Record-Breaking Historic Redevelopment Moves Forward in Massachusetts

The town of Quincy, Mass., has taken the next step in its future plans. A partnership with the city’s Street-Works Development and The Beal Cos. has committed to drive forward a $1.6 billion redevelopment of Quincy's Downtown.

January 19, 2012
By Scott Baltic, Contributing Editor

The town of Quincy, Mass., has taken the next step in its future plans. A partnership with the city’s Street-Works Development L.L.C and The Beal Cos. of Boston has committed to drive forward a $1.6 billion redevelopment of that city’s Downtown area, the companies announced Tuesday. Touted as “the largest historic redevelopment in Massachusetts,” the project will eventually cover 20 blocks, or about 50 acres, in this city of 92,000 population.

As Beal/Street-Works, the two companies will be co-managing partners on the 3.5 million-square-foot Quincy Center, a transit-oriented, mixed-use project that will encompass 1.1 million square feet of new office space, 700,000 square feet of retail, two hotels, and more than 1,400 new rental and condo residential units.

Street-Works co-founder and managing partner Ken Narva told Commercial Property Executive that the office component will consist of two buildings of up to 20 stories with up to 35,000-square-foot floor plates and the possibility of connections between them. Based on the Boston area’s economy, he said, target tenants will be in the wellness/medical, higher education and corporate office areas.

Last September, it was announced that National Realty and Development Corp. would help develop up to 400,000 square feet of the retail space. Taking the omni-channel retailing concept into account along with the project’s six- or seven-year timeline, Narva said, this three-level community-focused retail component is intended to give major retailers the flexibility to choose smaller spaces than they traditionally have taken.

Consumers these days are “not coming to the store for price or selection,” he said. “They’re getting that online.” He notes that with most suburban areas already over-retailed, the growth in retail space will increasingly be in urban environments. The remaining 300,000 square feet of retail, Narva said, will be about half restaurants and half convenience/service retail. Additionally, the developers envision the project’s two hotels to be smaller boutique properties, with one focused on business travelers and the other on visitors and tourists.

Finally, he said, the project will include Adams Green, a four-acre interpretive center and tourist site centered on John Adams, the second President, and and John Quincy Adams, the sixth President, both of whom were born in Quincy.

Narva emphasized that the site’s access to public transit is crucial. “Without mass transportation, we wouldn’t be doing this project,” he said. The Boston rapid transit system’s Red Line, which carries a quarter-million people each day, has a station in the middle of the property, and several commuter rail lines also meet at the same station.

Quincy Center’s funding was kicked off in part late last year, when the Commonwealth of Massachusetts allocated $50 million from the Infrastructure Investment Incentive economic development program. Under I-Cubed, the state, municipality and private developer share the costs and risks of building the public infrastructure needed to support a project. In the overall arrangement, Quincy will invest public funds only after the project produces new tax revenues, so repayment of the city’s bonds will be carried by Quincy Center, not by taxpayers.

Pointing out that the developers have already invested half a dozen years in Quincy Center, Narva added with evident pride that the site was assembled without recourse to eminent domain.

Street-Works has completed mixed-use projects across the country, including Santana Row in San Jose, Calif.; Bethesda Row in Bethesda, Md.; and Blue Back Square in West Hartford, Conn. The company is currently also leading major urban redevelopments in Detroit and Dallas.