The new Chelsea Station behind the Market Basket on Everett Avenue is nearly completed now, with a goal of opening up service at the four new stations on the new SL3 line in April.
A projected 19 minute ride with no transfers from downtown Chelsea to the Seaport in Boston is but months away as the MBTA puts the finishing touches on four stations and the dedicated busway in Chelsea’s new Silver Line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line – which will be known as SL3.
Already, a great amount of excitement has built throughout the community as the stations begin to look like finished products and the lettering denoting ‘Eastern Avenue’ and ‘Chelsea’ have been affixed to those stations. A spokesman for the MBTA said the T is excited to start service in April.
“The MBTA and MassDOT are very excited to be just months away from introducing Bur Rapid Transit service for customers traveling to and from Chelsea,” said Joe Pesaturo, for the MBTA. “The MBTA anticipates beginning Silver Line Gateway service in the early spring of next year. The existing Silver Line in Boston has been very popular since its launch because of the frequent levels of service and increased capacity. MBTA General Manager Luis Ramirez is looking forward to a celebration in the spring in Chelsea to mark the start of service.”
The completion of the four new BRT stations and the dedicated busway will conclude Phase 1 of the Silver Line Gateway expansion project – which has essentially brought the Silver Line from Logan Airport over to Chelsea. The new Chelsea service, however, will not go to the airport and the SL3 line will bypass the airport with a stop at the Blue Line Train Station where airport shuttles can be taken to terminals.
In documents presented to the MBTA Board last summer, the new service expects to have a total daily ridership of 8,730 people, with new transit trips being 2,500 (meaning people that will use the service who now do not use the MBTA).
At peak, it is estimated there will be 22 BRT buses on all three Silver Line routes, and that the SL3 Chelsea wait times will be around 10-12 minutes at peak times and 12-15 minutes at off-peak times.
MBTA estimates show that currently to get to the World Trade Center stop in the Seaport from downtown Chelsea takes 37 minutes and requires two transfers. That would be paired down to 19 minutes and no transfers on the new SL3 line.
To go from the airport to the World Trade Center station now takes 20 minutes with one transfer. The SL3 line would take seven minutes and no transfers.
The entire first phase of the Silver Line Gateway project cost $46.5 million and included rebuilding the Washington Avenue bridge, constructing a 1.1 mile dedicated busway, a half-mile shared-use path and the four new stations.
A second phase has been fully funded at about $29 million and includes building the Chelsea Intermodal Center, which includes a new Commuter Rail Station and a new railroad signaling system to improve traffic flow in Chelsea. The new station, unlike the existing station, will be fully accessible. The MBTA expects to solicit construction bids for Phase 2 this winter, with work beginning next summer.
One of the key initiatives for MBTA General Manager Ramirez, he said, is to get a comprehensive strategy for marketing a promoting the new service well in advance of the launch. Many of the new service options introduced by the MBTA in recent years suffer from low ridership due in many cases to people having little information about the new service.
The MBTA right now is working to select a qualified firm to handle the jobs of:
•Advertise the new service to existing and prospective customers.
•Highlight the benefits of Silver Line Gateway service relative to existing bus services in the area, including dedicated lanes and limited stops.
•Promote the ongoing work the MBTA is doing to improve its transportation offerings.
“The firm will work with the MBTA to develop well-rounded marketing and communications strategies that achieve the goals, including but not limited to market research, specifying target audiences, generating message concepts, proposing an effective mix of media, and partnering with local community organizations as part of the public outreach strategy,” said Pesaturo.
Kenneth J. Parrow, a lifelong Chelsea resident, passed away Friday, November 17 while being cared for in the peaceful surroundings of his brother’s home. Kenny succumbed to a courageous two year battle with cancer. He was 68 years old.
Born and raised in Chelsea. he was the eldest of four children given to the late retired CFD Capt. Kenneth J. Parow and Alice “Theresa” (Rennie) Parow. He attended Our Lady of the Assumption School and graduated from Dom Savio High School, Class of 1966. He was inducted into the US Army in 1969. served during the Vietnam Era and was honorably discharged at the grade of SP4.
Ken held early jobs working for Capital Warehouse in Boston and Smithcraft in Chelsea before beginning his career as a lineman and installer with NE Tel. Co. He retired from Verizon after 40+ years. He was a member of the IBEW local 2222, past member of the Chelsea Winnisimmet Club and the D.A.V.
Ken enjoyed hockey and played for a number of seasons with the Atlantic Aces team in the Atlantic Coast Amateur Hockey League. He also played softball with the Chelsea Fast-Pitch League.
In his lifetime, Ken also enjoyed home gardening at his family’s Webster Avenue residence, growing various vegetables and hot peppers.
He is survived by his loving sister and brothers: Donna Marie Cronin of Hardyston, NJ, Richard J. Parow and his wife, Mary Alice of Windham , NH and Robert J. Parow and his wife, Terry of Wilmington. He was the cherished uncle of Michael, Christopher and Drew Cronin, Shawn, Aimee, Christopher and Timothy Parow, Kevin J., Alison L., and Brian K. Parow, adored great-uncle of Emily and Thomas Cronin, Kali, Cameron and Caitlin Cronin and Gwenyth Cronin. He is also survived by his aunt, Anna Marie “Tiffie” Rennie, many cousins and extended family members.
Funeral services will be conducted from the Frank A. Welsh & Sons Funeral Home, 718 Broadway, Chelsea today, Wednesday, November 22 at 10 a.m. Services will conclude with Interment at Holy Cross Cemetery, Malden. Relatives and friends are most kindly invited to attend.
The family wishes to acknowledge and thank all at the Yawkey Cancer Center in Boston for their exceptional care and concern for Ken during his illness.
Long time Soldiers Home resident and former Suffolk Downs Window Agent
Francis J. Hogan, a resident of the Soldiers Home in Chelsea since 1985, passed away at the home on November 14. He was 95 years old.
Born and raised in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston, he was a son of the late George F. and Margaret M. (Doyle) Hogan. As a young lad, he attended St. Rita’s Parochial School in Roxbury and went on to attend Roxbury High School where he graduated as Class Valedictorian in 1940. In 1942, he was inducted into the US Army and served in the army infantry during World War II participating in battle campaigns throughout Northern Africa, Naples-Foggia, the European and Middle Eastern Theaters before receiving his honorable discharge. He returned to Boston and settled in Revere.
He married the former Alice (Hillman) and together they resided for many years in Revere. Francis worked as a window agent at Suffolk Downs in East Boston and also in the local Hotel/Hospitality industry. Francis was widowed by the passing of his beloved wife Alice in 1985. In addition to his wife, he was also predeceased by his siblings; Katherine Callahan, Josephine Morrow, Walter, Thomas and George Hogan. He is survived by, and fondly remembered and admired, by his numerous nieces, nephews, grand nieces and nephews.
Arrangements were entrusted to the Frank A. Welsh & Sons Funeral Home, Chelsea. Interment with Military Honors was in St. Joseph Cemetery, West Roxbury
Of Tewksbury, formerly of Chelsea
Alice M. (Breda) Capistran of Tewksbury, formerly a long-time resident of Chelsea, passed away on November 17. She was 86 years old.
The beloved wife of the late Chelsea Police Detective George Capistran, she was the devoted mother of Ray Capistran and his wife, Lisa of Londonderry, NH, Rich Capistran and his wife, Michele of Wilmington and Ron Capistran; loving “Nana” of Brittany Borgatti and her husband, Mark, Briana Capistran, Courtney Capistran, Michael Capistran and Tanya Capistran, cherished daughter of the late Remigio and Gioconda (Gotti) Breda, dear sister of Claire Fitzgerald and her husband, John of Chelsea, Geno Breda and his wife, the late Marianne of Revere and Richard Breda and his wife, Theresa of Wenham. Alice is also survived by many loving nieces and nephews.
Funeral arrangements were the Nichols Funeral Home, Inc., 187 Middlesex Ave. (Rte. 62), Wilmington. Interment was in Woodlawn Cemetery, Everett. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in Alice’s name may be made to The Carroll Center for the Blind, 770 Centre St., Newton, MA 02458.
Councillor Dan Cortell questioned the creators of the noise study on Monday night. Cortell represents Admiral’s Hill, which has a terrible time with jet noise. He and other councillors are debating next steps after seeing the favorable study.
The City Council publicly unveiled the recent Airplane Noise Study done by Boston University at a Committee on Conference meeting Monday night, Nov. 13, and the consensus is that there are two different paths – fight in court or use the favorable study as leverage.
The noise study was performed by the Center for Research on Environmental and Social Stressors in Housing Across the Life Course (CRESSH), which is a division of the BU School of Public Health. Those involved in the study included Jonathan Levy, Claire Schollaert and Madeleine Scammell (a Chelsea resident).
That report showed that flights over Chelsea have nearly doubled between 2011 and 2015, and that certain health effects associated with airplane noise are very high in Chelsea.
On Monday, Councillors and City Manager Tom Ambrosino met with the study creators and the public to talk about next steps.
Ambrosino explained that the City has had an agreement with MassPort to have a $600,000 annual payment to mitigate the airport uses and airport operations in Chelsea. That agreement ran out in 2015, but he said MassPort has “begrudgingly” continued to pay – but may not renew the deal.
He has asked that they pay $700,000 annually and that they contribute a one-time $3 million payment to create a waterfront park.
Many in the audience, including Ambrosino and GreenRoots Director Roseanne Bongiovanni, are of the opinion that the study should be used as leverage to bring MassPort to the table to agree on mitigation.
“It took us two years just to get a meeting with them about the airport, and then another 18 months to say they would consider doing something,” said Bongiovanni.
Ambrosino said he is a great supporter of the mitigation and park concept – as it would serve the most people – and the report could help make that happen.
“I am a great supporter of the waterfront park,” he said. “That is a piece of mitigation that generates benefits to the most residents of Chelsea and not just a small that will get soundproofing. It won’t be Piers Park in East Boston. That’s a $20 million park, but a $3 million park with the City kicking in $1 million to make it a $4 million park is something that could create a very wonderful waterfront park for everyone.”
Meanwhile, Councillor Roy Avellaneda said he was of the opinion that it might be best to look at using the study to fight MassPort in court.
“We’re going to get to a point where we have to make a decision about this on behalf of our residents,” he said. “We can squeeze them for $700,000 and a park like the City Manager wants to do, or we do a real noise study with proper equipment and prepare to say we have proof that our community is impacted and possibly prepare to embark on a lawsuit against MassPort and the FAA…My preference will be to do a proper sound study and fight. I can’t go to residents and say that I got them a park and they are still suffering from the noise.”
An MS-13 member pleaded guilty Thursday, Oct. 26, in federal court in Boston to racketeering conspiracy involving murder, attempted murder, and armed robbery.
The defendant admitted responsibility for murdering an innocent bystander, attempted murder of rival gang member and armed robbery.
The murder of the innocent bystander occurred in 2014 when the gang member shot at a rival gang member and missed, instantly killing a woman in her home who had simply looked out the front window. The woman was the mother of three children and was in refuge from a domestic violence situation.
Hector Ramires, a/k/a “Cuervo,” 24, a Honduran national formerly of Chelsea, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, more commonly referred to as RICO conspiracy. U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV scheduled sentencing for Jan. 19, 2018. According to the terms of the plea agreement, the parties will jointly recommend a sentence of 27 years in prison.
Ramires was a member of MS-13’s Enfermos Criminales Salvatrucha (ECS) clique, which operated in Chelsea and other parts of Massachusetts. On Oct. 18, 2014, Ramires and Bryan Galicia Barillas a/k/a “Chucky,” a fellow member of MS-13’s ECS clique, were walking the streets of Chelsea when they encountered a group of rival gang members. Ramires, who was armed, shot at one of the gang rivals and missed, killing a woman who was an innocent bystander who was looking out a nearby window of a room she shared with her three children. Barillas was also charged and previously pleaded guilty to, among other things, providing Ramires with the gun.
Ramires also accepted responsibility for his role in a March 28, 2014, attempted murder of a rival gang member in Chelsea, and an April 9, 2014, armed robbery in Chelsea.
After a three-year investigation, Ramires was one of 61 persons named in a superseding indictment targeting the criminal activities of alleged leaders, members, and associates of MS-13 in Massachusetts. MS-13 is a violent transnational criminal organization whose branches or “cliques” operate throughout the United States, including in Massachusetts.
Ramires is the 22nd defendant to plead guilty in this case and will subject to deportation upon the completion of his sentence. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
After demanding a noise study be conducted using City funds, a Boston University School of Public Health commissioned noise study has revealed in writing what everyone in Chelsea already knew anecdotally – that the airport is driving everyone crazy.
“Overall, it is clear that Chelsea residents are exposed to higher noise levels attributed to aviation relative to many comparison communities and that those noise levels have been increasing in recent years at higher rates than in many other communities,” read the report conclusion. “These exposures have increased over the past five years, and they have increased at a faster rate in Chelsea than in many surrounding communities. Further, unlike East Boston and Winthrop, Chelsea does not fall within the FAA-defined 65 dB DNL contour required for soundproofing eligibility. Given this fact and the age of the housing stock in Chelsea, residents of Chelsea may have among the highest actual exposures to airport-related noise in the region.”
City Manager Tom Ambrosino delivered the study to the Council on Monday night at its meeting, with the results being exactly what sponsoring Councillor Dan Cortell and Roy Avellaneda expected.
“Everyone who lives here know there are more flights and they are louder,” said Cortell, who represents the Admiral’s Hill area. “Now it’s time to put full-court pressure on the airport and the federal agencies we’re dealing with here. Someone in Washington, D.C., is sitting in an office looking at a map of Chelsea and making decisions and they don’t understand topography. They don’t understand we have planes on Admiral’s Hill skimming buildings.”
Said Avellaneda, “I hope this starts a dialog or plan of action for what I feel is a negative impact on our community. We definitely face disadvantages…This is not a battle between one councillor or two councillors. The whole Council and the whole community have to win…This report just proves everything we have been saying for the last few years.”
The report was called for earlier this year, and it was undertaken on behalf of the City by the Center for Research on Environmental and Social Stressors in Housing Across the Life Course (CRESSH), which is a division of the BU School of Public Health. Those involved in the study included Jonathan Levy, Claire Schollaert and Madeleine Scammell (a Chelsea resident).
The two chief questions being asked where airport noise ranked in Chelsea compared to other nearby communities, and also how high were airport-related noise exposures compared to other nearby communities.
The study looked at noise levels by Census block for the years 2007 to 2015. The finding showed Chelsea had an average decibel level in 2015 that was one of the highest among comparison communities.
“Taken as a simple average, only Winthrop and East Boston had higher average noise levels,” read the report. “Additionally, within Chelsea, neighborhoods that are closer to the 33L (runway) flight path are exposed to higher noise levels than those that are farther away from the flight path. Looking at noise levels between 2011 and 2015, there has been a general increase in all communities investigated, with Chelsea, East Boston, and Everett having the largest increases in average airport- related noise as measured in DNL. These communities are located directly beneath the 33L departure flight path.”
One of the chief reasons for that is researchers found that flights have nearly doubled between 2012 and 2014 under the Runway 33L flight path, which is Chelsea’s main source of airplane traffic.
“The sharpest increase in annual average estimated airport-related noise levels occurred between 2013 and 2014, with Chelsea, East Boston, and Everett showing the most significant increases among communities investigated,” read the report. “Flight activity on 33L almost doubled between 2012 and 2014, and this timing also aligned with the implementation of the NextGen satellite-based navigation program that concentrated flight paths into and out of Logan Airport.”
NextGen is a frequently reviled innovation in airplane navigation technology in communities where flight paths are concentrated. The technology came on in recent years and it uses GPS technology to pinpoint flight paths and eliminate deviation. That serves to concentrate jet noise to one corridor over and over, rather than spreading it out over a wider area.
The study also sought to look at some health indicators in Chelsea, and showed that the city’s annual average age-adjusted rates of hospital admissions for heart attacks is the highest by far of the comparison communities between 2007 and 2012.
There were 44 hospitalizations per 10,000 people age 35 and over, with the nearest community being Hull with 37 and Everett with 36.
“To be clear, this does not imply that the noise or air pollution from Logan Airport is the cause of these disease patterns,” read the report. “Rather, this increased cardiovascular health burden among Chelsea residents, related to a number of different factors, indicates that Chelsea may be particularly vulnerable to increased noise exposures as a result of aviation activity.”
The Council agreed to hold a Committee on Conference in the near future to discuss the report and generate a plan. Councillors are calling for more of the City to get mitigation measures like soundproofing and parks – as well as a sensitivity to Chelsea’s predicament from MassPort that some councillors believe is missing.
“Chelsea has a lot of fourth and fifth generation residents who have been here since the late 1800s,” said Councillor Matt Frank. “I am one. Councillor Murphy is another. When the airport says we were here before you, that’s not exactly true. It’s kind of insulting.”
An East Side Money Gang (ES$G) member, known as “Superbad,” was sentenced Monday in federal court in Boston for racketeering and drug trafficking charges.
Josue Rodriguez, a/k/a “SB,” a/k/a “Superbad,” 20, of Chelsea, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns to 10 years in prison and five years of supervised release. In June 2017, Rodriguez pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, commonly known as RICO, and one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and cocaine base.
Rodriguez is a member of the ES$G, a Chelsea-based street gang, which uses violence to further its criminal activities and enforce its internal rules. Specifically, ES$G uses violence to protect its members/associates, target rival gang members/associates and intimidate potential witnesses.
Rodriguez admitted that on July 5, 2015, he ambushed a rival gang member who was walking down the street, shooting at him with a semi-automatic pistol, but did not hit him. On March 29, 2016, Rodriguez and another ES$G member agreed to provide a .22 caliber revolver to a third ES$G member so he could “spank” with it – meaning that he could use it against rivals of ES$G.
On April 3, 2016, the third gang member used the revolver to attempt to murder two men believed to be members/associates of a rival gang.
One of the targets was shot but not killed.
On May 26, 2016, Rodriguez attempted to hide the .38 caliber Smith and Wesson revolver used in a shooting, as well as spent and live shells, after another ES$G member/associate attempted to shoot a rival gang member.
The East Side Money Gang was also involved in drug trafficking, including cocaine, cocaine base (crack) and heroin.
Rodriguez conspired with other gang members and associates to distribute at least one kilogram of cocaine base. Rodriguez further admitted that he stored drugs at, and distributed drugs from, his home in Chelsea, and that the gang maintained at least one firearm at the location.
Rodriguez is one of 53 defendants indicted in June 2016 on federal firearms and drug charges following an investigation into a network of street gangs that had created alliances to traffic weapons and drugs throughout Massachusetts and to generate violence against rival gang members. According to court documents, the defendants, who are leaders, members, and associates of the 18th Street Gang, East Side Money Gang and the Boylston Gang, were responsible for fueling a gun and drug pipeline across a number of cities and towns in eastern Massachusetts.
During the course of the investigation, more than 70 firearms were seized.
An MS-13 member pleaded guilty Friday in federal court in Boston in connection with a 2014 shooting in Chelsea and a 2015 conspiracy to kill a suspected cooperating witness.
David Lopez, a/k/a “Cilindro,” a/k/a “Villano,” 22, a Salvadoran national, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, more commonly referred to as RICO conspiracy.
U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV scheduled sentencing for Jan. 30, 2018.
Lopez was a member of MS-13’s Enfermos Criminales Salvatrucha (ECS) clique, which operated in Chelsea and other parts of Massachusetts. On May 29, 2014, Lopez and co-defendant Daniel Menjivar, a/k/a “Roca,” approached a victim near the Washington Avenue bus stop in Chelsea. Menjivar repeatedly stabbed the victim, and as he was struggling for his life, Lopez approached and shot at the victim. The victim suffered significant life threatening injuries, but survived following emergency surgery.
Menjivar pleaded guilty in September 2017.
The investigation revealed that in March 2015, members of the ECS clique decided to kill a fellow MS-13 member who they incorrectly believed was cooperating with law enforcement at the time.
Law enforcement intervened and convinced the individual to become a cooperating witness. A subsequent investigation uncovered evidence that the ECS clique sent someone to New Jersey to pick up Lopez, who had fled Massachusetts after the May 2014 attack, so that he could come back to Massachusetts to help kill the suspected cooperating witness.
Lopez is the 23rd defendant to plead guilty in this case.
Lopez faces no greater than 20 years in prison and three years of supervised release. Lopez will be subject to deportation upon the completion of his sentence. He is believed to be in the country illegally.
Wynn Boston Harbor is working closely with well-known international companies to implement battery technology into their building, a new technology that will help them store cheaper power purchased during off peak hours, and contribute to an overall energy usage that is but 60 percent of what would be expected for a building of its size.
The new battery technology program complements two co-generation plants, a rainwater irrigation system, a huge solar array and a “very aggressive” LED lighting program.
All of it will combine to make the Wynn Boston Harbor facility one of, if not the, most efficient large building in the region.
“We will be running at 60 percent of what the standard energy usage calculation is for a building like ours,” said Chris Gordon, president of Wynn Design and Development Massachusetts. “The interesting thing is when you look at green buildings…it comes down to less energy usage…These buildings are so well insulated and sealed that you save a lot just on leaks. The window seals are so much better than they were 30 years ago, it’s amazing. You save when you use less. Interestingly enough, years ago people started to build green buildings because it was the right thing to do. Now it’s a good business decision and a good environmental decision.”
Perhaps setting the pace for efficiency is a program that will likely be the first of its kind in the Boston area – an emerging technology using battery storage devices to optimize energy usage.
It’s something Gordon said is very new, but he predicted would likely be in every building, and in several homes, in the near future.
The change, he said, is the new technology being developed around better battery storage. Several companies have pushed the limits on new battery technology for electric cars, solar power and for energy efficiency.
Gordon said they are working with several companies to put an array of batteries on their property, but don’t have a specific company named as of yet.
The idea, he said, would be to install a 90,000 sq. ft. solar installation on the roof of the function hall and entrance, which will generate solar energy to be stored in the batteries.
The bigger savings, however, will be having battery storage available to store power purchased from the grid at off-peak times.
“You don’t want to buy power at peak periods, so if you have storage capacity using batteries, you can buy when prices are low,” said Gordon. “There are times of day and times of the year that are more expensive and they don’t want you to buy then. For example, in the summer with lots of air conditioners running, you don’t want to buy energy on a hot day. It’s more expensive…I don’t know if we’re the first, but we will be one of the first certainly to use this in Greater Boston.”
He said they will employ one person on site to monitor commodities markets to decide which time is best and what time is not best to buy energy. He indicated that all of this is just now available because of the rapid innovations in battery technology, which allows for smaller installations.
“The battery technology in a building like ours is a new concept,” he said. “In the old days, using them for energy efficiency was tough because they were massive. Now they are a lot smaller and you can put them in a building and they don’t take up as much real estate.”
Another major piece of the operation will be two co-generation plants that are being installed in the back of the house.
The units are about 15’ x 10’ and generate electricity that will be used to power the building. Co-generation works on the principal of heating water and creating steam by burning natural gas. Both the steam and hot water are then used to heat the building. However, as they are created, they turn a turbine that creates electricity as a by-product – electricity that can be used immediately in the building or stored in the battery system.
The two co-generation plants will produce 8-10mgW of electricity.
“Co-generation produces hot water, steam and also electricity,” said Gordon. “We’ll produce a lot of electricity with them, but we’ll keep it all on site. That means we’ll produce a lot of our electricity and the solar will be used on site as well…All in all, we believe we’ll be able to run 70 to 80 percent of the building’s functions just off of the power we have inside if we want to or need to.”
He said that if there is a power outage, they believe they will be able to power all critical functions, and still have enough left over to maintain the usual comforts.
“After all the critical functions are accounted for, like the lighting and heat, there will still be a lot more left,” he said. “People will be quite comfortable in an outage. You could pave people there as an emergency shelter really, because we’re well above the flood plain and we will have ample power stored.”
Other efficiency measures include:
A 10,000 sq. ft. green roof on top of the second floor of the building.
A giant water tank in the parking garage that will harness and store all of the rainwater on the site. That rainwater will then be used in the irrigation system to water all of the extensive plantings inside and outside the building.
All together, it also equals a tremendous amount of savings for the resort.
“We don’t have the exact figures yet, but we’re using 40 percent less than we should, and so you’re looking a very big number in terms of savings on energy,” he said. “We hope that it not only saves us money, but also that it sets the pace for everyone else.”
Above the Flood Plain
Many might have seen the photos of water rushing into the front doors of the Golden Nugget casino in Mississippi late last week as Hurricane Nate hit the Gulf Coast, but Wynn Boston Harbor officials said they don’t ever expect such a thing to happen at their resort despite being right on the Mystic River.
That’s because early in the process, officials said, they decided to change the design of the building so they would be well-above the 500-year floodplain and the storm surge levels too.
Chris Gordon of Wynn Design and Development Massachusetts said they don’t expect to get that kind of flooding on their waterfront site.
“The flood levels are at nine feet, and even with flood surge added, that’s still just 11 feet,” he said. “The garage entrance is at 13 feet and the entrance to the building is at 24 or 25 feet. In addition, all of the utilities have been moved out of the garage and are on top of the Central Utility Plant. If the garage does flood someday, we just pump it out. The pumps are already there and ready if need be. We don’t ever expect to see the garage flood, but if it does, we just pump out the water. It really does no harm.”
Gordon said it all goes back to a willingness to look at resiliency in the Boston area and go the extra mile instead of fighting it.
“Instead of debating it or trying to discredit it, we said, ‘Let’s just move the building up.’ And that has worked out really well.”
Residential is king in today’s development world, with developers vying for land to build luxury apartments where previously no one would have even parked their car.
That means, however, that industrial areas are shrinking or disappearing in the Greater Boston area, and places like Chelsea’s industrial area on Eastern Avenue and Marginal Streets are commanding high prices and great interest from developers intent on grabbing committed industrial property before it disappers.
That couldn’t be more true in Chelsea, where industrial/commercial properties are commanding a premium after several recent notable sales, and major developers from the region are scooping them up before it’s too late.
On Eastern Avenue, National Development – a well-known development company with major holdings in Boston, including the trendy new residential Ink Block development – has purchased 130 Eastern Ave. for $10 million in August from the Cohen Family, according to property records.
Pending a zoning variance, they plan to demolish the entire existing 38,000 sq. ft. warehouse on the seven-acre site.
Ted Tye of National Development said they hope to start construction on the new 32-foot clear height building in late 2017 upon completing final designs and receiving all the permits and approvals. They expect construction to conclude in fall 2018.
Tye said they have one tenant for the new property, but that tenant hasn’t been disclosed yet.
“There is an increasing demand in Greater Boston for quality distribution space close to Boston,” said Tye. “Chelsea is ideally located and has been great to work with on expanding the City’s commercial base.”
Part of the certainty comes from the fact, City Manager Tom Ambrosino said, that Chelsea has committed itself to keeping things industrial – unlike other areas, such as Everett’s Lower Broadway area by Wynn Boston Harbor casino where all bets against residential creeping in are off right now.
“I think we have made a commitment to see industrial areas that are now industrial to remain industrial and that these areas are relatively important to the City,” he said. “We have plenty of areas for residential expansion, including the Forbes site. I think we’re committed to retaining a vibrant industrial district. Chelsea historically has done a great job. We’re not likely to create residential developments in our industrial areas.”
Ambrosino said one thing the City requires is that in the development of these new properties, that they are improved aesthetically a bit. For example, National Development will landscape its property upon completion, and the new LTI Limo Company – which moved from Everett’s Lower Broadway area to Chelsea’s Eastern Avenue this year after being bought out by Wynn – is also going to landscape its property significantly.
“There aren’t a lot of industrial areas in Greater Boston and so this industrial area has become quite desirable,” said Ambrosino.
Meanwhile, just last week, more significant action took place in the district with the sale of two prominent warehouse to the Seyon Group, a Boston commercial development firm with 30 years of experience.
E-mails to Seyon Group were not answered in time for this story, but property records – first reported by Bldup.com – showed that Seyon purchased two warehouses for more $10 million total last week.
They purchased 201 Crescent Ave. from New England Lighting Company, which is closing down, for $3.75 million. New England Lighting bought the warehouse in 2009 for $2.65 million. The building is empty and for lease.
Meanwhile, at the same time, Seyon Group bought 150 Eastern Ave. from O’Brien Realty for $7.475 million. O’Brien also owns 140 Eastern Ave., and it purchased 150 Eastern Ave. in 2015 for just $4 million – nearly doubling their money in two years time.
Thee members/associates of the 18th Street Gang, including one Chelsea man, pleaded guilty last week in federal court in Boston in connection with illegal, street-level gun trafficking.
Oscar Oliva, a/k/a “Droopy, 26, of East Boston; Ralph Bonano, 23, of East Boston; and Dennis Pleites Ramos, 23, of Chelsea, pleaded guilty to engaging in the business of dealing with firearms without a license. Oliva also pleaded guilty to one count of possessing with intent to distribute and distribution of cocaine base and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. U.S. Senior District Court Judge Mark L. Wolf scheduled sentencing for January 2018.
In 2015 and 2016, a federal investigation identified a network of street gangs, which had created alliances to traffick weapons and drugs throughout Massachusetts and generate violence against rival gang members. Based on the investigation, 53 defendants were indicted in June 2016 on federal firearm and drug charges, including defendants who are allegedly leaders, members, and associates of the 18th Street Gang, the East Side Money Gang and the Boylston Street Gang. These gangs operated primarily in the East Boston, Boston, Chelsea, Brockton, Malden, Revere and Everett areas. During the course of the investigation, over 70 firearms, cocaine, cocaine base (crack), heroin and fentanyl were seized.
Oliva was a leader in the 18th Street gang, a multi-national criminal organization that operates throughout the United States, and was involved in a large conspiracy to deal in firearms in the Greater Boston area. Oliva was personally involved in at least 12 firearms deals involving at least 13 firearms to a cooperating witness. In total, the cooperating witness was able to obtain over 30 firearms from the conspiracy during the investigation, including assault rifles, shotguns, and handguns – several of which had obliterated serial numbers. Bonano and Pleites Ramos were involved with selling handguns in the Greater Boston area. In addition to the firearms trafficking, Oliva also sold cocaine base (crack cocaine) to a cooperating witness.