Forbes Plan Includes Tower:Concerns Over Density Already Voiced

Forbes Plan Includes Tower:Concerns Over Density Already Voiced

The Forbes Lithograph owners have come back to the City with a plan for 700,000 sq. ft. of development and 630 residential units for the 18-plus acre site on Mill Hill – but they still only have one entrance.

The project has yet to be formally filed, but the City has requested that the owners conduct a serious neighborhood information campaign first, which the company has been doing.

The project has been scaled back significantly from its 1.5 million square foot proposal two years ago that included skyscrapers, hotels, restaurants and about 1,000 units of housing.

The current plan would have 630 units, including several units in a 16-story building. The remainder of the units would be in a couple of other smaller buildings. The would be a small amount of commercial space, with retail and office workspace uses.

City Manager Tom Ambrosino said it has been scaled back, but the City will not take a stand on it until the company files with the Zoning Board in July.

“It’s significantly less dense than the plan three years ago,” he said. “They can build the units by right as they meeting the density requirement. They will definitely need some zoning relief and the City has encouraged them to together with stakeholders and their parking access plan.”

There is still some question about the access, which comes from one bridge that would be rebuilt. Another access point over the Creek will not be part of the development.

“They explained it was just cost prohibitive with the decrease in units,” he said.

Already GreenRoots has met with them twice and that organization believes that the project is still too much.

“At both meetings, GreenRoots’ staff and members, as well as adjacent residents, voiced concern over the size and density of the project; the impacts on adjacent neighborhoods including on elementary school pedestrians and traffic and public transportation; and how the public access improvements to the Chelsea Creek waterfront would not be welcoming to the community at-large,” said Director Roseann Bongiovanni. “In short, this project must be scaled back significantly. A development in the likeness of Assembly Row cannot be built in a small neighborhood that does not have property access roads into and out of the site.”

Councillor Joe Perlatonda also has numerous concerns about the proposal. He said he has met with the developer, along with Councillor Leo Robinson, recently.

“First of all, there needs to be a two-way access to get in and out of this property which the only way the city would allow this is through a bridge connecting from the site to Rt. 1A, which will cost millions of dollars,” he said. “And what about the cleanup? Do we know if the land is contaminated? Is there a solution for pest control to combat the rodents? How long will this project take?… This will take years to develop even if this gets off the ground.

My fellow councillor and I would like to see a development that would consist of duplexes and single-family homes to keep up with the neighborhood.”

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Appreciation:Richard Feinberg

Appreciation:Richard Feinberg

Richard Feinberg, a beloved Chelsea High School teacher and a member of a longtime and well-known Chelsea family, died unexpectedly Monday. He was 70.

The son of the late Julius “Moxie” Feinberg and Helen (Bulafkin) Feinberg, Richard, or “Richie” as many knew him, grew up in Chelsea and graduated from Chelsea High School, Class of 1965. He was the wise and witty older brother to whom Stuart and Ralph looked for guidance and support. In fact, Stuart and Ralph followed their brother in to sports while Stuart again took the track of his brother in to high school basketball officiating.

At CHS, Mr. Feinberg was a popular, civics teacher who took an interest in his students’ aspirations and goals beyond the classroom.

“He’s my all-time, favorite teacher,” said Robert Brooks, CHS Class of 1981, who was among the many people who attended graveside services Tuesday for Richard Feinberg. “He was wonderful. He taught me so many great lessons in school and just about growing up in Chelsea. Even after I graduated and I wasn’t sure what direction I would take in life, he kept in touch with me and advised me. I had to be here today to honor Mr. Feinberg.”

Councillor-at-Large Leo Robinson knew the Feinberg family well while growing up in Chelsea.

“Richie was a really good friend who gave back to our community,” said Robinson. “He and his father were instrumental at the Chelsea YMHA. I remember Richie refereeing in the Wild Animal League and he was always professional and fair in his calling of the games. Chelsea has a lot a great guy and another key figure in our city’s history.”

State Secretary of Housing and Economic Jay Ash, a former basketball star at CHS and Clark University, said that Richie Feinberg was a positive influence during his life.

“He was a mentor of mine, an influential character during my lifetime,” said Ash. “He was a tremendous educator and loved politics and loved community.I stayed in touch with him after high school and college and after being city manager. As secretary, I had the opportunity to speak to his class at Bunker Hill Community College. He loved politics and loved to be in the middle of everything. This is a big loss for all of us.”

Following his years as a teacher at Chelsea High, Richie went on to work at Northeast Regional Vocational High School in Wakefield and to serve as an adjunct professor of government at Bunker Hill Community College. He shared a love of education with his wife, Laural, who was a highly respected educator in the Lynn school system for 35 years. The Feinbergs have one daughter, Julie Lucas, of Lynn, and two grandchildren, Dylan and Kyle

A top basketball referee

Richie was also well respected on the high school basketball scene as both an outstanding referee and the dedicated commissioner of the Dual County League. He enjoyed mentoring new members of the basketball refereeing fraternity.

“I refereed with Richard and it was a great experience – he knew how to handle a game,” said Mike Muchmore, past president of IAABO Board 130. “He was my mentor. He’s the first commissioner that gave me a varsity game. He was meticulous. He would call every referee and ask them how things went.”

Paul Halloran, also a past president of IAABO Board 130 and a well-established college referee, said Richie’s expertise and goodwill extended beyond the basketball court.

“Richard was a well-rounded guy with expertise in many areas: antiques, basketball officiating, horse racing, politics, poker,” said Halloran. “He could engage in a thoughtful, thorough conversation on any of them at any tume. He was a real character and he will be sorely missed.”

Richie served on the Swampscott School Committee for 15 years, receiving a strong, town-wide vote in each election. Stuart Feinberg said politics was one of his brother’s passions.

“He loved Chelsea and politics was his baby,” said Stuart. “He was on the Swampscott School Committee and loved politics in general. He also loved sports and enjoyed gambling.”

Stuart said Richie always helped people whenever they called upon him for a favor or some assistance.

“He loved teaching and loved his students and he tried to help as many people as he could – he did as many favors as he could, that’s how he was, just a good person,” said Stuart. “Like everybody else, I was stunned by his unexpected passing.”

As a brother, Richie was top-shelf, according to Stuart.

“I looked up to him – he was a great brother to Ralph and me,” Stuart said emphatically. “He was fun to be around and I really enjoyed him. Especially for me, I’ll really miss him.”

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Cottage Street Project First Silver Line-Based, Affordable Housing

Cottage Street Project First Silver Line-Based, Affordable Housing

A 66-unit apartment building looking to be constructed on what is now a vacant, derelict property looks to achieve a lot of firsts – the first Silver Line-based development and the first project to include affordable housing under the City’s new ordinance.

Greg Antonelli is proposing to build the building at 170 Cottage St., and the project has gone through the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) one time, and will head to the Planning Board soon.

The property has long been forgotten, but with the development of the Silver Line, which opens this Saturday, April 21, the property has seen a new luster. While it is has been full of trash in the past and a constant code violator, Antonelli said he hopes to make it something Chelsea can be proud of.

“I think it’s a project that will really be an improvement to that area,” he said. “It’s been vacant 40 years. It attracts litter and illegal dumping. There is a record of code enforcement violations for 10 or 15 years for illegal dumping there.”

The Silver Line, as well, played no small part in his decision.

“That was huge,” he said. “It was very important to the project. It played a big role in my decision because public transportation is very popular now…We believe the Silver Line is going to help with parking, traffic and congestion problems we’re experiencing. We believe the residents of this development will use the Silver Line to get to work and to Boston.”

Antonelli is providing 90 on-site parking spaces as well, and the development has 52 two-bedroom units and 14 one-bedrooms.

One key piece, and another new piece, is it will include 20 percent affordable housing for the 80 percent median income.

It is the first time that a project has come in under the new inclusionary zoning ordinance. That means that 13 or 14 units will be reserved for those who qualify under the affordable housing statutes.

“That’s me giving back to the City,” he said. “I’m not in it for the quick money, but rather a long-term partnership with the City.”

Council President Damali Vidot has gone on record already supporting the project, saying it will develop a problem property.

“There are constant complaints about this lot as a dumping site for construction materials, mattresses and all sorts of trash,” she said. “I’d like to see something developed there, especially something that activates both Cottage and Bellingham Street. Being that this is my neighborhood, I can attest to the huge parking issue in this area. However, this project will only be nine parking spots short and the developer’s proposal to increase the required amount of affordable units from 15 percent to 20 percent is a show of good faith and investment in the community.”

Councilor Enio Lopez has also shown support for the project, and the City has been working with Antonelli on it as well.

Already, they have agreed on a design that will activate both sides of the street, that being Cottage and Bellingham.

After the project makes a stop at the Planning Board, it will go back to the Zoning Board for a vote.

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Irish Club Sold to Tibetan Social Club, Council Looking for Answers

Irish Club Sold to Tibetan Social Club, Council Looking for Answers

A Tibetan social organization has purchased the former Irish Club on Clinton Street, and several City officials would like to know more about what the new club would like to do with the property.

The matter was first breeched by Councillor Leo Robinson last month at a Council meeting, when he said he had heard there was a new owner and they had an extensive membership.

Robinson was worried, in particular, about the nature of the Club’s activities and their parking plan – as the former Irish Club hadn’t seen a large membership in many years.

On Monday night, City Manager Tom Ambrosino reported that the Tibetan Association of Boston had recently purchased the Irish Club property. He said the club has a permit for the use of the first floor only as a social club.

“That use will be allowed as a matter of right by the new owner,” he said. “I understand the new owner is currently working with ISD to secure the required occupancy permit for that permitted use.”

He said ISD recently conducted an inspection of the property and identified some violations that need to be corrected.

That said, the new owner has expressed to the City a desire to permit the basement for a social club as well. That could only be done by a Special Permit, requiring the new club to make a date with the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) for expanding a non-conforming use.

It might also require some parking relief too, Ambrosino said.

“Thus far, the owner has started the Special Permit application process, but it has not yet supplied ISD with all the necessary documentation for a full review,” he said.

Ambrosino told the Record that his understanding is the new club has a membership of around 200.

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MBTA to Implement New Software System to Avert Chelsea Street Bridge

MBTA to Implement New Software System to Avert Chelsea Street Bridge

the potential to be spoiled – like many Chelsea commutes – by the often untimely lifting of the Chelsea Street Bridge.

The Bridge is a key pinch point on the new SL-3 route as it heads to and from Chelsea to East Boston and the Seaport. As great as the projected 30-minute ride to South Station sounds, it could easily be thwarted by the Bridge being in the “up” position.

The Chelsea Street Bridge goes up multiple times a day, and from start to finish lasts more than 20 minutes. Such delays could drastically impair the service of the Silver Line.

That was identified as early as last summer as a looming problem for operations of the SL-3 by the MBTA Board.

On Monday, in a presentation to the Board, the MBTA revealed a new software system that will help in trying to mitigate what could totally ruin the reliability of the new service.

The new software will be used by the Chelsea Street Bridge operator, who will notify the MBTA bus dispatch center when the bridge is going up.

The software will provide bus dispatch with estimated duration and projected travel time for each of two possible detours around the Bridge. The dispatch will then use that information to determine the best response for each bus.

MBTA officials said that the Bus Operations Division is in the process of developing a Standard Operating Procedure to divert the SL-3 service in response to the Bridge going up. An alternative roué has been identified and will be tested during various times of the day to project run times and reliability.

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Wynn Boston Harbor Still Moving Forward as Steve Wynn Steps Down

Wynn Boston Harbor Still Moving Forward as Steve Wynn Steps Down

Wynn Boston Harbor officials are moving forward without a pause this week despite the news that dynamic Wynn CEO Steve Wynn has stepped down from leading the company, and the fact that the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) investigation is digging deeper into the actions of other executives in the company.

Wynn Boston Harbor has referred all media requests on the project to Las Vegas, and Wynn Resorts spokesman Michael Weaver had no comment on whether Wynn’s departure would affect the project.

Workers on the site and project leaders have said that the project in Everett is moving forward. A statement from the Wynn Board of Directors said, among other things, they are focused on opening Wynn Boston Harbor.

“The company will continue to fully focus on its operations at Wynn Macau, Wynn Palace and Wynn Las Vegas; the development and opening of the first phase of Wynn Paradise Park, currently under construction on the former Wynn golf course; as well as the construction of Wynn Boston Harbor, which will open in June 2019,” read the Board statement.

Wynn was accused of a pattern of sexual misconduct, including a $7.5 million out of court settlement, last month that quickly altered the gaming executive’s status.

Late last week, he announced that he would step down as the leader of the company – a company that bears his name and has built its brand on the strength of his name. It was a shocking move in a project that has had numerous shocks throughout its short life.

The Board of Directors of Wynn Resorts announced Wynn’s departure.

Current President Matt Maddox has been appointed as the new CEO, and Boone Wayson as Non-Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors.

In a statement, Wynn said he had suddenly found himself the focus of an “avalanche” of negative publicity. As it has grown, he said it has now begun to hurt the company he loves.

“As I have reflected upon the environment this has created — one in which a rush to judgment takes precedence over everything else, including the facts — I have reached the conclusion I cannot continue to be effective in my current roles,” he said. “Therefore, effective immediately, I have decided to step down as CEO and Chairman of the Board of Wynn Resorts, a company I founded and that I love.

“The Wynn Resorts team and I have built houses of brick,” he continued. “Which is to say, the institution we created — a collection of the finest designers and architects ever assembled, as well as an operating philosophy now ingrained in the minds and hearts of our entire team — will remain standing for the long term. I am extremely proud of everything we have built at this company.”

Wynn said he endorsed the succession plan and fully supported Maddox as the new CEO.

“He and his team are well positioned to carry on the plans and vision for the company I created,” he said.

He added that he was most proud of the employees in the company. He said it was the employees of Wynn Resorts that made it the most admired company in the world.

The Board said they accepted the resignation with a heavy heart, and pointed out more than 40 percent of their employees are women.

 “Steve Wynn is an industry giant,” said Wayson. “He is a philanthropist and a beloved leader and visionary. He played the pivotal role in transforming Las Vegas into the entertainment destination it is today. He also assembled a world-class team of executives that will continue to meet the high standards of excellence that Steve Wynn created and the Wynn brand has come to represent. Steve Wynn created modern Las Vegas. He transformed the city into an economic powerhouse by making it a world-wide tourist destination.”

The MGC did meet last week, and addressed their investigation once again, noting that they are looking into what Maddox and Wynn Attorney Kim Sinatra knew during the background check of the company in 2013.

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Bicycle Laundry Looking to Locate on Willow Street

Bicycle Laundry Looking to Locate on Willow Street

A commercial laundry that uses bicycles to pick up and deliver linens is looking to locate in the commercial/industrial property on Willow and Congress Streets.

Wash Cycle Laundry, a company founded in Philadelphia that has delivered millions of pounds of laundry and pioneered the bicycle laundry, wants to locate its Boston area operations in Chelsea. They were before the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) on Tuesday night, and will go before the Planning Board later in the month. In April, the City changed the zoning regulations in the Willow Street area to allow them to consider the property.

Gabriel Mandujano, the founder of the company, said they are coming right now to service the hotels exclusively in Chelsea, and would be using a new, advanced style of tricycle to pick up and deliver laundry throughout the city.

“We leased a portion of the building and are concentrating our efforts on the hotel market,” he said. “Colwen Hotels signed an agreement to bring us to Chelsea. We’re going to be their laundry contractor. The idea is they have a lot of properties in Chelsea, but they have a large portfolio all over Boston too. This will bring those jobs to Chelsea.”

He said they hope to run two shifts seven days a week, and would employ a total of 75 people.

“We are a sustainable company,” he said. “We do  a lot of environmental and energy savings in the plant. We are founded in Philadelphia and pioneered bicycle delivery laundry. We delivered millions and millions of pounds of laundry in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. We are though practically sustainable and not religiously sustainable, so the chiefly concerned about safety.”

He said that would mean that they would deliver by bike in the Chelsea area, but use vans and trucks to get to Boston and other far off areas.

He said after they get their feet under them, if approved to come, they hoped to begin doing work for other businesses in Chelsea that have a need for a commercial laundry.

He said they would be using a special tricycle cargo bike in Chelsea that has been piloted by the UPS delivery company in Portland. He said they took a trip recently to Portland to test it out and liked what they saw.

“We’re fairly confident that would be the vehicle we would use if we come to Chelsea,” he said. “Philadelphia is completely flat, so we need something here with a little more power.”

He added they are a second chance company, and hope to partner with non-profits in the area to employ at-risk and court-involved residents who need a break. Many of their current employees have a history of homelessness or incarceration, he said.

“That’s one of the main reasons I founded the company,” he said.

If allowed to locate on Willow Street, Mandujano said they could have the build out done in about 30 days.

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MGC says Wynn Organization Did Not Inform Them of Settlement

MGC says Wynn Organization Did Not Inform Them of Settlement

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) on Wednesday, Jan. 31, held a special hearing into the allegations against Wynn Resorts CEO Steve Wynn – a Massachusetts gaming licensee – and said they were not told of the 2005 private settlement, while at the same time urging fairness and speed in the investigation.

The one-hour hearing was unique in that it was one of about three government-level hearings now going on internationally, with others now underway in Nevada and Macau (China). Another is going on privately within the Wynn organizations by a Special Committee of the Board of Directors.

Chair Steve Crosby led off the meeting by saying that the MGC’s Investigations and Enforcement Bureau (IEB) would not rush to judgment or impugn anyone.

“Before we begin, I’d like to reiterate that we have a shared sense of urgency about this serious matter, but careful diligence must be a top priority,” he said. “The stakes are enormous and many lives are involved— from the lives of the women allegedly abused, to the lives of men and women in Everett now building the project, to the senior executives and board members of Wynn Resorts. We will get this right and we will get it right as quickly as we can.”

He finished the meeting by saying he wants a very open investigation so the people know what happened.

“The people of Massachusetts have the right to know what the hell happened here with no punches pulled,” he said. “Having to hold back things ifs something this Commissioner will not look favorably on.”

The MGC announced last Friday after the allegations surfaced that they would initiate an investigation in their IEB division. On Wednesday, the first volley of that investigation was launched.

Somewhat of a revelation was when IEB Director Karen Wells said Wynn Resorts or Steve Wynn never told anyone in 2013 about the $7.5 million settlement associated with the recent allegation of sexual harassment by a Wynn hotel manicurist in Las Vegas.

“I corroborated that information with counsel for Wynn Resorts who confirmed that there was in-fact a settlement and that it was not disclosed to investigators upon advice of counsel,” said Wells. “She also confirmed that the settlement itself was not part of any court action or litigation and that no lawsuit was filed at any time.  There were no court documents filed that could have been identified in the course of the investigation.  This was a private agreement and steps were taken to keep it from the public domain. The circumstances around this $7.5M settlement and the decision not to disclose it to investigators remain a critical element of this review.”

For the commissioners, there was a sense of seriousness, but also one of attentiveness. No one wanted to engage in something unfair to Wynn or anyone else.

“The single most important thing at this stage is to get control of the facts by figuring them out as quickly as possible,” said Commissioner Lloyd MacDonald. “I urge you to be scrupulously diligent and work with speed, thoroughness and objectivity. That will be key.”

Wells said she had no idea how long the investigation would take as they have just embarked on it.

“It’s hard to give a timeline because once you start conducting interviews, it could lead you in many different directions,” she said.

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Stuck:Firefighters Come to the Rescue of Trapped Residents after Council Meeting

Stuck:Firefighters Come to the Rescue of Trapped Residents after Council Meeting

By Seth Daniel

It reads like an off-color joke, but it wasn’t any joke on Monday night when a councillor, a reverend, a Republican and a clerk with a phobia of elevators got trapped for 45-minutes in the City Hall elevator.

“We were cool; no one freaked out,” said Rev. Sandra Whitley, who was stuck with Planning Board member Todd Taylor (the Republican), Councillor Leo Robinson and Council Administrative Assistant Ledia Koco. “These firefighters are amazing and they need all the credit. Stuck for almost 45 minutes, they kept asking if we were alright, plugging away until they had to almost blast the metal doors apart.”

The firefighters involved in the rescue were Capt. Paul Doherty, Mark Chiaradonna, Gary Poulin, Angel Arrieta, Kevin DeJesus and Lt. Andrew Cerratani.

The situation unfolded Monday after the Council let out for the night. Due to the fact that the stairs in City Hall were being replaced, most everyone had to take the elevator to get down. It gave the old lift quite a workout, and apparently, then those four got on and started going down – everything stopped.

It took some time before anyone realized they were trapped, but enough people were still around to hear them calling for help.

Chelsea Fire was alerted and City Manager Tom Ambrosino directed them to where it was believed the four were stuck.

Firefighters tried to pry open the elevator, but it wasn’t budging.

Firefighters then had to deploy other tools, including an inflatable air bag, to open the doors.

Finally, the job was done and the four emerged from the elevator.

“I was just glad those  other three were with me, because  these days, if it were just me, they might have left me in there,” joked Taylor.

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