By SCOTT JACKSON
The approval process for a new medical office building in Quincy Center has yet to begin, but the developer of the property has reached an agreement with two local hospital groups who would share the new space.
Mayor Thomas Koch on Feb. 7 announced South Shore Health System – the operator of South Shore Hospital – and Partners HealthCare’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital would rent the space in the 200,000 square foot building that will be constructed on the site of the city-owned Ross Lot. Quincy-based FoxRock Properties will construct the new building, along with a 140-room hotel and a third building with 110 units of workforce housing.
Construction on site could start as soon as the spring of 2020, the mayor said, and would take about 18 months to complete.
Koch said the closure of the Quincy Medical Center in December 2014 left a void the new building in Quincy Center would fill.
“We saw the demise of Quincy Medical over the years, and since that time we’ve had a tremendous vacuum of medical services. People have to leave the city to get some very basic medical needs taken care of. That’s about to change,” Koch said.
“This will be a fulfilment of the transformation of the downtown and the return of some excellent, professional medical services for the residents of the city.”
Rob Hale, the founder of FoxRock Properties and the President and CEO of Granite Telecommunications, said his company is proud to be part of the resurgence in Quincy.
“Quincy a couple hundred years ago was an important part of America. For a couple decades, it hasn’t run as augustly as it used to be, but in the last five years it has had a resurgence,” Hale said. “We want to be part of that resurgence and we’re honored to be part of that resurgence.”
Dr. Gene Green, the president and CEO of the South Shore Health System, said the mix of medical offices coming to the new building has yet to be determined. He said it was unlikely the facility would include an emergency department, trauma center or maternity ward.
Before development of the new site can begin, the City Council will have to approve a land disposition agreement (LDA) authorizing the sale of the land to the developer. Koch said he plans to submit the LDA to the council for approval on Feb. 25. The project would also require approval from the Planning Board.
Part of the agreement with FoxRock will include tax benefits for the medical space, Koch said, but not the hotel or residential buildings. South Shore Health System and Partners HealthCare are both non-profit companies.
“They will certainly be paying on the hotel and the residential,” the mayor said. “The question is what would they pay for the medical, if anything. Generally, medical business is non-profit and doesn’t pay taxes, and I’m willing to forego that to bring medical uses back to the city.”
“We’re still working out the numbers so I can’t really say what the numbers are at this point,” Koch added.
He will also introduce on Feb. 25 a new bond for downtown improvements in the range of $25 million. That bond will include funding to design a new public parking garage in the area of the Ross Lot; Koch expects state money would be used to fund the garage’s construction. The bond will be paid for using the district improvement financing (DIF) program, which means new tax revenue from Quincy Center would pay back the funds borrowed.
In addition, Koch said he plans to introduce a new amendment to the Urban Revitalization and Development Plan for Quincy Center during the Feb. 25 meeting.
South Shore Health System also plans to move into the second and third floors of the office building at 1495 Hancock St. in Quincy Center, which is also owned by FoxRock, this summer. A primary care practice will operate inside that building.