No Action Taken:Councillors Table Project At Former Shaw’s Site

By Sue Ellen Woodcock

Monday night the City Council decided to “table” the proposed hotel/extended stay apartments, a move that places plans for 132 hotel room and 220 extended stay apartments at 205 Revere Beach Parkway, site of the former Shaw’s on hold.

After hearing from proponents and opponents, Councillor Robert Haas motioned for the project to be tabled. The Council can keep the project alive but may allow developers to revisit their plans.

The commission voted 7-4 to table the project. Voting for the tabling were Councillors Arthur Guinasso, Robert Haas Jr., Patrick Keefe, Steve Morabito, Ira Novoselsky, John Powers, and Jessica Giannino. Voting no were Councillors Joanne McKenna, Charlie Patch, George Rotondo and Anthony Zambuto.

Haas was asked why he motioned to table the project.

“Maybe  20 percent or 10 percent should be elderly housing and I would like to look at this with the developer,” Haas said.

“This is a very large project and the council has voted to take a little more time on the project,” said City Council President Jessica Gianinno. .

The project, being presented by Transdel Corp., Gate Residential Properties, and Redgate LLC includes a five-story hotel with a six-story “extended stay building” (extended stay apartments). The project would include a new infrastructure (water, sewer, sidewalks, paving).

The project would bring in over $3 million in property, hotel and meals taxes, as well as other fees. The mayor’s office is also working on a $3.6 million grant to be filed by the end of this month with MassWorks, through the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development.

The Council’s Zoning Subcommittee met Monday at 4 p.m. and heard from people for and against the project for two and a half hours. Opponents were concerned about traffic, about whether or not apartments are needed and the overall impact on the community. The regular meeting began after 6 p.m,, where some people thought that they would be allowed to speak again.

“It’s in Ward 2 but it impacts Beachmont,” said Ward 1 Councillor Joanne McKenna, who also pushed for Donnelly Square to be improved. “The project is too big for the area.”

Ward 5 Councillor John Powers said he likes how the developers reduced the number of apartments from 240 to 220. He also pointed out how the city needs a new high school and needs to open up the Point of Pines Fire Station. Having upwards of $12 million in revenue and fees could help.

“We just can’t keep saying no,” said Powers.

Ward 4 Councillor Patrick Keefe said he wants to see the property use local people for landscaping, plowing, and other similar jobs.

The first public hearing on the project was held July 25. Prior to that two public meetings were held at the police station where people could see the plans and meet the developers,

Monday night, during comment time Mayor Brian Arrigo came to the podium and said, “This was a great example of mixed use development.”

Arrigo added that it is not a traffic generator or burden on the schools. “This is about the city first and foremost,” he said.

The project will create 36 jobs and hundreds of construction jobs, he added.

“You need to make this project a shining example for others,” said Beachmont resident Ed Deveau.

Also at issue is the creek that runs behind the Shaw’s property. Residents want it cleaned up but developers have to go to the Revere Conservation Commission and the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

“The economic benefits are better that the proposal before,” Morabito said.

The first project proposed a year ago had only apartments and no hotel and was withdrawn without prejudice.

“Retail will not come here unless we have the demographics to call for it,” said Novoselsky. “It’s been vacant for six years.”

After the vote to table the proposal, the developers and mayoral staff gathered in the mayor’s office.

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