Stephen Leon Honored at Memorial Day Exercises

Stephen Leon Honored at Memorial Day Exercises

During the official Memorial Day Exercises at City Hall, Bronze Star Recipient and Parade Marshal Stephen Leon salutes in solemn remembrance as the Memorial wreaths are placed on the City’s War Memorials. While guarding a military barracks at night, Leon risked his life to save several hundred sleeping Marines from a terrorist attack in Afghanistan. He is a life-long Chelsea resident and a career military man.

During the official Memorial Day Exercises at City Hall, Bronze Star Recipient and Parade Marshal Stephen Leon salutes in solemn remembrance as the Memorial wreaths are placed on the City’s War Memorials. While guarding a military barracks at night, Leon risked his life to save several hundred sleeping Marines from a terrorist attack in Afghanistan. He is a life-long Chelsea resident and a career military man.

Monday morning on Broadway Chelsea was a long way from April 2, 2011 for veteran Stephen Leon.

While he walked down the main street of his hometown – the grand marshal of the Memorial Day Parade – his thoughts were still keenly aware of that day in Afghanistan when he put his life on the line to protect hundreds of sleeping military men from a surprise terrorist attack on his Camp Phoenix outpost.

For his heroics, he has been awarded the Bronze Star.

As he and other members of the night watch stood guard over the camp, they were suddenly barraged with small arms fire, hand grenades and two suicide bomber insurgents who meant to penetrate the barracks and kill thousands.

“There were 8,700 soldiers behind us and they were all sleeping in the middle of the night, so we figured it was going to be our time to die because we weren’t going to let them get to those 8,700 sleeping soldiers,” Leon said in a Record story published in 2013. “My partner got hit and I said to him, ‘Just keep shooting because if they get by us, it’s all done.’ I got blown up, but we stopped them.”

According to his commendation letter from the Army, despite being rocked by multiple explosions, Leon was able to gather himself and deliver lethal shots to the attackers and to the suicide bombers who had not yet detonated their vests.

“While disoriented from a series of explosions, Specialist Leon refused to surrender ground and delivered accurate and lethal fire which prevented insurgents from gaining entry to the base,” read the citation. “His exceptional courage, dedication to duty, care for fellow soldiers and personal sacrifice directly contributed to the successful defense of the main entry control point. His actions saved lives.”

Operating with all humility on Monday morning in front of a hometown crowd, Leon joked about receiving his commendations from General David Petraeus.

“I love being a Chelsea resident because we represent,” he said. “I got all of my commendations from General Petraeus himself. He handed them over to me. When he gave them to me, he asked me what we needed to do to stop the war in Afghanistan. I said to send over more Chelsea residents and we’ll take care of this thing quickly.”

Leon is the brother of Chelsea Police Officer Robert Leon. All three of his brothers have also served in the military, and he said he wanted to have a military career since he was a little boy playing with his GI Joe toys.

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Bridge to Close on May 26, CFD Not On Board

Bridge to Close on May 26, CFD Not On Board

As a major announcement comes this week about the full closure of the Washington Avenue Bridge on May 26, the Chelsea Fire Department (CFD) said it was very unhappy with the way planning has gone for the closure – with the public’s safety being potentially compromised, a spokesman said.

Interim City Manager Ned Keefe and City Planner John DePriest said this week that the proposed plan by the state is to close the Washington Avenue Bridge to all traffic on Tuesday, May 26. It would remain closed for 18 months for repairs, though pedestrian walkways would remain.

The news might be frustrating to local drivers – who will no longer be able to access the north side of the city from Bellingham Square via the popular route – but it’s even more frustrating to Fire officials, who said this week that their plan has not been supported and is a threat to public safety.

“Obviously this is very concerning for us because it will directly impact our ability to protect the public and also creates a serious safety issue for our firefighters,” said Deputy John Quatieri. “We are not satisfied with the outstanding issues because not one of them have been addressed. We submitted a Safety Plan in January 2014 and we will not be able to implement that plan. The bottom line here is the City has not supported the Fire Department’s plan at all. The plan was completely funded by MassDOT so there was no cost to the taxpayers at all. We are concerned and the residents should be also.”

The chief source of frustration is the fact that, first, the Department cannot get across to the north side of the City to respond to incidents. To remedy that, the state agreed to pay for a fourth engine company to be located in the Everett Avenue area – a more direct route to that side of the city. However, while it was believed that a temporary station would be funded, that has not come about so far. So, just where the fourth engine company will be housed is a mystery at this point.

The second issue at hand is Ladder 2 – which as of May 20 – had been out of service for 50 days due to mechanical issues. The Department has been asking for many years for the Ladder 2 to be repaired, but to no avail. Only this winter did the money become available from the City Council to make the repair. However, the repair has dragged on and the Ladder will not be back by May 26.

“We were updated last week on the status of Ladder 2, and the vendor is waiting for parts so they expect the repair will take another week or two,” said Quatieri. “We were hoping to get the truck back the last week of May prior to the bridge closing. It may be the second week in June now.”

He said having the bridge completely closed and the Ladder 2 still out of service makes fire coverage very challenging.

The date of the full closing is actually a moving target, and could be moved back, Keefe said. A final plan for the full closure is expected this week.

The Washington Avenue Bridge replacement project is part of the overall Silver Line Extension project going on this summer. The Bridge must be completed within 18 months, but the contractor has lucrative incentives built into the contract based on finishing earlier.

Detours during the closure will be up Broadway and west on Cary Avenue to Cary Square – and vice versa. Traffic on Broadway is expected to be much worse this summer than normal as a result.

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Obituaries 04-23-2015

Obituaries 04-23-2015

Margaret ‘Sissy’ Burley

Lifelong Chelsea resident

Margaret “Sissy” (Cole) Burley of Chelsea passed away in the comforting presence of her devoted family and loved ones on Friday, April 17 at the Eastpointe Nursing Care Center in Chelsea after a short illness. She was 76 years old.

Born and raised in Chelsea, she was the beloved daughter of the late Nathaniel and Margaret (Snow) Cole. “Sissy” attended local schools and worked as a certified nurse’s assistant at the former Pleasant View Nursing Home in Somerville and was medically retired in 1988. A lifelong resident of Chelsea, Sissy had been residing and receiving supportive care at Eastpointe for the past 15 months.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by three of her own children. She was the beloved mother of Lorraine Valencia and her husband, Patrick of Epsom, NH, Charlene DarcAngelo and her husband, John of Salisbury, Margaret McClellan of Concord, NH, Michael McClellan of Seabrook, NH, and the late Nathaniel McClellan, Doreen Kenney and Carol Ali. She was the dear sister of Dottie Hoyt-Aloisi of Virginia and the late Barbara Penney, Frank, William and Robert Cole. She is also survived by 12 grandchildren, 10 great grandchildren and her dear friend Thelma “Louise” DiChiara of Chelsea.

Relatives and friends are most kindly invited to attend a Memorial Gathering at the Frank A. Welsh & Sons Funeral Home, 718 Broadway, Chelsea on Monday, April 27 from 9 to 10 a.m. immediately followed by a Funeral Service in the Funeral Home at 10 a.m. with the Rev. Richard T. Loring officiating. Services will conclude with inurnment at Woodlawn Cemetery, Everett. Should friends desire, contributions in her memory may be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Pl., Memphis, TN www.StJude.org . For directions or to send expressions of sympathy, please visit:

www.WelshFuneralHome.com

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Colm Bohill:Beloved Member of the Independent Newspaper Group

Colm Bohill:Beloved Member of the Independent Newspaper Group

Colm Bohill

Colm Bohill

There was never a time when one could not laugh with him, nor a moment that passed when he was short of the perfect word to describe any situation.

That’s how friends, family and co-workers most remember Colm Bohill, 69, a long-time partner at the Independent News Group who passed away at Whidden Hospital in Everett Monday night, April 13, after a brief illness.

Bohill joined the Independent News Group at its formation in 1999. He was primarily in the Marketing Department, but wore many hats. He often was the first person to greet those coming through the door at the company’s Revere headquarters. However, internally, he was known as a dogged copy editor, who questioned just the right things, knew how to read between the lines, and was the last line of defense against errors and typos before papers went to press and hit the streets.

Bohill was born in Waterford, Ireland and spent most of his formative years in Europe before coming to Boston. He brought with him his love of soccer – especially the English Premier League – and of other sports such as the unique Irish game of hurling. He watched both religiously, but he also loved all the American sports, too.

Upon arriving in Boston in the 1970s, Bohill worked in the food and beverage industry. Among the places he worked were legendary establishments such as the former Rusty Scupper in Faneuil Hall.

After his career in food and beverage service, he came to work in the newspaper industry. He was a quick study and came to love all aspects of the local media publishing world. He was a voracious reader of all things, including the newspapers he helped publish.

Because of his Irish roots, he was able to turn on his brogue to delight co-workers, children and friends. He also was very proud of his native country’s athletes, governmental programs and history. Around St. Patrick’s Day, he was liable to tell a fantastic tale of the Old Sod – as he affectionately called it.

He travelled back to Ireland at least once a year to see family.

He was known to have a good wit, a talent for writing poetry in the Irish tradition and a wealth of wisdom acquired from a lifetime of diverse and challenging experiences. Mixed in with that wit and wisdom was a streak of feistiness, often tinged with a slice of biting humor.

On Broadway Revere, and at one time in Central Square of East Boston, he was well known by shopkeepers and area residents in those two places. He made friends quickly and was very personable to those he met in Revere and Eastie, where he manned offices for the newspapers. He had a practical knowledge of how life worked on the streets, but also an intellect that helped him know and love the enlightened ideas of noteworthy philosophers and writers.

In his later years, he was smitten by his two young grandchildren, Clyde and Ellis, who were a constant source of pride and happiness. He loved when they visited and cherished pictures he would get over e-mail.

He lived on Park Avenue in Revere for many years prior to his passing.

He was the son of the late Christie and Mary Bridget Bohill of Waterford. He was the brother of Theckla Ryan, Bernie Rupp, John Bohill and Mamie Lawlor.

He was the father of Daniella (Bohill) Gulizia of Colorado and David Bohill.

He was the beloved grandfather of Clyde and Ellis Gulizia of Colorado. He was the cherished friend of the DiGregorio Family of Revere.

He also leaves many cherished nieces and nephews.

Visiting hours will be at Buonfiglio’s Home for Funerals in Revere on Sunday from 4-6 p.m. A Funeral Mass will be said at St. Mary’s Church in Revere Monday at 10 a.m.

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Detours and Developments A Summer of Construction:Silver Line Begins Initial Work near Cottage Street,More Visible Work to Come First in a Series on…

Detours and Developments A Summer of Construction:Silver Line Begins Initial Work near Cottage Street,More Visible Work to Come First in a Series on…

A worker walks the rail bed near Cottage Street this week, a rail bed that is now being transformed into an extension of the bus rapid transit Silver Line. The long-awaited project began construction last week.

A worker walks the rail bed near Cottage Street this week, a rail bed that is now being transformed into an extension of the bus rapid transit Silver Line. The long-awaited project began construction last week.

As the warmer weather sets upon the City, the construction season in Chelsea has a full slate before it and, like never before, the projects set to begin will change the city in ways that will stretch long into the future.

None of those projects will impact the city more than the Silver Line Gateway extension project, which started work last week near the MassPort garage and on an old railroad right-of-way in the eastern part of the city.

Soon, it will extend to its most visible – and potentially frustrating – portion in the 18-month closure of the Washington Avenue Bridge.

“It’s going to be a summer of serious construction in the City and all of it will be trying to rehabilitate the infrastructure and also to provide recreational and transportation amenities,” said John DePriest, Chelsea City Planner. “There’s going to definitely be some serious construction going on with the Silver Line, and that started last week, but when it’s done we’ll have a greenway, an on-street greenway, a new transit line and a new Washington Avenue Bridge. It will be a major improvement.”

The Silver Line project has been long proposed, but was finally given the go-ahead a few years ago by the former administration. It included a bus rapid transit system running from South Station, through the South Boston Innovation District, to the airport and then across to Chelsea – finishing up at the Market Basket. It includes several new stations and a new commuter rail station, as well as a recreational greenway project. The project was continued in the new administration and big ideas on paper are now starting to be carried out by workers on the ground. Right now, only preliminary work on the roadbed is going on, but DePriest said there will be much more to come.

“The Silver Line part will get done first, and then the Greenway portion,” said DePriest. “It will all have to be done by December 2016, and the contractor has major financial incentives to finish quickly and on time or ahead of time.”

The actual Silver Line will cross over to Chelsea from Eastie on the Chelsea Street Bridge. It’s first station will be at the MassPort garage on Eastern Avenue. After that, there will be three more stations, including Box District, Downtown Chelsea (Chestnut Street) and Mystic Mall. At the Mystic Mall Station, there would also be a new Commuter Rail Station built to handle both modes of transportation.

The eastern leg of the Greenway will be a dedicated path for walking and biking and passive recreation. It will run right beside the Silver Line from Eastern Avenue to Chestnut Street with entry/exit points at each of the stations. That part of the project will be completed with the Silver Line project – likely after the busway is completed.

However, a second portion of the greenway, DePriest said, runs on the streets of Chelsea from Chestnut Street to the Mystic Mall. That western leg will include better signage, better sidewalks, bicycle lanes, street striping and other amenities – including a new configuration for Fay Square by the Central Fire Station.

DePriest said there just wasn’t enough room for a continued path on the busway after Chestnut Street.

“There will be a nice connection with the rest of the Greenway at Chestnut with a nice place to sit,” he said. “We chose Chestnut for a couple of reasons. One, because of the lack of space on the right-of-way, we could not go any further with the dedicated walkway. We could have come off at Broadway, but Chestnut brings you right to downtown and that brings economic development and business to the downtown area. We would hope that people would use the businesses and services because of that.”

The trail westbound includes Chestnut to 5th, 5th to Walnut, Walnut to 4th and up to Everett Avenue. Coming back, the path would follow 4th to Arlington, Arlington to 6th, and back to Chestnut.

DePriest said a bid for that work would would go out in late May or June, and work would proceed there some time this summer. There will be minimal disruptions, he said, with only street closings at various times for street striping work.

That, unfortunately, cannot be said for the Washington Avenue Bridge project.

That’s the doozy within the project that will be absolutely necessary, absolutely inconvenient and absolutely starting in a few months. That project will mean shutting down to all traffic one of the major arteries in the city for 12 to 18 months while the bridge is rebuilt.

“The Silver Line could not proceed if the bridge was not reconstructed,” he said. “They’ll be going down to one lane soon, and in about two months, it’s going to go down to no lanes. It will close completely for 12 to 18 months, but they’ll maintain pedestrian access on the side. All traffic will be detoured down Broadway to Cary Avenue. They’re keeping us well informed on that closure and how it will happen.”

The work will only take place during normal construction hours, though some weekend work could take place on occasion.

“There is work they have to do where they’ll have to shut down the commuter rail and that will have to happen on the weekends,” DePriest said. “That will likely happen for the first time in May.”

Some of the work might also continue through next winter.

“They’ll certainly work as late as they can into the winter,” he said. “There might even be components that could go on through the winter.”

To minimize impacts within all aspects of the project, contractors have agreed to not park in residential neighborhoods, to only park machinery on the right-of-way and not to stage any equipment in the neighborhoods. There will also be funding to keep a fourth fire engine on the western side of the city.

All in all, the project has the opportunity to link residents to important areas of Boston – including the Seaport Innovation District and the Red Line South Station terminal.

“That connection is to jobs and jobs for our residents potentially,” he said.

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Mazonson Invites CHS Classmates to Fiftieth Reunion on June 7 at Kowloon

Mazonson Invites CHS Classmates to Fiftieth Reunion on June 7 at Kowloon

Marc Mazonson is serving as the chairman for the Chelsea High School Class of 1965 Fiftieth Reunion to be held at the Kowloon on June 7.

Marc Mazonson is serving as the chairman for the Chelsea High School Class of 1965 Fiftieth Reunion to be held at the Kowloon on June 7.

Marc Mazonson said that in the early 1960s students for the most part attended Shurtleff, Williams, or Carter schools through the ninth grade before moving on to Chelsea High School for their sophomore year.

Mazonson is hoping to be in the company of as many of his former high school classmates as possible when the CHS Class of 1965 gathers for its fiftieth reunion on June 7 at Kowloon in Saugus. Mazonson is the chairman of the event, assisted by Larry Sneirson, who is known by his stage name, Larry Lee Lewis, a professional standup comedian. Inez Pragg Cole is also serving on the reunion committee. The president of the class was Steven Padulsky.

“We’re calling the reunion, ‘The Real Deal,’’’ said Mazonson. “This is our fiftieth reunion for the Class of 1965 only. We expect a large crowd. Right now we have about 150 people who have indicated they’ll be there.”

The reunion committee has invited Chelsea City Clerk Deborah Clayman to be an honored guest at the reunion. Clayman is the wife of the late attorney, Richard I. Clayman, who was a member of the Class of 1965.

“Everybody loved Richie Clayman,” said Mazonson. “Richie was friendly, down-to-earth, so generous to people, and a great attorney. We’re so pleased that Deborah will be there for the beautiful tribute we have planned for Richie and our other deceased classmates.”

Mazonson said the CHS principal in 1965 was James Cotter. The faculty included teachers Gilbert Cherry, Paul Eckman, George Barooshian, Max Leader, James Welch, Sheldon Greenglass, Dr. Max Ross, and Rebecca Mack.

“I grew up Chester Avenue,” said Mazonson. “I went to Shurtleff from grades one through nine and then I went on to the high school. Chelsea was a great place to grow up as a kid. You walked the streets day or night and it was safe. Mothers would take their kids down Broadway on Saturdays for sidewalk sales in the stores.”

He said people would often congregate in Broadway restaurants such as The Bel Del, Murray and Eddy’s, Wing’s, and Tony’s Spa.

The reunion will feature a Chinese buffet dinner, music, and dancing. Mazonson will deliver the welcoming remarks while Sneirson will lead a brief speaking program.

“We’re looking for a marvelous night of fun and reminiscing about the good, old days,” said Mazonson. “We want people to see their friends and have a great time.”

Tickets to the Class of 1965 Reunion are $35 per person. Classmates should contact Marc Mazonson at 617-889-2004 or marcmazonson@gmail.com for information about the reunion.

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Wynn Plans to Develop Employee Parking Near Produce Center

Wynn Plans to Develop Employee Parking Near Produce Center

Plans for an off-site employee parking lot with hundreds of spaces to handle a large percentage of the Wynn Everett workforce were unveiled in a state environmental filing last week, and the parking lot is tentatively sited somewhere in Produce Center on the Everett/Chelsea line.

The news came deep within Wynn’s recent filing last week of its supplemental environmental reports on traffic and parking with state environmental regulators. While a majority of the plan concentrates on traffic mitigation in Charlestown’s Sullivan Square area, one piece of the overall plan is to locate employee parking off-site.

According to the plan in the filing, some 800 spaces would be contracted off-site by Wynn, though not all of them would be located in area near the Produce Center.

“While no specific parking site has been identified for the Everett employee parking lot, the plan is to locate it in the industrial southeast quadrant of Everett, generally south of Revere Beach Parkway (Route 16) and east of Broadway (Route 99),” read the filing. “The predicted modes of Project employee travel on Fridays and Saturdays by percentage and person trips, as shown, are 41%, of employees are expected to drive and park at the employee off-site parking facilities and 20% of employees are expected to travel to the Project via the Orange Line. Another 20% of employees will use the neighborhood shuttle, and the remaining 19% will use the other travel modes…The Proponent plans to lease up to 800 spaces at three off-site parking facilities to accommodate employee parking and has confirmed with the operators that sufficient capacity is available at the potential lease locations to accommodate the number of spaces referenced.”

Wynn would also run 24-hour shuttle buses from the off-site parking facility to its casino at Everett’s Lower Broadway area, which is only minutes from the proposed lot location on the Everett/Chelsea line.

“Employees using single-occupancy vehicles to travel to work will be required to park at designated off-site locations and ride a shuttle bus to the Project Site. The employee shuttle buses will be operated by the Proponent (or contracted through a third party vendor) and will be a free service for employees of the Project validated by their security badges,” read the filing. “Three separate employee shuttle bus routes will operate between the Project’s employee entrance and off-site employee parking facilities in Medford adjacent to Wellington Station, Malden at a downtown garage, and potentially in Everett at a location to be determined.”

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Chelsea Man Arraigned on Firearm Offenses

Chelsea Man Arraigned on Firearm Offenses

A Chelsea man injured in a police-involved shooting two weeks ago was held on high bail during his arraignment last Friday, Feb. 13, at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Igor Peulic, 32, of Chelsea, was arraigned from his hospital bed on charges of unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition, carrying a loaded firearm, discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a building, and assault with a dangerous weapon. At the request of Assistant District Attorney Philip Cheng, Chelsea District Court Judge Matthew Nestor set bail at $25,000.

According to prosecutors, Chelsea Police officers on patrol in Bellingham Square at approximately 12:30 a.m. Feb. 1 saw and heard gunshots in the area of the Chelsea Walk. Preliminary evidence from witness statements, surveillance images, and other sources indicates that the gunman, later identified as Peulic, fired several shots at an unoccupied vehicle outside the establishment. No one was struck by the gunfire.

Peulic led police on a foot pursuit from Broadway to 5th Street and then onto Chestnut Street as additional officers responded to the scene from various locations. Peulic allegedly ignored officers’ commands to drop his weapon. The preliminary evidence suggests that an officer discharged his service weapon on Chestnut Street, striking Peulic once in the abdomen. Peulic’s firearm – a loaded Dan Wesson .357 long barrel revolver – was recovered from the scene, prosecutors said.

Officers immediately called for medical assistance and administered first aid. Peulic was transported to Massachusetts General Hospital, where he continues to undergo treatment.

Suffolk prosecutors and State Police detectives assigned to the Suffolk DA’s office are investigating the incident, and a separate examination is also being conducted by the Chelsea Police Department’s Professional Standards Division – Critical Incident Review Team. This review will focus on existing policy, tactics, and training as they relate to the use of force in this situation.

Peulic is represented by David Yannetti. He returns to court March 11.

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Chelsea Firefighters Battle a 2-Alarm Fire on Broadway

Chelsea Firefighters Battle a 2-Alarm Fire on Broadway

ffChelsea Firefighters from the Mill Hill Station were on the run last Sunday, jumping from a 3-alarm fire in Revere to a 2-alarm fire on Broadway Chelsea.

On Sunday, February 1st, at 1:20 p.m., the fire department responded to the report of a building fire at 759 Broadway. Engine 3 and Ladder 2 were first to arrive on scene from the Mill Hill Station and reported smoke showing from the 2nd floor. The crews from Engine 3 and Ladder 2 had just returned to the station a couple of hours prior to this call from assisting the Revere Fire Department battle a 3-alarm fire.

Deputy Chief Robert Zalewski arrived on scene and upgraded the incident to a “Working Fire” which brought Chelsea Tower 1 and Chelsea Engine 1 to the scene. Deputy Zalewski quickly ordered a 2nd Alarm, as the fire was burning through the exterior walls in the occupied six-unit building.

The fire operation was further complicated due to a pick up truck blocking access to a fire hydrant on Broadway which delayed getting water to Engine 3.

Crews worked for more than an hour to extinguish the fire. All 6 families were displaced from the fire and relocated by the Red Cross. No occupants were injured.

Mutual Aid was called in from Everett, Revere, Malden, Winthrop, Somerville, and Medford to assist Chelsea firefighters control the fire. Boston Engine 5 and Boston Ladder 21 covered Central Station while Somerville Engine 2 covered the Mill Hill Station.

The fire is currently under investigation.

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Towne Place Suites Set to Open in February

Towne Place Suites Set to Open in February

Maureen Foley (left) and Dakeya Christmas of Colwen Hotels in the comfortable and cozy lobby at the Chelsea Residence Inn this week. Both said that the expansion of hotels in Chelsea is all about the regions need for more rooms to meet the booming demand of conventions and international tourists. The company has two hotels in the works in Chelsea, with the Towne Place Suites on Marginal Street set to open in mid-February.

Maureen Foley (left) and Dakeya Christmas of Colwen Hotels in the comfortable and cozy lobby at the Chelsea Residence Inn this week. Both said that the expansion of hotels
in Chelsea is all about the regions need for more rooms to meet the booming demand of conventions and international
tourists. The company has two hotels in the works in Chelsea, with the Towne Place Suites on Marginal Street set to open in mid-February.

Some 14 years ago when Colwen Hotels was first considering putting a hotel in Chelsea, it was all about proximity to the airport.

Now, with the group preparing to open its second hotel – the Towne Place Suites on Marginal Street – on Feb. 16 or 17 and having two more Chelsea hotels in the works, the focus has little to nothing to do with the airport.

“The idea originally started as a hotel for the airport because of the airlines,” said Maureen Foley of Colwen. “As it happened, you had the growth at the Boston Convention Center and international tourism really took off and it all created the perfect storm for us.”

In fact, the focus on Chelsea by Colwen has everything to do nowadays with the hot commodity of the Boston area for conventions and international travel and Chelsea’s close proximity to the engine of the region’s booming economy.

“I think economically people are seeing the growth in Boston and seeing that it’s a booming city and the opportunities are there,” said Foley. “They need more hotel rooms and the time is right economically. We do play into the proximity of Chelsea all the time. We are very close to Boston and in a lot of cases we’re closer to Boston than many parts of Boston. However, having the background on what’s going on in the Boston area really changes how you view this as a whole. It’s not just about another hotel in Chelsea. Boston and the entire area are really booming for conventions and tourism.”

As proof of that, according to Smith Travel Research, Boston’s hotel occupancy rates (which include Chelsea) ranked 7th in the top 25 market areas in 2013. That was behind prime places like New York, Hawaii, Miami Beach, San Francisco and Los Angeles. The occupancy rate for 2013 was around 73 percent.

This year, the 2015 projections for occupancy are way up.

The Pinnacle Group predicts that Boston occupancy rates will be at 80 percent this year, which is up 7 percent from 2013. Meanwhile, the average room cost per night is predicted to be $255.94. Those numbers would be some of the best occupancy rates and room rates for just about any market in the United States.

Meanwhile, the Boston Convention Center in South Boston’s Seaport District is driving the growth in hotels tremendously and many guests in Chelsea’s hotels look to be those heading to the Seaport District.

Foley said she believes that a lot of hotel spillover from the Seaport District does end up in Chelsea, and that will really be true once the Silver Line is completed from the Seaport to the Mystic Mall.

“That will be an absolute game changer,” she said.

As it is now, Boston is 39th on the list of having the most International meetings in a market – meetings that take place at the Boston Convention Center or the Hynes Convention Center.

While 39th sounds like an “iffy” proposition, that worldwide number is higher than Washington, D.C. (43rd), New York City (64th) and Chicago (65th).

The number is also tempered by the fact that the Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau cannot book some of the largest conventions due to the fact that the Greater Boston area doesn’t have enough hotel rooms to handle such things.

Therein lays the drive behind the expansion of hotels in Chelsea – in places like Marginal Street and the upper end of Broadway where one would have never thought a hotel would land.

Foley said it probably doesn’t make sense to the naked eye, but once one understands the business model and the region’s needs that lie behind such decisions, it makes far more sense.

“The Convention and Visitors Bureau cannot host some of the largest conventions because we don’t have enough rooms,” she said. “We can really compete as a convention city if we build more hotel rooms.”

That’s the model for so many hotel companies like Colwen and the Wyndham for expansion.

Colwen will open its Homewood Suites by Hilton across from Chelsea High School in November.

In Cambridge, near the Somerville line, they are set to open a Fairfield Inn & Suites later this year.

The all new Marriott brand, the AC Hotel, is currently under construction by Colwen at Station’s Landing in Medford. Meanwhile, Colwen is planning an Autograph by Marriott hotel for Somerville’s Assembly Row in the near future.

Another Colwen AC Hotel with 200 rooms has been approved for the Ink Block development area in Boston’s South End where the Boston Herald used to operate.

All of the hotels from Colwen are geared to a particular market, though. That market is the Millennial Generation that, demographically speaking, shuns the ritzy confines of a luxury hotel and embraces smaller, less expensive hotels with solid amenities and nice, open lobby/social spaces.

“The Millennials want a less expensive place to stay with limited services and not so much a luxury hotel,” she said. “We think that we’ll see a lot of change towards that. They want their free Wi-Fi. They want to be in a fun area and they want to sit in lobbies and socialize. That’s exactly what we offer.”

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