Quincy city council hears proposal on agreement for 15-story building

Officials presented to council during the Monday-night committee meeting – a hearing that will continue next week at the same time.

The Patriot Ledger | By Sean Philip Cotter
December 12, 2016

QUINCY — City councilors heard a proposal Monday night about a land-development agreement under which city land would be sold to a builder who would put the tallest building in Quincy on it.

Quincy officials and representatives of developer Peter O’Connell made a presentation Monday night during a meeting of the council’s downtown and economic growth and ordinance committees – a meeting that will continue next week.

The 15-story, 124-unit building across the street from Quincy District Court would be called Chestnut Place. The first floor would include about 4,000 square feet of commercial space, and the rest would contain luxury studio and one- and two-bedroom apartments.

It would be part of a radical overhauling of the block bordered by Dennis Ryan Parkway to the north, Hancock Street to the south, Walter J. Hannon Parkway to the east and Cottage Avenue to the west. Right now, the block’s large parking lot is bordered to the west by several restaurants.

The city’s current vision calls for most of the block to change. A seven-story mixed-use building would wrap around the corner of the Ryan and Hannon parkways, and a similar building would be built near the corner of Hannon and Hancock. A hotel would be built on Hancock Street, and a municipal parking garage containing 600 to 700 spaces would be built in the middle of where the parking lot is now.

Pam McKinney, a consultant for the city, said the Chestnut Place project requires the garage to exist, and that they can, together, “unlock the development potential of the block,” bringing in more investment.

Several councilors expressed concerns about the fact that the city would be selling off this land rather than leasing it. Ward 4 Councilor Brian Palmucci said the city would be not only giving up a financial asset, but also an element of control.

“We only have so much public land with which to control the debate,” he said.

McKinney said there wouldn’t be much difference between the effects of this land-development agreement and the effects of a lease. Under the LDA, the developers would not have to pay property taxes; instead, they would give the city up to 10 percent of their annual revenue.

McKinney said a building this big wouldn’t be feasible without such an agreement. If the city wants want a 15-story building rather than a seven-story building, it needs to help out, she said She said she believed that the amount the city gets from having a “piece of the action” in the bigger building’s revenue would end up being just about what ordinary taxes would be on a smaller building.

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