by Jonathan Miller
Considered among the largest urban revitalization efforts in Massachusetts, the new Quincy Center will encompass more than 50 acres of mixed-use development in the heart of this crowded historic city.
LBC Boston broke ground on a cornerstone Quincy Center project at 1500 Hancock Street in 2017. The 153,000sf mixed-use development called Nova Residences provides continuity to this congested commercial corridor, connectivity to other development parcels, and a municipal parking garage planned for the lot behind the building.
The project replaces a previously vacant retail strip and includes 15,000sf of modern retail and restaurant space supporting 171 apartments above. Extended sidewalks, additional seating, and inviting landscaping will provide outdoor dining, open pedestrian space, and an engaging streetscape. A large glass atrium that connects the apartment building, Hancock Street, and a parking garage will offer all-weather space with seating, art, and 24-hour access to the nearby Quincy Center Red Line T-station.
While the newly invigorated block is designed to be a first-class urban destination, the project is not without its challenges. Three of the biggest challenges the project team must overcome include old infrastructure, traffic, and preserving the city’s historic character.
Major infrastructure upgrades
Construction manager D.F. Pray is managing this complex jobsite and keeping the project progressing smoothly. After demolishing the existing outdated building on the site, the focus is on relocating and reconstructing a portion of the old town brook. The work includes a complex design of structural footings embedded in a post-tensioned concrete podium along the culvert line to ensure the site is secure before erecting the building. Moving the culvert will take several months to complete, leaving only 19 months to finish the project.
Despite the challenging work and the impact of severe weather, precast culvert sections for the new drainage infrastructure are ready to be set, site improvements are underway, and perimeter walls and columns are being poured.
Working in a tightly packed area
The team is working closely with the Quincy Department of Public Works (DPW) and local engineers to minimize traffic impacts. New access ways will provide alternative routes to bring deliveries to and from the construction site, and a staging area will be located on a portion of a nearby existing parking lot to limit the impact on residents.
To expedite construction in this confined area, the team will use concrete on the first two floors of the new building and modular wood-frame construction, prefabricated offsite and hoisted into place, for the remaining five floors. In addition to fast-tracking the schedule, the approach mitigates the logistical challenges of stick-built construction on a tight footprint in this busy urban corridor.
Blending old and new
As the city’s designated redeveloper for Hancock Street, LBC Boston is required to work within design guidelines established in the city’s Urban Revitalization and Development Plan (URDP). Preserving the city’s heritage while adding modern upgrades is a critical focus for the URDP. Project architect SN Consulting Group is incorporating a mix of traditional and contemporary design features to blend old with new. Precast concrete and brick materials resembling Quincy’s existing historic exteriors will be used for the commercial space. Floor-to-ceiling glass used for storefronts and the atrium modernize the retail and public spaces.
“LBC’s design team continues to work hand in hand with the city of Quincy to ensure that the building, public spaces, and amenities are woven together seamlessly,” said Avi Shoss, principal at SN Consulting, the architect on the project. “This collaboration has been a critical component of the project’s progress and success thus far, from the deepened sidewalks on Hancock Street and the public atrium to the cloistered outdoor spaces and new parking garage that will make use of the balance of the Hancock Lot.”
Jonathan Miller is the vice president of development and acquisitions at LBC Boston.