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Quincy Marina Bay project shrinks by 30 units

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  May 6, 2013 02:41 PM

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A two building apartment complex proposed for Quincy’s Marina Bay has been reduced in size a third time, bringing the total number of units down from 382 to 352.

The size of the project has been at the forefront of Planning Board discussions since the development was proposed in October 2012. Developers have agreed to shrink the project to assuage density concerns.

“We reduced the size of the project … for both dwelling units and parking spaces and the automobile traffic that would generate,” said Planning Director Dennis Harrington. He called it “a substantial reduction to the planning board application, but it’s still a significant project.”

As it currently stands, the 352 units (down from the 464 units initially proposed) would be placed in two buildings.

The first stage would construct 195 units in a building taking the place of the Water Club (formerly Marina Bay Beach Club and Waterworks). The second stage would build 157 units in a space overtaking current boat storage.

The apartments, which are expected to draw the highest rents in the city, would be surrounded by a boardwalk, which has been doubled in size over the course of the project.

Other changes include a reduction in the height of the buildings. The number of parking spaces have also been reduced, as a request to narrow each slot from 9 feet wide to 8.5 feet wide went unapproved.

“It started out that there was some concerns about height. I think that was resolved to a great degree for most people. There were concerns about parking, that was resolved,” Harrington said.

Harrington noted that some residents were still wary of the traffic the new development would bring, yet with an enhanced shuttle service provided by the developers, which will bring people from the apartments to local T stops, even that impact should be lessened.

“People don’t like traffic, and there is a lot of traffic in the peak hours. But this developer has provided a mandatory enhanced system for shuttle to the T station,” he said.

Ward Councilor Brian McNamee said the approval process for the development set a new standard by which projects should be reviewed.

“I don’t think there has ever been a project that has been more thoroughly vetted,” he said.

“[The developer] obviously has a financial objective they are trying to achieve to do the development, and I think they have been pushed to what would be their minimum viability,” McNamee said.

McNamee said there was still some concern within his ward, as there is about any large-scale development. Those concerns were echoed in dozens of letters sent through the public comment period to the Planning Board.

Regardless, the hope moving forward is that the project will bring only positive things to Quincy.

“A lot of the business can and hopefully will benefit from additional commercial, residential, and retail uses. It’s an economic ecosystem, and it’s delicately balanced,” McNamee said. “There have been great efforts to make sure what’s a successful mixed-use project is not impaired by this additional development. I think it’s really a story about the planning board and Dennis’s efforts. I think they have done a very good job and worked very hard.”

Though final approvals are underway, Harrington said people shouldn’t expect to see any steal in the ground any time soon.

The project still needs Zoning Board approval for a flood plain permit and needs approval to put a residential project in a Business C zone. Conservation Commission approval will also be needed to have construction so close to a coastal bank.

With those approvals in hand, the developer will need to bid the job, finance the project, finalize construction design, and get building permits. Not to mention the coordination from numerous utility companies that will need to be sorted through.

“[There are] plenty of things they have to do over the next six months before they can start thinking of pulling building permits,” Harrington said.

Harrington expects construction to begin next year.

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