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Old 03-04-2009, 05:42 PM   #1
Mike
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Quincy Center Redevelopment

$1 billion development proposed to reshape downtown Quincy
By Jennifer Mann
The Patriot Ledger
Posted Mar 03, 2009


You might not see a Whole Foods, but Trader Joe?s is in the realm of possibility. Neiman Marcus isn?t quite Quincy Center, but Target might fit perfectly. There could be a hotel or two, a wellness center, an influx of condominiums and office space. Quincy?s historical footprint would shine.

Most everything is on the table, as city officials, residents and businesses begin digesting an ambitious proposal to transform downtown, one that could cost $1 billion and stretch over years, if not decades, before it?s complete.

It?s all about ?stuff that?s real,? said Richard Heapes, a partner and co-founder of Street-Works Development Group of White Plains, N.Y. ?This is, and will remain, an everyday life kind of place.?

On Monday, Street-Works representatives gave their first public presentation of an urban design plan that began percolating in 2004, when the company arrived in Quincy to find Stop & Shop Supermarket Co. a permanent home base.

Heapes and other Street Works representatives met with The Patriot Ledger to offer a sneak peek of their design, which will evolve through rounds of public hearings and meetings with city officials. The city also offered information relative to the design, and how it builds upon plans that have been years in the making.

Heapes said the public planning will continue long after they get a formal designation from the city and state to develop downtown.

?This will be a conversation for years to come,? he said.

Street-Works has hired Jim Borghesani of PrimePoint Strategic Media to handle public relations in respect to the project. Borghesani was chief political consultant on Mayor Thomas Koch?s 2007 campaign. At the time, he was deputy general manager for the public relations firm Regan Communications.

Heapes said Street-Works is eyeing an area of Quincy Center that is roughly bound by the new concourse to the Quincy Center T station, and Burgin Parkway to Washington Street.

The company has spent $15 million to date in property acquisition, planning, and other costs, according to Heapes. But he declined to give many specifics, beyond acknowledging an $8 million purchase of the former Granite Trust Building and $500,000 for surveying the area for underground utilities, storm drains and pipes.

According to Heapes, the firm has 70 percent of its planned redevelopment area under control. That includes city properties, Stop & Shop properties, and agreements to either purchase properties or to partner with existing owners.

Heapes declined to name specific properties that have been bought or those that are under consideration to be part of the plan while negotiations and acquisitions are ongoing. The Patriot Ledger contacted dozens of property owners in the area, but none who were reached said they had been contacted by Street-Works or had agreed to sell.

Downtown office expansion would be anchored by a new building, up to 20 stories tall, at what would be 1440 Hancock Street, near the intersection of Cottage and Hancock streets, according to Street-Works.

The building would surround an internal parking garage, where the parking lot behind the Granite Trust building is now. Heapes said that landmark building is not as suitable for major office space because of its size and structure, but might be ideal for condominiums. The company is considering adding a residential component behind the building, or a hotel.

Larger retailers, including some department store types, would be pooled in the area surrounding what is now the Ross parking garage, which would be demolished. Heapes did not give specific names; tenants in the firm?s other developments have included Crate and Barrel, Barnes and Noble and movie theaters.

Street-Works said it also wants to bring at least 1,000 new residential units to Quincy Center, ranging from rental to ownership, and flats to lofts.

Heaps said he hoped there would be a ?wellness center,? with a health club and hospital component, possibly through a partnership with Quincy Medical Center. Four additional parking garages, four to five stories high, would be scattered around the downtown area, Street-Works said.

The company estimates at the end of the day it will make $1 billion in private sector investments over a 10- to 15-year period, not including $200 million to $300 million in public sector improvements.

City planning director Dennis Harrington said revitalizing the city center will put more eyes on the street, which can reduce crime and work to further attract businesses and residents. A vital downtown can also improve property values in surrounding neighborhoods, which means the city as a whole benefits, he said.


Link


http://developquincy.com

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Old 03-04-2009, 06:03 PM   #2
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Re: $1 billion development proposed to reshape downtown Quincy

That's one purdy office park they got there.

When will people realize that large buildings with giant footprints are not appropriate for a walkable downtown? In fact look at what is going to be torn down along Hancock St. That should be preserved!!!

God this is urban renewal all over again. I think I'm gonna be sick. This is the times when we need NIMBYs.
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Old 03-04-2009, 06:06 PM   #3
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Re: $1 billion development proposed to reshape downtown Quincy

Quincy needs work, but this isn't it.
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Old 03-04-2009, 08:20 PM   #4
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Re: $1 billion development proposed to reshape downtown Quincy

Yeah, a lot of those buildings on Hancock Street have character and should be preserved. They're even planning to clear out that strip that includes Pat Flanagan's bar, one of my old haunts...this is bad.
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Old 03-05-2009, 04:52 PM   #5
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Re: $1 billion development proposed to reshape downtown Quincy

Jesus H Christ! What the hell is wrong with these people. This is gross.
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Old 03-05-2009, 05:05 PM   #6
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Re: $1 billion development proposed to reshape downtown Quincy

City of Presidents.
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Old 03-05-2009, 05:19 PM   #7
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Re: $1 billion development proposed to reshape downtown Quincy

Lrfox said it best: this is gross.
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Old 03-05-2009, 07:01 PM   #8
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Re: $1 billion development proposed to reshape downtown Quincy

Imagine what $1b could do if paid to someone with brains...
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Old 03-05-2009, 11:22 PM   #9
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Re: $1 billion development proposed to reshape downtown Quincy

Even $800 billion doesn't pay for one good brain.

This has nothing to do with brains.

If it did--if any large scale developments did... well, you can all fill in your own blanks for comparison.

I am glad somebody is finally bringing something this ambitious to the table. You're all being too knee-jerk reactionary with your usual, standard, patented, critical responses. Jeez.

With other many false starts over decades, this is the most stable and unified vision they've ever received.

I have been able to follow many of the projects spearheaded by this development team. None are stellar but all are successful. All of them morphed, to some degree, from their original plans, as will this.

Based on these track records, these guys know what 'their' communities want, and work well with them.

In the recent past, before this was formally announced, I had conversations with people who are well versed in the long-term travails of Quincy.

Regardless of our collective(?) personal aesthetics, and looking at the aerials linked to the articles, the city already has some newer, landscraper style residential blocks. The office park, barely over a mile away has commercial buildings of a similar ilk. A few more like those aren't great. However, given the needs of the tenants they project for the place, this style seems to be suitable. (My suggestion--double the housing, cut back on the retail. We can discuss this later, after I spew some more. )

Just because we all prefer a finer-grained, old world-scaled cityscape everywhere we go, doesn't mean it's necessary or suitable for the needs of every locale. I mean, c'mon! There's one blocky, bulky high-rise, and one mid-rise of similar proportions and you're all freakin' out! (I don't know whether to laugh, or shake my head while tisk tisk-ing you, or roll my eyes... all three!)

Plus, there's nothing to say that what is proposed, as is, isn't feasible, functional, and workable for that community. Ya'll just took a cursory glance at it, I would venture to guess, fer crissakes!

And another thing: would it be nice to maintain some of the integrity of the more noteworthy portions of the existing, older, single-story blocks? Not from what I personally recall, or can see in the materials provided in the links above. However, I'd like to poll how many of you will now fess up to screaming 'bring on the wrecking ball!' when other single-story commercial blocks in various locales around Metro Boston were slated for demo. What made them so much less special where they were as compared to those in Quincy Center? (Yes, this is a trap. Answer it and be doomed. Heh heh heh.)
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Old 03-06-2009, 12:08 AM   #10
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Re: $1 billion development proposed to reshape downtown Quincy

BUT.......If we'll accept less, less is all we're ever going to get!
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Old 03-06-2009, 09:20 AM   #11
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Re: $1 billion development proposed to reshape downtown Quincy

@garbribre Your asking us to compare apples and oranges. If a couple one story retail buildings gets redeveloped in the Fenway no one is going to care but this is different. This is taking an entire downtown shopping area, leveling it, and building a glorified outdoor mall. It's this kind of ignorantly anti-urban development that we are all sick of and all know will end up being a major regret years down the line (see: Worcester Commons). This is development for developments sake, which is alright here and there but not for something of this scale. This is a step backwards.
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Old 03-06-2009, 09:23 AM   #12
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Re: $1 billion development proposed to reshape downtown Quincy

Could we get some photos of what will be torn down that might be worth keeping?

Beyond the issue of physical buildings, I'd also like to know what businesses would be displaced.
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Old 03-06-2009, 10:35 AM   #13
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Re: $1 billion development proposed to reshape downtown Quincy

Some folks are apologists for the development status quo.

If you can identify the forces that usher a product into being, these folks mistakenly believe, that's prima facie evidence of its inevitability. And inevitability is evidence of acceptability.

By that criterion, war, racism, axe murders and bad development are all inevitable; after all, they're all explainable.

Does that make them acceptable?
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Old 03-06-2009, 01:59 PM   #14
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Re: $1 billion development proposed to reshape downtown Quincy

Quote:
Originally Posted by garbribre
There's one blocky, bulky high-rise, and one mid-rise of similar proportions and you're all freakin' out!
If you think that's what everyone's freaking out over then I shake my head at you.
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Old 03-06-2009, 02:35 PM   #15
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Re: $1 billion development proposed to reshape downtown Quincy

Quote:
Originally Posted by garbribre View Post

Just because we all prefer a finer-grained, old world-scaled cityscape everywhere we go, doesn't mean it's necessary or suitable for the needs of every locale. I mean, c'mon! There's one blocky, bulky high-rise, and one mid-rise of similar proportions and you're all freakin' out! (I don't know whether to laugh, or shake my head while tisk tisk-ing you, or roll my eyes... all three!)


The problem is, that they're destroying a chunk the small portion of Central Quincy that IS functioning (Hancock St.) and suitable for the needs of this locale. It's a bass-ackwards. Why destroy the existing density and try to replace it with some modern "bulky" building that's trying to mimic the type of density that they are going to destroy?!

Quincy needs work, but destroying the density that already exists only to replace it with what will likely be a substandard knockoff is counterproductive! Even if they get the new construction EXACTLY right(again, which is unlikely), it'll only be AS GOOD AS what was there to begin with (I'm only talking about Hancock Street here). I like that they plan on replacing some of the parking lots and less important buildings with higher density construction, but they're intent on destroying what already works well.

There are chunks of Hancock that have the one story buildings with few redeeming qualities, but that proposal shows where some other, nicer structures will be leveled in favor of bulkier structures. There's no reason that the new development can't be built to not only interact with, but ENHANCE the functioning environment on Hancock St.

The intention of this project should be to REVITALIZE downtown Quincy, not rebuild it entirely. Well placed, higher density development can enhance this downtown and bring more life to the already dense Hancock Street. There's no need to destroy that portion of the city. The transit network adjacent to this site is already functioning and highly utilized and smart development here has a high chance of success. That being said, there's no need to get rid of the right ingredients that already exist (again, Hancock St). As for the one story buildings: proper development AROUND them could allow them to evolve on their own terms instead of in a pre-fab, mass-produced manner. It would add a bit more architectural diversity to the area instead of having a large influx of style from one particular period. If they build right (and don't destroy as much of Hancock Street), the area will be more inclined to evolve organically which usually is a far better way to evolve.

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Old 03-06-2009, 02:38 PM   #16
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Re: $1 billion development proposed to reshape downtown Quincy

What businesses are now on this street that the project would destroy?
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Old 03-06-2009, 02:49 PM   #17
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Re: $1 billion development proposed to reshape downtown Quincy

There are a number of businesses, some good, some not so good. There is a blockbuster and a Rent-A-Center as well as some others that won't be missed, but I remember a slightly gritty, but enjoyable bar ("The Holy Land" or something like that) as well as an Italian restaurant and some other places that would certainly be missed.
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Old 03-06-2009, 04:33 PM   #18
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Re: $1 billion development proposed to reshape downtown Quincy

In addition, the plan would change the street pattern and cut off downtown from the residential area to the south with a wide boulevard. A less minor issue, but compounds the negativity.
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Old 03-06-2009, 04:33 PM   #19
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Re: $1 billion development proposed to reshape downtown Quincy

Before


After


This will mostly replace a lot of single story commercial buildings. The architecture is not worth preserving here, but the fine grain of the fabric, the increment of development, is. This area has good bones -- I'd liken it to something between Coolidge Corner and Harvard Square, albeit a bit more down on its luck. If someone was proposing razing one of those areas, there would be a massive outcry. And, in some ways, I feel that Quincy Center is more vital than either of these other places.

Yes, there are quite a few surface parking lots here, but this stretch of Hancock and its tributaries are teeming with dozens of businesses occupying humanly scaled storefronts -- and these lots can be filled-in easy enough. I'm assuming this new development will consolidate these and replace the many small businesses with a few big ones. This is a simplistic and unimaginative attempt to address Quincy Center's shortcomings while completely ignoring its existing strengths.

This proposal also clearly follows an autocentric approach, complete with a huge big box component. In fact,the whole scheme hinges on extending the "Concourse" through the Center, which will lay a Burgin Parkway-like freeway across Hancock connecting Rt 3 to 3A. IMO. this would wreak havoc on this part of the city, adding even more cars to an area already choking with traffic.

Here's what the area looks like now:


Map


At Maple St. and Hancock St.



Looking up Hancock from Granite


Stop & Shop HQ At Granite and Hancock


Temple & Washington


Looking toward Washington from Foster St


From the parking lot between Hancock and Denis Ryan Road. A lot of the businesses along Hancock have reoriented themselves to face the lot





Passageway to Hancock Street


On Hancock, where the proposed Concourse will run. Several buildings have already been demolished on Ross Way to make way





Hancock & Revere


Looking down Revere from Hancock


Looking down Hancock at around Clivenden



Down Clivenden


Clivenden & Ross Way. This used to be a Woolworths


...opposite corner


Ross Way by garage




The other side of the garage, Parking Way





Some other shots of Quincy Center:

HH Richardson's Crane Library



New apartment building across Coddington



The Gothic Revival, Bethany Church


United First Parish Church, designed by architect Alexander Parris



Hancock Cemetary


Old and New City Hall




Another New apartment building on Hancock, in front of the Quincy Center T Station




New Cafe





Granite Trust Building



Quincy T Station


Half-timbered commercial block, dont know the name


Abigail & Paul Giamatti

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Old 03-06-2009, 04:43 PM   #20
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Re: $1 billion development proposed to reshape downtown Quincy

If I lived there, I'd lobby for infilling the parking lots first, before even considering any demolitions or relocations.
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