16-Story Building Proposed For North Quincy

RENDERING showing a proposed 16-story building that would be located on the corner of Hancock and Newbury streets in North Quincy. The project has been approved by the Zoning Board of Appeals and is awaiting review from the Planning Board. Rendering courtesy CUBE 3 architects.

By SCOTT JACKSON

The Zoning Board of Appeals has given its approval to a developer’s plan to construct a 16-story building with 240 residential units on Hancock Street in North Quincy – a proposal the applicant said would rehabilitate a gateway to the city.

The plan still requires approval from the Planning Board before the project can commence.

The developer, Tremont Quincy 1 LLC, is seeking to construct the new building at 71 and 61-69 Hancock St. The two parcels contain 0.82 acres of land, according to the city’s online property records, and are currently home to Bert’s Electric Supply, Domino’s Pizza and a single-family home.

The applicant went before the Zoning Board of Appeals on May 11 and received the go-ahead from the board for the project that evening.

Sam Slater, the principal of the company seeking to construct the new building, told the board the proposal would greatly improve the surrounding area.

“I just wanted to say how committed we are to the city of Quincy and how confident we are that this is a project that brings tremendous value to the community,” Slater said, adding the project would be a “huge improvement to the community and to the neighborhood.”

During their presentation, the applicant’s team said the new building would enhance a gateway to Quincy.

“We are really excited about the building,” said Brian O’Connor, an architect with the firm CUBE 3. “The idea here is really to treat this as a gateway into the city and think about how we can start to combine some very traditional Quincy materials, the red brick and the masonry, on the front edge of the building with some really more modern materials towards the back.

“We really want this building to not only reflect and bring forward some of the language of downtown Quincy, but also to be a very overtly modern building that really welcomes sort of where the city is going.”

The first four floors of the building would serve as parking garage, with 204 total spaces available. Vehicles would enter and exit the garage on Newbury Street. The remaining 12 floors would house 240 residential units – a mix of studios, and one-, two- and three-bedroom units.

The top 12 floors would be constructed in an L-shape, leaving room for a 6,800-square-foot elevated courtyard on the fifth floor on the side of the building opposite Hancock Street. Other amenities would include a dog park for residents at the ground level and a sky lounge on the 16th floor of the building with views of Boston and Boston Harbor.

O’Connor noted there are other high-rise buildings in the area, including the 12-story Neponset Landing building and a 10-story building at 100 Hancock St.

“There are some larger buildings in the area and all three buildings that we are taking down are low-rise,” he said. “We think putting something a little bit more substantial here has an opportunity to really anchor the northern edge of the city.”

David Mahoney, the attorney representing the developer, noted the city currently collects $37,000 annually in property taxes from the two parcels. Once the new building is complete, the city could collect up to $800,000 annually in property taxes.

Shaun Kelly, the applicant’s traffic engineer, said 16,000 vehicles travel each day along the elevated section of Quincy Shore Drive near the project site, and the peak hourly traffic is about 1,400 vehicles. Some 3,000 vehicles traverse the section of Hancock Street adjacent to the project site on a daily basis, Kelly said, with up to 180 cars an hour during peak periods.

The new building would generate 60 to 70 vehicle trips during the busiest hour each morning and evening, he said.

“In terms of an increase, it is about a trip per minute coming and going from the site,” Kelly stated. “This project, in the immediate vicinity of the site where the impacts are most focused, it’s about a 5 percent increase in traffic – and I would point out that is assuming there was no traffic activity at the site today.”

Mahoney said there would likely be a shuttle bus to bring residents of the building to and from the North Quincy MBTA station.

Two residents spoke against the project during the May 11 ZBA meeting, both citing concerns about traffic and the size of the building.

“I’m very concerned about this 16-story building…the impact of the traffic flow,” said Pat Lescinskas, a Hancock Street resident. “I can’t see why they can’t do the building either eight or ten stories high. It shouldn’t be higher than that.”

Board members voted unanimously in favor of the project.

“I think it is a beautiful building,” said Martin Aikens, the board’s chairman.

“I would love to see people come into Quincy and see that baby right there telling them that is what we’re about and that is what this city is about – having something really nice when you come into the city. I want to thank the applicants for taking the time to go through the whole thing and really build something really nice.”

Board member John Himmel said he was concerned about vehicles using the intersection of Hancock Street and Newbury Street to access the site, but said that could be reviewed as part of the Planning Board’s process.

North Quincy Electric Project Begins This Month

National Grid on Thursday announced plans for an expedited construction schedule for a portion of its North Quincy Cable Replacement Project, a $92 million investment to modernize and strengthen its electric transmission network in Quincy.

Over the past year, National Grid has worked closely with and received extensive input from municipal officials and other local stakeholders. The project will help improve safety and reliability and provide the area’s transmission grid with greater operational flexibility, the company said in a statement. It will also improve the system’s ability to support new customers, large and small, allowing National Grid to provide continued service for residents and businesses in the region.

The North Quincy Cable Project will replace the 115kV underground electric transmission cables located between National Grid’s North Quincy Substation and National Grid’s Field Street Substation. The existing cables are nearly 50 years old, and in recent years National Grid has made numerous repairs to ensure continued reliable delivery of electricity to customers. The old cables will be replaced with new modern cables installed within a concrete duct bank and manhole system.

National Grid will begin construction activities during the week of May 17, with work taking place on Newport Avenue around Stratton Way, West Squantum Street, and a privately-owned parking lot on Newport Avenue Extension. Work was initially slated to begin in 2022, but National Grid sought a 2021 start while traffic levels are reduced because of COVID-19. The company will utilize a horizontal directional drilling construction method to install a conduit of about 1,800 feet in length between these two work sites, which will reduce traffic impacts to the greatest extent feasible.

This phase of construction is expected to be complete by the end of July 2021. All other construction will begin in 2022, with the full project completion expected by the end of 2023.

“The North Quincy Cable Project will improve our ability to serve our customers and allow us to support continued economic growth in Quincy and surrounding communities,” said Tim Moore, vice president of electric project management and construction, National Grid New England. “We’re proud to be investing in improving and strengthening our existing systems which will allow us to continue to provide the electricity our customers depend on well into the future.”

Project benefits include: a safer, more reliable and resilient electric transmission system to support our customers in Quincy and surrounding communities; enhanced ability to meet growing electric energy needs; modern cables protected by concrete duct bank; more efficient means of maintenance and repair; and increased property tax revenues for Quincy.

National Grid has hosted two online open house events and is conducting a comprehensive community outreach and communications program to ensure neighbors in Quincy can participate, obtain answers and plan around construction impacts. Company representatives will regularly communicate with stakeholders.

Interested parties can learn more by visiting northquincycableproject.com, calling 1-800-358-3879 and emailing info@northquincycableproject.com. In-person community outreach began in March and will continue through all phases of construction to share the latest project information.

Coronavirus Vaccinations For Adolescents Could Begin Thursday

By SCOTT JACKSON

Children as young as 12 in Massachusetts will able to get vaccinated against the coronavirus starting Thursday, pending federal authorization, Gov. Charlie Baker said Wednesday.

The FDA on Monday authorized the Pfizer vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds. A CDC advisory panel is scheduled to meet Wednesday to review the use of the vaccine for that age group.

Baker on Wednesday morning said the 400,000 children in that age group in Massachusetts would be able to get Pfizer shots as soon as Thursday assuming the CDC green lights the vaccine.

“We are working with our providers and mass vaccination sites and others to put plans in place to vaccinate this group once we receive word of a final approval. The Department of Public Health has already reached out to the primary care community and to the pediatric provider community in order to discuss with them a process for ensuring they are part of administering the Pfizer vaccine throughout their practices,” Baker said.

“Pending the CDC’s approval for this group, people age 12 to 15 will be able to book appointments or access a walk-up appointment beginning on Thursday, May 13.”

Baker spoke to reporters after touring the Norwood facility where a second company, Moderna, manufacturers its COVID-19 vaccine.

“Now, more than ever, we are enormously proud to be able to call Moderna a Massachusetts-based company,” the governor said.

“It goes without saying we are all so grateful for the innovation that happens here at Moderna and the fact that on a very complicated and difficult task, with very short time frames, this company delivered – not just for the people of the commonwealth, but for people all over the world.”

Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said the federal government could clear his company’s vaccine for use in 12- to 17-year-olds in the coming weeks.

“We are not talking months – we are talking weeks away,” he said. “Safety is priority number one, and when the FDA will feel comfortable, we will get the vaccine authorized.”

Moderna and Pfizer are both studying their vaccines in children under the age of 12 as well.

It is important for children to be vaccinated against the coronavirus to help stop its spread, Bancel said.

“If you think about herd immunity…we think it is important as we know children, because of a strong immune system, a lot of time don’t get disease but can transmit the virus,” he said.

“With the spread of variants of concern, I think it is important to vaccinate as many people as we can, but I leave it to state officials to dictate the right policy for the state.”

Moderna is also working on plans to provide booster shots as soon as the fall using one of three approaches, Bancel said. One is a shot of the original vaccine, the second is a vaccine tailored to the South African variant of the coronavirus, and the third is a 50-50 mix of the two. The company will choose one of those candidates based on clinic data and then conduct an additional study over the coming months.

“We are hoping that toward the end of the summer or early fall we should be able, if the data is good, to have an authorization for a booster to be used in the fall to protect all of us so we can have a good fall and a then next a good winter,” Bancel said.

Moderna hopes to test “mixing of vaccines, meaning regardless of what vaccine you got initially in early 2021, when it is time to get a booster, you can mix the products,” he stated.

Virtual Building With Humanity May 20

The public is invited to attend Habitat for Humanity Greater Boston’s virtual event, Building With Humanity, on Thursday, May 20 from 4:30-5 p.m.
The 30-minute program will feature special guest speakers such as Habitat families, elected officials, and Habitat Greater Boston leadership. The group will be discussing how they build safe and sustainable housing for hardworking Boston families with dreams of one day owning their own home.
Admission is free. Please feel free to extend this invite to family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors who would like to learn about Habitat Greater Boston.
To learn more about our event and to register, visit https://buildingwithhumanity.habitatboston.org/2021/1088283.

More Bay State Businesses Can Open Monday

By SCOTT JACKSON

Gov. Charlie Baker on Friday said additional phase four industries will be able to reopen next week as previously announced.

Amusement parks, theme parks and outdoor water parks will be allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity as of Monday after submitting safety plans to the Department of Public Health.

Road races and other large, outdoor organized amateur or professional group athletic events will also be permitted to take place with staggered starts and other safety measures in place after submitting plans to the DPH or local health officials.

In addition, large capacity indoor and outdoor stadiums, arenas and ballparks will see their capacity increase from 12 to 25 percent; youth and adult amateur sports tournaments will be allowed for moderate and high-risk sports; singing will be permitted indoors with strict distancing requirements; and grocery stores and retailers will no longer be required to offer special hours for seniors, though they are encouraged to do so.

Additional changes are expected to come into effect on May 29, provided public health and vaccination data support them.

Parades, street festivals and agricultural festivals will be allowed as of then, after appropriate safety plans are submitted to local health officials. In Quincy, Mayor Thomas Koch has announced he plans to hold the annual Flag Day parade and fireworks on June 12.

Bars, beer gardens, breweries, wineries and distilleries will also be allowed to reopen, subject to restaurant rules with seated service only, a 90-minute time limit and no dance floors. Restaurant guidance will also be relaxed to allow the sale of alcohol without food and the maximum table size will increase to 10.

Gathering limits will increase to 200 people indoors and 250 outdoors for event venues, public settings and private settings.

Massachusetts entered the fourth phase of Baker’s four-phased reopening plan on March 22. Since then, daily new COVID-19 cases have dropped by 45 percent, hospitalizations have dropped by 23 percent, and deaths have dropped by 69 percent, state officials said. All these metrics have fallen by around 80 percent or more since the beginning of 2021.

The state also remains a national leader in COVID-19 vaccinations, officials said, with 3.9 million residents having gotten at least one dose of the vaccine.

A full reopening is planned for Aug. 1.

11 Residents Have Pulled Nomination Papers

By SCOTT JACKSON

Eleven Quincy residents have taken out nomination papers to seek municipal office in this fall’s election as of the end of the business day on Thursday

All nine seats on the City Council will be up for grabs this year along with three of the six seats on the School Committee. There is no mayoral election this year in Quincy.

Six of the residents have pulled papers to run for School Committee.

They include all three incumbents: Douglas Gutro of Arnold Street, Emily Lebo of Highland Avenue, and Courtney Perdios of Ruggles Street. Joining them are political newcomers Ellen Patterson O’Donnell of Hatherly Road, Liberty Schaaf of Howe Street and Elizabeth Speakman of Merrymount.

The other five residents have pulled papers to run for City Council. Four are incumbents seeking reelection: At-large Councillor Noel DiBona of Chickatabot Road; Ward 3 Councillor Ian Cain of Forbes Hill Road; Ward 5 Councillor Charles Phelan Jr. of Fenno Street; and Ward 6 Councillor William Harris of Ashworth Road. Joining them is Steven Perdios of Ruggles Street, who is seeking the Ward 2 seat.

The deadline to return the nomination papers to the Board of Registrars is 5 p.m. on July 27 and certified nomination papers, including a statement of candidacy, must be submitted to the city clerk by 5 p.m. on Aug. 10.

The signatures of 50 registered voters are required to run for each office in a municipal election. Residents seeking one of the six ward councillor seats must obtain the signatures from within their ward.

If necessary, a preliminary election would be held on Sept. 14. A preliminary election would be required if more than two candidates run for one ward council seat, or if more than six ran for either councillor at-large or the school board.

Ballot position for the preliminary election would be determined during a drawing at 10 a.m. on Aug. 13. The deadline to register to vote in the preliminary would be 8 p.m. on Aug. 25, the deadline to apply to vote by mail in the preliminary election – assuming state lawmakers allow mail-in voting this fall – would be Sept. 8, and absentee balloting would end at noon on Sept. 13.

The final election will take place on Nov. 2. The deadline to register to vote in the November election is 8 p.m. on Oct. 13, the deadline to apply to vote by mail is Oct. 27, and absentee voting ends at noon on Nov. 1.

Stop & Shop Pharmacies Providing Same-Day COVID-19 Vaccinations

In order to expand access to COVID-19 vaccinations, Stop & Shop, in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), announced Thusday (May 6) that all Stop & Shop Pharmacy locations in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey are now providing same-day immunizations for the COVID-19 vaccine. Customers can still schedule a vaccine appointment on Stop & Shop’s website, but appointments are no longer required to receive an immunization.

Stop & Shop operates more than 250 pharmacies across the Northeast, each offering either the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine. Customers can now walk in and receive a COVID-19 vaccine at any pharmacy location without scheduling an appointment in advance, though availability of the vaccine to walk-ins will be determined by supply levels in each store.

“Stop & Shop has been proud to support our communities throughout the pandemic, most recently by administering the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Katie Thornell, director of Pharmacy Operations at Stop & Shop. “We are prepared to continue helping members of the community protect themselves against COVID-19 by allowing all customers 18 and older the convenience of walking into any of our pharmacies to receive their immunization without needing to schedule an appointment in advance.”

In December, Stop & Shop announced a partnership with the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) to be among the first COVID-19 vaccine providers, making the shot available to its customers across the Northeast. The vaccine is being administered at no out-of-pocket cost.

During immunization, customers will be required to wear PPE and pharmacists will be equipped with masks, gloves, and face shields. The pharmacy team utilizes the same thorough disinfection protocols for all patients, disinfecting and sanitizing between each patient to ensure the health & safety for all patients. Customers are asked to bring identification and insurance, if applicable, when seeking a vaccine.

Flu, pneumonia, shingles, and other immunizations are currently available to customers at all Stop & Shop Pharmacy locations. To find your nearest Stop & Shop pharmacy, visit www.stopandshop.com/pharmacy. For more information on Stop & Shop’s rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, visit www.stopandshop.com/covid-vaccine.

Flag Day Parade, Fireworks To Return June 12th

Mayor Thomas Koch announces the 70th annual Quincy Flag Day Parade will be held this year on Saturday, June 12th and will be followed by a fireworks display over Quincy Bay.  The longest-running Flag Day Parade in the country will again feature bands, floats, color guards, specialty units, and hundreds of flag-waving youngsters.

Gov. Charlie Baker lifted the pandemic-driven prohibition on parades two weeks ago.  As of May 29th, parades will be on the state’s allowed list, making Quincy’s Flag Day Parade one of the first large public events in almost 18 months.  Event organizers are encouraging participants and spectators to adhere to state regulations on social distancing and mask-wearing at the event.

Last year, the City held a “car parade” and displayed a massive version of Old Glory across Merrymount Parkway for decorated vehicles to pass under.

“We are grateful to be returning to the traditional parade format that generations of Quincy folks have marched in and enjoyed,” Koch said.  “This event has long been the kick-off to the summer season and restoring this important local tradition is yet another sign that we are emerging from the pandemic.  We ask that everyone still take the precautions needed to protect their family but come out and enjoy a great family event.”

This year’s fireworks will be held over Quincy Bay to allow for a much larger viewing area.  Spectators can line the shores in Squantum, Wollaston Beach, Merrymount, Adams Shore, and Houghs Neck to spread out and safely enjoy a fantastic show from Atlas Fireworks.

This year’s parade will step-off at 7 p.m. from the intersection of Coddington and Washington Street.  It will head north up Hancock Street and turn into Merrymount Park on Merrymount Parkway before wrapping up at Adams Field.  There will not be a ceremony at Pageant Field this year between the parade and fireworks.The fireworks show is slated to begin at approximately 9 p.m. over Quincy Bay.

The large American flag that is typically raised at Pageant Field before the fireworks will instead be raised and on display on Merrymount Parkway. The parade procession will pass underneath the flag.

Quincy’s Flag Day Parade was launched by Richard Koch, Sr. in 1952.  Koch had youth members of the Koch Club march through Norfolk Downs and finish with a flag-raising ceremony at Cavanagh Stadium.  Seventy year later, Richard Koch’s son, Mayor Thomas Koch leads the volunteer Flag Day Committee in keeping this Quincy tradition alive.

Quincy Fire Dept., Red Cross Team Up On Home Fire Safety

The American Red Cross of Massachusetts is on a mission to make more than 600 homes across the state safer by Saturday, May 8.

Volunteers are meeting with residents by appointment – either virtually or socially-distanced outside their homes – to share crucial fire safety information, help create an escape plan, and practice a two-minute drill. This information is free and available to anyone who makes an appointment. In some communities, the Red Cross is working with partner fire departments to offer free smoke alarm installations when it becomes safe to do so.

“Home fires remain the most frequent disaster during COVID-19, yet most of us don’t realize we have just two minutes to safely escape,” said Holly Grant, CEO of the Red Cross of Massachusetts. “We’re still spending more time than ever inside during the pandemic, so it’s critical that we help our neighbors protect themselves from these everyday disasters.”

This effort comes as part of a larger national push to educate 100,000 people about home fire safety in high-risk communities. Here in Massachusetts, focus cities include Worcester, Brockton and Quincy, although individuals in any city or town (owner or renter) may participate.

To sign up for free home fire safety education, visit SoundTheAlarm.org/Massachusetts. The Red Cross is also looking for additional volunteers to train as home fire safety educators and offer this training in their own community.

The Red Cross of Massachusetts is grateful for the support of our sponsors, National Grid and Harvard Pilgrim. This effort would not be possible without the support of the focus cities, with special thanks to Mayor Joseph Petty of Worcester, Mayor Robert Sullivan of Brockton and the Quincy, Worcester and Brockton fire departments and emergency management teams.

For more information, visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

No Bail For Suspect In Quincy Triple Stabbing

By SCOTT JACKSON

The Weymouth man accused of stabbing three people outside a Quincy tavern will remain behind bars following a dangerousness hearing.

Tyler MacLean, age 24, was deemed dangerous by Judge Mark Coven following the hearing at Quincy District Court on Wednesday, according to the Norfolk District Attorney’s Office. Coven ordered MacLean be held without bail.

MacLean is due back in Quincy District Court on June 2 for a probable cause hearing.

Quincy police had charged MacLean with stabbing three individuals, all 21-year-old males, outside Rags Tavern on Washington Street after they responded to a report of a disorder there at 1 a.m. on April 25. One of the men was taken to Boston Medical Center in serious condition while the other two were taken to South Shore Hospital in Weymouth.

MacLean was charged with three counts of attempted murder, three counts of assault and battery with a deadly weapon (a knife) and one count of disorderly conduct. A not guilty plea was entered on his behalf during his arraignment on April 26 at the Quincy District Court and MacLean was ordered held without bail at that time pending the dangerousness hearing.