’t drive my wife and dogs nuts). I’m currently learning my first full song, “T.N.T.” by AC/DC. If I can master that, I eventually hope to learn more songs and, if anyone will have me, play in a band some day!”