Neighborhood Residents Hear About Development Proposal

By Sue Ellen Woodcock

Last week developers for the former Shaw’s property at 205 Revere Beach Parkway held two informational meetings for residents of Ward 1 and Ward 2 at the community meeting room in the Revere Police Station on Winthrop Avenue.

There was mixed reaction to the presentation with about 50 people attending. Some stayed quiet, others groaned and some appeared open to what was being presented. All agreed something has to be done to the area infrastructure to help with water pressure as well as car and pedestrian traffic. Three real estate companies are involved in the proposal: Gate Residential (a Redgate company); XSS Hotels and TransDel.

The developer, Redgate, which has also developed One North in Chelsea, Quincy and Somerville, proposes to turn the old Shaw’s site into a combination use of extended-stay hotel and apartments. There would also be infrastructure improvements for water, traffic and cleaning the creek behind the property. They are not able to actually remove silt from the Sales Creek, behind the property. The developer is will to work with the neighbors in cleaning the creek, perhaps installing fencing. The Shaw’s site has been termed by residents as an eyesore for the last six years.

“This is an exciting opportunity for us,” said Greg Bialecki, executive vice president of Gate Residential, a Redgate Company.

The development targets those interested in a “walkable” community, close to the MBTA train and busses. The age group focused on is between 25-34 years old with disposable income and a preference not to drive a car, said Bialecki.

The hotel will have 128 extended-stay rooms, a meeting space, lounge and spot for casual dining. It will be five-stories high. Although a brand has not yet been selected it looks like it could be a Marriott Residence Inn, Homewood Suites or Hyatt House. It will be similar to the extended-stay hotel on the other side of the Chelsea Creek Bridge.

On the apartment side of the development with  units,  77 percent of it will be studios or one-bedroom apartments spread over a six-story development. Bialecki said there will be no three-bedroom apartments. There will be a dog park, club, lounge and fitness center.

“The façade will set a new standard for Revere,” Bialecki said.

He added that the traffic flow will be 37 percent less than the old Shaw’s. It’s a two to three minute walk to the train and ZipCar spaces will be available, as well as underground parking. There will be $3.6 million in community improvements: sidewalks, crosswalks, fire suppression upgrade, new utilities, signals, water mains and enhanced beach access.

The Shaw’s site now contributes $700,000 a year in taxes to the city. Under the new proposal there will be $2.2. million in fees and taxes and $6.2 million in tax over five years. There is also a $3.6 million grant for the city of Revere, creating a $12.1 million total benefit.

One abutter from Standish Road questioned whether the buildings will create a shadow in her yard. Given the situation of the buildings on the lot it should not be an issue. Another man suggested that the developers use smaller neighborhood groups to work with in addressing the issues around the project. One resident  also proposed a bike path.

“We’re not trying to change the neighborhood,” Bialicki said. “We like this neighborhood.”

The developers must apply for a special permit, and will begin the process sometime this fall.

A year ago developers proposed an apartment development on the site, but withdraw plans when an attempt was made to call for a moratorium on apartment construction.

Councillors Ira Novoselsky, Joanne McKenna, John Powers and Patrick Keefe, as well as the mayor’s aide Omar Boukili, attended the meetings.

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