By SCOTT JACKSON
Residents living near a proposed 80-unit condominium building on Adams Street in Quincy Center said they were concerned the new addition to the neighborhood could add to parking and traffic woes in the area, though they liked the look of the structure.
About two dozen residents attended a community meeting Thursday inside City Hall on the proposal for 24-26 Adams St. The parcels of land are home to a single-story commercial building and the former Hamel, Wickens & Troupe Funeral Home, and are adjacent to the Adams Academy. The parcels include 32,000 square feet of land in a business C zoning district.
Capital Construction Management, led by Derrick Fitzgerald, has proposed constructing the new condominium building on site. The building would stand six stories tall. Half of the 80 units would have one bedroom and the other half two bedrooms. Some of the units would also include balconies.
The building would include two levels of parking, one below grade and the other on the ground floor, with 84 spaces between them. The developer has also proposed a semi-circular driveway in front of the building for deliveries and dropping off and picking and up residents.
Edward Fleming, Fitzgerald’s attorney, said architect Brian Donahue included design elements meant to emulate the Adams Academy in his plans for the six-story building. The Adams Academy, built in 1872, is home to the Quincy Historical Society and sits on the birthplace of John Hancock.
“He looked at the Adams Academy building. He saw the brick, he saw granite and he saw the colors that were used in that facility,” Fleming said. “He tried to use the materials and tried to show something that would be a little more appeasing to the character of the area.”
As part of the project, the developer has proposed adding 10 to 15 feet of green space around the building, Fleming said. The mature trees located between 24 Adams St. and the Adams Academy would not be impacted by the project, he added, because those are located on the Adams Academy property. The building would be pulled back from the property line along Adams Street as much as possible to preserve views of the Adams Academy for motorists on the road.
The project would require approval from the Planning Board, the Zoning Board of Appeals and the Quincy Historic Commission. The developer had not yet filed plans with those boards, Fleming said, though the team had spoken to both the Planning Department and Quincy Historical Society.
In addition, Fleming said the developer would have to appear before the Affordable Housing Trust Committee, which would determine if affordable housing units would be built on site or if the developer would make a payment into the trust fund.
Once permitting is complete, Fitzgerald said it could take up to 18 months to construct the building. Fleming said much of that time would be spent on interior work, such as electrical and plumbing.
Many of the residents at the meeting live at 1 Adams St., an eight-story building located on the opposite side of Hancock Street from the proposed building.
Several of those who spoke said they liked the look of the proposal.
“It looks like it would fit right in,” said Bill Meyer. “Especially with the setbacks.”
Parking and traffic were concerns, however. Residents said the stretch of Adams Street in question – located just north of the five-way intersection where Hancock, Adams and Dimmock Streets and Whitney Road meet – is already fraught and were concerned the building would add to the problem.
“I really like this project. I just wish that you had more parking,” said Lyman Yee.
“This is going to exponentially increase parking problems and traffic problems on Adams Street,” said Bob Larkin. “With the millions and millions of dollars they spent redeveloping the downtown, the traffic is just incredible. I cannot see that there is going to be any relief from this.”
Fleming said the city’s Planning Department would require a traffic study as part of the review process. The Planning Board could take up to four months reviewing the project, he said, including multiple public hearings.
“The thing about this process is it is very cumbersome for developers, believe it or not,” Fleming said, noting the developer would have to pay for an independent peer review of the project as part of the Planning Board process.
“They will not approve a case until that peer review engineer has signed off on it and said that everything that’s been done – all the studies – have been done properly and it will not have a negative impact on drainage, traffic and things of that nature.”
Ward 1 Councillor David McCarthy said he would bring the residents’ concerns regarding the current state of traffic at the intersection to the city’s traffic department. The community meeting, he said, is just the first step in what could be a long process.
“This is the beginning of the road,” he said.