Quincy, Massachusetts: A City in Flux
November 21, 2013
November 21, 2013
I moved to Quincy Center two years ago. I looked for apartments in typical millennial communities like Somerville and Jamaica Plain but was shocked at how little space and convenience I got for the money. In Quincy Center, I rent a one-bedroom apartment (with parking!) that’s less than a 5-minute walk to the MBTA for less than $1300 a month.
Quincy has a little bit of everything. Gastropubs like the Fat Cat share the same block as townie bars like Sully’s. Just north of my apartment in Wollaston and North Quincy, more than half of local businesses are Asian-owned. Quincy is very much a city in transition.
That transition has become more pronounced in the past few months. In June, officials broke ground on the $1.6 billion Merchant’s Row project, a mixed-use development in the heart of Quincy’s downtown. There have been some hiccups in the process: In August, the original partner stepped away from the project and the plan was changed from a 15-floor building to a 6-story structure spread across more land. Recently, the Quincy City Council asked why construction on the project has “paused”. The developer says the delay is due to both rising construction costs and a need to redesign the project after recent property purchases—hopefully these obstacles can be overcome.
Redevelopment fever has spread beyond Merchant’s Row. Mayor Thomas Koch’s spokesman tweeted that 22 transit-oriented luxury apartments were approved for Wollaston Center last week. And the BBJ reports that an eight-story apartment complex across from the MBTA station is for sale.
The changes go beyond real estate. As Boston’s Innovation District thrives, communities around Boston proper have benefitted. Gone are the days of Cambridge poaching companies and talent from Boston and vice versa—regionalism is all the rage. Quincy has launched its own Center for Innovation to expand the region’s innovation economy to the South Shore. Combine that with corporate stalwarts like Stop & Shop and there’s little reason for residents to leave the City of Presidents. (Especially since the state has doubled the number of liquor licenses in the city—expect more renowned restaurants to open soon.)
Creating vibrant areas in cities like Quincy strengthens the entire Massachusetts economy. By creating a mix of residential and commercial space, Quincy is strengthening its tax base and reinvigorating its neighborhood centers. Pair that with the possibility of the next Facebook coming out of the Center for Innovation and an excellent geographic location, and I might me paying much more in rent within the next few years.