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Which Boston 'burb is The Comeback Kid?

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October 13, 2015
The topping off this month of the first building in Gate Residential's $60M multifamily complex in historic Quincy marks its recovery from the high-profile, 2013 failure of a $1B redevelopment plan that left a large pit downtown. Like the cavernous hole that Vornado/Gale International left in downtown Boston in 2008, the scar in Quincy (the town where John Adams and John Quincy Adams were born and buried) couldn’t keep a good city down. Which Boston 'burb is The Comeback Kid? The long-held public vision of reviving the core of the South Shore’s largest city is finally being realized, says Gate Residential principal Kyle Warwick. The city's resilience is thanks in large measure to location (also location and location): on the water, just 12 miles from downtown Boston; and a 20-minute commute on the coveted Red Line that runs through Quincy, Boston and Cambridge.

In 18 months, the city—with state and federal funding—expects to complete Phase 1 of a $25M Quincy Center infrastructure modernization plan that will upgrade utilities, roadways and sidewalks. It’s introducing a new park system that will incorporate the burial site of the Adams presidents, which is now in a traffic island. Gate Residential’s West of Chestnut will be the first new residential complex to be delivered in the center in 10 years, says Gate Residential principal Damian Szary (above with Liz Bello, project manager for West of Chestnut and One North of Boston II).

West of Chestnut, which Gate Residential is developing in a JV with Quincy Mutual Insurance, will have 169 apartments and 12k SF of retail in two buildings. The first building is due for completion by April. Gate Residential knows about developing in “outer urban” locations that are near downtown Boston, like Somerville and Waltham. And in Chelsea, Gate Residential is building its second, 222-unit apartment building in its $120M One North of Boston complex; its first 230-unit building opened in April 2014 and has been 100% occupied since August 2014, Damian says.

In Quincy, Redgate’s site is one block from the multimodal transit center that includes a Red Line stop, and across the street from city hall and a supermarket. The once sleepy retail scene is awakening with investors, like nationally acclaimed chef—and pioneer in Boston’s Seaport District—Barbara Lynch, who will soon open a place in Quincy Center, Kyle says. The city’s infrastructure improvements will enhance Quincy’s “connectivity” and make it more walkable. Meanwhile, throughout the South Shore, there’s no other new urban product like West of Chestnut.

At West of Chestnut, a 700 SF one-bedroom will rent for about $2k/month, compared to $3,500/month for a similar residence in downtown Boston, Kyle says. The building designed by Shesky Architects with interiors by Dennis Duffy will feature stone countertops, high-quality Italian cabinetry and energy-efficient appliances. Amenities will include a fitness center with Rogue equipment, a club with bar, an outdoor kitchen and fire pit, and underground parking. In any project, Kyle says the major risks are up front and during construction of below-grade parking. He feels West of Chestnut came out quickly and well. Read more...
Susan Diesenhouse, Bisnow BOS