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.
The 30th Annual Chelsea Chamber of Commerce $10,000 Pot of Gold is around the corner. The event will be held on Wednesday, October 18, 2017 at Anthony’s of Malden, 105 Canal Street, Malden, MA. It will be an outstanding evening filled with great networking opportunities, delicious food and Back to the 80s fun, all while supporting your Chamber. This is the longest running major fundraiser for the Chelsea Chamber! Proceeds greatly contribute to the important work the Chelsea Chamber of Commerce does for the business community in Chelsea. First prize is $10,000. Only 250 will be sold and can be purchased by Chamber members and nonmembers alike. Act now and you could be the next $10,000 Pot of Gold winner!
Chairs Sue Gallant and Arthur Arsenault are working with their committee to make the 30th Pot of Gold the best yet! The Chamber will be going back to the 80s when it all started celebrating all the iconic music, fads and outfits from that decade. Prizes will be awarded to the best outfits from the 80s! Get creative and let’s see what you can put together! Maybe you will be one of our prize winners!
We also have opportunities to purchase raffle tickets to win Megaraffle baskets that are each valued at over $500. Themed baskets include Nights on the Town with Celtics, Bruins or Red Sox tickets, Ultimate Tailgate Package and a North Shore experience to name a few. We will also raffle off an Instant Wine Cellar where one person will win enough wine to start their own wine Cellar as well as a 50/50 raffle! So many great prizes to win besides the big prize of $10,000!
Tickets are $175.00 each. The ticket price includes one entry in the drawing for a chance to win the $10,000 top prize, opportunities to win one of our many fabulous door prizes, one dinner which will include a delicious meal of surf and turf and open bar. Additional dinner tickets can be purchased for $60. Festivities start at 6:00pm with dinner at 7:00pm and the first ticket drawn at 8pm.
The Chamber would like to thank the following for sponsoring this important fundraiser for the Chelsea Chamber of Commerce:
Chelsea Bank, a division of East Cambridge Savings Bank
MGH Health Center
Arsenault & Cline, CPAs, Stop & Compare Supermarkets, Cameron Real Estate Group, Hispanic American Institute, North Shore Advisory Group
Coprico Printing, Cataldo Ambulance, Chelsea Community Cable Television, Fairmont Copley Plaza, El Planeta, Independent Newspaper Group
Sponsorships are still available. Your name will be included on the Chamber website, in social and print media and advertised throughout the event. What a great way to highlight your business to people from all over the North Shore!
Only 250 tickets will be sold, so get your tickets now! Check out the Chamber website at www.chelseachamber.org, call the office at 617-884-4877 or drop by 308 Broadway Chelsea today. Rich Cuthie, Executive Director of the Chamber, will be happy to help you pick that winning ticket number!
CHS football team opens season tonight against Lynn Tech
The Chelsea High football team will make the short trek northward to Lynn this evening (Thursday) when coach Jack Halas and his Red Devil gridmen open their 2016 season at Lynn Tech under the lights on Tech’s home turf at Manning Field. The opening kickoff is set for 7:00.
“Things are going well,” said Halas of his team’s pre-season preparations, which began August 22. “We’ve been very busy in these first few weeks of the pre-season.”
Halas greeted a large turnout of 48 candidates for the varsity squad, a good indication of the strong health of the football program. Five players come from Pope John XXIII of Everett, with which Chelsea shares a co-op arrangement.
The Red Devils engaged in two pre-season encounters, a tri-scrimmage with South Boston and Latin Academy last Saturday and a contest with West Roxbury this past Saturday.
“Overall, I was pleased with the way we performed in the scrimmages,” noted Halas. “I thought we played well. We moved the football and played decent defense. By no means were they perfect or the best we can play, but they were a good starting point and something to build upon.
“I like this team,” continued the coach. “We have a lot of good players at our skill positions (quarterback, wide receiver, and running back). Our weakness this year is that we do not have much depth. The majority of the team is made up of underclassmen, so we need to stay healthy throughout the year.”
Leading the Red Devils in 2016 will be a pair of senior captains, Nick Ieng, who will see action on both sides of the ball at wide receiver and defensive back, and quarterback T.J. Patterson.
“These two are excellent players at their respective positions and should prove to be a dangerous pair for our opponents to prepare for,” said Halas. Other notable players for CHS fans to watch in 2016 are senior wide receiver/defensive back Bryan Rivas, senior wide receiver/defensive back Zach Leo, junior running back/defensive back David Bui, junior offensive lineman/linebacker Nelson Hernandez, and wide receiver/free safety Christian Herbert.
Tonight’s opener with Lynn Tech may well be the opening kickoff of the 2016 schoolboy season in Eastern Mass., with other schools in the state not opening up until Friday or Saturday. “Our kids are very excited,” said Halas of the prospect of playing in the first contest to open the 2016 high school season.
Halas and his crew will host Northeast Regional next Friday evening (September 16) under the lights at Chelsea Stadium at 7:00.
Boys soccer team
overcomes 1-0 deficit
to open with 5-2 win
The Chelsea High boys soccer team got off to a slow start, but revved into high gear in the second half to record a 5-2 victory in the Red Devils’ season-opener Tuesday afternoon at Shawsheen Tech.
Shawsheen drew first blood with nine minutes to play in the opening half to take a 1-nil advantage at the intermission. “We made a mistake in the defensive end and it cost us,” said CHS assistant coach Evan Protasowicki. “But overall, we were not playing well. We were controlling the possession, but were unable to put anything together to sustain our attack.”
However, the second half proved to be another story altogether, as the Red Devils reached the back of the Shawsheen net five times, led by senior captain Carlos Cartagena’s hat trick.
Chelsea struck soon after the opening kickoff, with sophomore midfielder Dan Sabu delivering a nice strike from just outside the 18 after he had gathered in a short goal kick, moved forward, and let fly a hard shot that caught the Shawsheen keeper off his line.
“It was a nice heads-up play by Dan and he took full advantage of the opportunity,” said Protasowicki.
Although Shawsheen responded with its second marker eight minutes later to regain the advantage, the goal proved to be a only a temporary one for CHS head coach Mick Milutinovic’s crew whose gathering momentum continued to build.
Junior captain and midfielder Kevin Umanzor-Torres brought Chelsea back to level with his first goal of the season, assisted by Humberto Suarez-Garcia, setting the stage for Cartagena’s amazing string of three goals in a span of 13 minutes.
“We moved Carlos up to the forward line from the backfield to give us some additional striking capability and it provided us with just the spark we needed,” noted Protasowicki.
After Cartagena gave Chelsea its first lead of the game with 17 minutes to play, with an assist from fellow senior captain Carlos Cruz, Carlos struck again just three minutes later (assisted by Suarez-Garcia) before applying the coup de grace with four minutes remaining. Guillherme Suarez-Ruella assisted on the final marker.
Senior Kevin Flores and sophomore Diego Granados, a newcomer to the CHS program, shared the duties in net, with each playing a half.
“Shawsheen always plays us very physically and they played us as we expected,” said Protasowicki. “It was not a pretty win, but we did what we needed to do.”
Milutinovic and his squad next will host Northeast Regional today (Thursday) and then will entertain non-league rival Everett Monday evening under the lights at Chelsea Stadium at 7:00. A large contingent of fans from both schools is expected to be on hand for that contest, which has become the biggest rivalry game on the CHS soccer schedule in recent years.
Bruins Beat by Bob Morello
Bruins: World cup of hockey
The National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players’ Association have announced the schedule for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. Six players with Boston Bruins roots will be participating: Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand (Team Canada); newly acquired David Backes (Team USA); David Pastrnak (Team Czech Republic); and Tuukka Rask (Team Finland). Bruins Captain Zdeno Chara will represent Slovakia on Team Europe, and was named an Alternate Captain, joining Philadelphia Flyer Mark Streit, with L.A. King’s Anze Kopitar serving as Captain. Missing from Team Czech Republic will be Bruins forward David Krejci who has decided to focus on returning from his injury one-hundred-percent before returning to the ice. Former Bruin Dennis Seidenberg (Germany) is also listed on Team Europe. Bruins head coach Claude Julien will also participate as an assistant coach for Team Canada.
From Sept. 17 to Oct. 1, 2016, eight teams – Team Canada, Team Czech Republic, Team Finland, Team Russia, Team Sweden, Team USA, Team Europe and Team North America – will compete in a best-on-best international hockey championship. The two-week tournament, featuring more than 150 of the best players in the NHL, will progress from the Preliminary Round to the Semifinals and ultimately the Final. All tournament games will be played at Air Canada Centre in Toronto.
The eight teams are split into two Groups, Group A and Group B, for the Preliminary Round (Sept. 17-22), when each team will play its three Group opponents in a round-robin format. Group A are Team Canada, Team Czech Republic and Team USA, plus Team Europe, a pan-European roster of players from birth countries outside of the Czech Republic, Finland, Russia and Sweden. Group B will have Team Finland, Team Russia, Team Sweden and Team North America, a selection of the top players from Canada and the United States who are 23 or under as of Oct. 1, 2016.
The Preliminary Round schedule will highlight two of international hockey’s fiercest rivalries on Tuesday, Sept. 20, when Team Canada and Team USA face off in Group A and Team Finland and Team Sweden meet in Group B. North American archrivals Canada and the United States have faced off for the top prize in several international finals, including the 1991 Canada Cup, 1996 World Cup of Hockey, 2002 and 2010 Olympic Winter Games and the 2004 and 2010 IIHF World Junior Championships. The Nordic powers Finland and Sweden have met in the finals of the 1995 and 2011 IIHF World Championships, the 2006 Olympic Winter Games and the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships.
The top two finishers in Group A and Group B will advance to the Semifinals (Sept. 24 25), where the first-place team from each Group will face an elimination game against the second-place team from the other Group. The two Semifinal winners will meet in the Final, a best-of-three series on Sept. 27, Sept. 29 and, if necessary, Oct. 1.
On May 31st, members of the Chelsea Collaborative, Chelsea city councilors, workers rights activists and Chelsea Community members gathered for the unveiling of the Chelsea Collaborative’s new workers rights mural. The mural creator, artist Nancy Guevara met with members of the Chelsea Latino Immigrant Committee an Environmental Chelsea Organizers a several times over the past few months to create the design for the mural.
The mural is part of a statewide education campaign to bring more awareness to the worker’s rights violations that immigrant workers face throughout Massachusetts. Organizations like the Collaborative, have long been fighting issues of wage theft, especially in industries with a high level of subcontracting, where cleaning, construction and
Artist Nancy Guevara speaks during the unveiling of the Worker’s Rights mural at the Collaborative on May 31.
painting workers often see their wages and overtime stolen by predatory subcontractors.
Currently, a coalition made up of local unions, workers centers like the Collaborative, and the Boston-based organization Community Labor United is pushing a bill that would further protect sub-contracted immigrant workers. Representative Dan Ryan and Senator Sal DiDomenico, who is the co-sponsor of the bill, both attended the mural unveiling and spoke about the importance of continuing to fight for the rights of immigrant workers. At noon on Thursday June 23rd, workers, union members and other supporters of the bill will gather for a Wage Theft Speakout on the steps of the State House to call on their Senators and Representatives to pass the bill. For more information and the action and the problem of wage theft, check out www.StopMassWageTheft.org.
The mural also seeks to highlight the strength workers find through culture, community unity and organizing and features figures modeled after active members of the Chelsea Latino Immigrant Committee and Somali Bantu Girls Group. As artist Nancy Guevara wrote in the inscription accompanying the mural, “This mural celebrates the different cultures found in this city and our shared commitment to hard work and a passion for justice. Together, we weave our future, our battle giving us the strength to fight and move on. We need fairly paid and dignified work in order to realize and inherit our dreams. We came to this country to live the American dream, but we have realized it was not for us, but with the strands of our battle, our collective voices amplified and the power of our love and effort, we continue to demand the right to dream.”
Anyone interested in taking a look at the worker’s rights mural, should feel free to visit the Collaborative anytime between 10 and 5pm. The mural is meant to be an inspiration for all in our community to keep on fighting for a more just and equitable city where all workers and community members are treated with respect and dignity.
Every city and town in Massachusetts with a population of 10,000 or more residents is required to have a tree warden.
So when Chelsea Tree Warden Andy DeSantis becomes the Massachusetts Tree Warden of the Year, it’s a major honor, one in which the city can take great pride.
In fact, Chelsea city leaders paid tribute to DeSantis’s success by planting a tree in his honor at Washington Park. That event attended by City Manager Tom Ambrosino coincided with Chelsea’s Arbor Day planting celebration.
Allan Alpert, the city’s emergency management director, lauded DeSantis for his statewide recognition.
“I’ve had the opportunity to work with Andy his whole tenure in Chelsea and he’s always accessible and gets right back to you,” said Alpert. He’s a wonderful man to work with and I congratulate him on receiving this wonderful, much-deserved award.”
City Treasurer Bob Boulrice, a tomato grower of note, also congratulated DeSantis.
“I grow tomatoes at the Chelsea Community Garden and Andy DeSantis, in his capacity as tree warden and with his incredible knowledge, he’s always been helpful and supportive to our group’s efforts,” said Boulrice. “I congratulate Andy on this well-deserved honor.”
DeSantis, 64, retired as assistant director of the Department of Public Works on April 6 and is now working part time for the DPW and as tree warden. He served as assistant director for 22 years, having previously worked in Revere as the superintendent of Public Works.
“My tenure in Chelsea has been great,” said DeSantis. “It’s an excellent place to work. The city gives me the latitude to do what I need to do. The city has provided a lot of funding for upgrading its infrastructure.”
DeSantis, who is considered an expert in arboriculture, oversees approximately 2,000 public-shade trees in the city. “Public-shade trees are defined as the trees in the public right of way,” he said. “We’ve planted over 1,000 trees in the past 12 years.”
DeSantis said through the efforts of former city councilor Roseann Bongiovanni, Chelsea became a Tree City in 2005, meeting the standards of the Arbor Day Foundation and affirming that “Chelsea cares about its trees.” The Tree City designation makes Chelsea eligible for grant funding.
“I think the future looks good for Chelsea,” said DeSantis. “We just got a grant for
Chelsea Tree Warden Andy DeSantis displays his prestigious statewide award.
$30,000 that going to update the tree inventory and perform a tree risk assessment of all our trees.”
It was through the Chelsea Record newspaper that Ann Crotty and artist Joe Greene met – a combination that would eventually produce the Chelsea Art Walk and Charcoll Arts Group.
Crotty, who passed away last month, will bear the honorary name tagged onto this year’s 2016 Chelsea Art Walk, organizers said last week.
“After reading the December 2004 front page story about my relaunch of the Pearl Street Gallery and that I was ‘hopeful that some day Chelsea will host an Open Studios event,’ she picked up the phone and called,” said Joe Greene of the Pearl Street Gallery. “She said, ‘Hello, my name is Ann Crotty and I would like to stop by and tell you all about a Chelsea artists group I was a part of.’ How could I refuse? Ann hopped on a bus and came by Pearl Street with a stack of papers, flyers and literature from a lively group of artists in the 1990s she was a part of. As rents increased, those artists had to move out and the group disintegrated. Ann convinced me that this time we could make it work.”
From there, Crotty teamed up with Greene and they reached out to the Chelsea City Cafe and the Spencer Lofts. In November 2007, with the addition of John Kennard to the team of Crotty and Greene, the first group show took form – called ‘Made in Chelsea’ – and showed at two different venues at one time.
“The show was such a success, that as a group we decided to continue as Charcoll (Chelsea Artists Collaborative ) and to have our next event in the spring of 2009, the Chelsea Art Walk,” said Greene. “It’s safe to say there might not be a Charcoll without Ms. Crotty. This first Chelsea Art Walk was ambitious and included nine or so venues all over town. Ann found us volunteers and bus greeters to guide our visitors around the city. As the years went by, Ann was an active Charcoll member and attended nearly every Art Walk meeting with a smile and a story. We will miss her.”
With that spirit, Charcoll has dedicated this year’s Walk – which takes place on June 11 and 12 – to the memory of Ann Crotty.
Long-time contributing playwright Bob Boulrice said he came to annually present his work at the Art Walk via being a bus driver.
“Ann recruited me as a bus driver,” he said. “That’s what brought me to Art Walk. It wasn’t the artists or the fact that it’s the second best day in Chelsea every year, but it was really hearing the people on the buses talk about the positive things they had experienced that drew me in. There were so many people who hadn’t been here in many years. It was cool.”
He said with the encouragement of Crotty, he began to toy with the idea of writing a play to be acted out at Apollinaire Theatre every year. Now, he’s been doing that for seven years.
“This year’s Art Walk is dedicated in appreciation of Ann Crotty and it’s so fitting,” said Boulrice. “She was just a regular, vibrant presence who was consistently positive and was dedicated. She really was the best of the Old Chelsea and the New Chelsea.”
The group of volunteers, city officials and state officials gathered early last Thursday morning, Jan. 28, to make the first official count of the homeless in Chelsea. Sgt. Jose Otero speaks to “Bobby” who was hesitant to come out of his sleeping blankets and speak to the group. “Bobby” said he was a Chelsea resident who lost his house. Medics were called in but Bobby refused medical care, stating he did not want to have to walk back to Chelsea from Everett when he would be released.
The Chelsea Record and the Chelsea Collaborative have agreed this week to sponsor a candidates’ forum at the Burke Complex auditorium on Monday, Oct. 26, for City Council and School Committee candidates.
The forum will seek to include all candidates and to ask questions of candidates in contested races. The goal is to familiarize the public with the candidates and their stances in one of the most hotly contested elections in some time.
The forum is open to the public and will be broadcast on Chelsea Cable TV as well. Parking is available in the school parking lot.
“We are pleased to co-sponsor this forum with the Chelsea Collaborative so that the voters in Chelsea can learn more about the candidates and their positions on the issues,” said Stephen Quigley, president of the Independent Newspaper Group. “Civic engagement is necessary as Chelsea moves forward under new leadership.”
Collaborative Executive Director Gladys Vega said forums are important in order to have voters who can hold their representatives accountable.
“I think we as community residents need to gather information from our candidates because when there is information, there is justification and hope,” said Vega. “If we don’t talk about the issues we are not acknowledging the responsibility we all have to built a better Chelsea. By holding these forums we are providing more information about the candidates to the voters, we are not only empowering our voters but also our residents. We all need to share the responsibility of keeping political officials accountable so they don’t abuse their power.”
The School Committee portion of the forum will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the auditorium.
After an introduction, all candidates will answer a first question that will serve as an opening statement, and will have one minute to do so. Those participating will be candidates in contested and non-contested races.
There are three contested races on School Committee.
Following that, two questions on the issues will be asked of only those candidates in contested races. Those same candidates will also be afforded a 30 second closing statement.
Then at 6:30 p.m., a 90-minute City Council forum will begin.Once again, after a brief introduction, all Council candidates – including district and at-large candidates in both contested and non-contested races- will answer the first question, which will act as an opening statement.
Following that, only candidates in contested races will participate in the questioning.
Only three district seats are uncontested.
There will be three rounds of questions asked.
The first two rounds will have questions asked by the panel, with candidates getting one minute to answer.
The third round will include a “lightening round” of questions – where candidates get only 30 seconds to answer questions.
For the at-large race, each candidate will get a different question.
For the district races, there will be one question per district so that answers can be compared.
Finally, each candidate in a contested race will get a 30 second closing statement.
None of the candidates will have the questions in advance, and a representative from the Record and from the Collaborative will ask the questions.
The forum is expected to conclude at 8 p.m.
The forum owes a debt of gratitude to the Chelsea Public Schools for allowing the use of the school, and to Chelsea Cable for broadcasting the program.
BOX OFF SIDEBAR –
Do you have an idea for a question?
The Chelsea Record and the Chelsea Collaborative are soliciting questions from the public to possibly be used in the Oct. 26 candidates’ forum.
If you have a question on any City issue that’s been bugging or perplexing you about local government or the schools, please submit it via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include the words ‘Question for Forum’ in the subject line. If it’s a good question, we’ll ask it of the candidates on Monday. Please feel free to submit one or more questions.
City Councillors unanimously approved a tax incremental financing (TIF) agreement with XSS Hotels that would help them enter into an ownership partnership with the Wyndham Hotel – a partnership that would be for the purpose of renovating the 15-year-old hotel.
The renovations are said to be just short of $10 million.
The Council voted 9-0, with two absent, to approve the recommendation by City Manager Tom Ambrosino for a five-year TIF.
XSS Hotels operates several hotels in Chelsea already, including the Residence Inn and TownPlace Suites. They would enter into a partnership with WEDGE Group of Texas, which currently owns the hotel.
“In a way, this is a landmark event because Wyndham was the first hotel here,” said Councillor Dan Cortell. “It’s the one we had to beg to give us a chance to build a hotel of this size…This is a full-circle event where the Wyndham is going to renovate to remain competitive. As our foundation hotel that was here when no other hotel was here, I support this.”
Councillor Giovanni Recupero said he supports the measure because it retains jobs.
“The jobs for the people there are going to be kept,” he said. “That’s the only reason why I vote fore it because it stays here and keep the people in their jobs. That’s very important.”
Said Councillor Calvin Brown, “It’s a good plan and a good move for the City of Chelsea.”
The plan would be for five years and would offer up to 60 percent relief in the first year from property taxes and personal property taxes. By the fifth year, it would trail down to 30 percent relief.
Ambrosino said the total new tax dollars to the City during the TIF would still be substantial, even with the discount. That figure was $243,307 in new taxes during the TIF as a result of the renovations.
The renovations would require a complete closure of the hotel between November and March.
In that time, Thomas wrote that current Wyndham employees would be offered employment at other area hotels in its network. Transportation would be provided to those employees if the new job is outside of Chelsea.
Chelsea Police and Fire, along with the State Fire Marshal, are investigating an intentional flooding of the Broadway Glen high-rise apartment building early last Saturday morning using a fire protection standpipe, and the owners of the building could find themselves in a lot more trouble after the situation allegedly uncovered some questionable living conditions.
Fire officials said there was about $500,000 in damages and that they, and police, have secured video footage that clearly shows a male party open a fire system water valve on the sixth floor and then run away. Fire officials estimated that the standpipe valve was open for about 15 minutes before crews from Engine 2 were able to locate it and turn it off.
“We send an additional engine (three engines, two ladders and a Deputy Chief) to all alarm activations and it was a good thing we do because it was a very chaotic scene,” said Deputy Chief John Quatieri. “When we arrived, water was pouring from both elevator shafts. The fire alarm panel indicated water flowing on floors five and six, so the crews from Engine 3 and Ladder 2 started their way up the south stairwell to investigate. Both crews had difficulty getting to floors five and six due to the large number of occupants who were self evacuating. We thought for sure there was a fire on the either floor five or six. As additional companies arrived they were immediately staged in the lobby which was quickly filling with water. Ladder 2 reported they had located an open ‘standpipe connection’ on floor six and was attempting to shut it down. Water flowed for approximately 10 to 15 minutes from the time it was opened until Ladder 2 shut the valve causing substantial damage to the floors below.”
Broadway Glen at 855 Broadway is an 11-story tower with 120 units, so a standpipe for fire suppression is required. The ‘standpipe connection’ is used by the Fire Department in high-rise structures. It is not feasible to stretch hose lines form a pumper to the 10th or 11th floor, so firefighters carry several hundred feet of hose up the stairwells and connect to the Fire Department standpipe connection, which is usually located on each floor in the stairwells.
As firefighters and police began to deal with the flooding, they found water in light fixtures and electrical panels, which was a serious hazard. They evacuated everyone from floor six down, about 150 people, and they took shelter in MBTA buses for several hours. Those on floors seven to 11 sheltered in place.
Fire crews worked the scene for about three hours before residents were allowed inside their apartments.
Two people were injured when they slipped and fell on wet floors, injuring their heads, while trying to evacuate. One was treated on scene and the other was taken to the Whidden. A third man suffered a cardiac issue and is in the cardiac unit at Beth Israel Hospital.
Captain Richard Perisie from the Fire Department’s Fire investigation Unit followed up early this week with the Chelsea Police, Massachusetts State Police and the Massachusetts Fire Marshal’s Office and obtained video footage
They are in the process of identifying that individual.
Beyond that, the flood seemed to uncover a host of living conditions that might be against the City’s Building Codes.
Shortly after the residents returned to their homes, advocates and volunteers began to report terrible living conditions in the units that likely existed long before the flooding.
The Chelsea Collaborative held a tenant meeting with City officials at their Broadway headquarters on Monday afternoon and learned of several stories about mice and unsanitary living conditions that allegedly existed.
City Manager Tom Ambrosino attended that meeting and said this week the City will look at any such problems.
“The City plans to document all existing Code violations and take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that those violations are remedied in an expeditious manner,” he said.
Broadway Glen is an affordable housing complex and it sold in early 2014 to a New York group for $9.5 million.
Sam Horowitz of Capital Realty Group in Spring Valley, NY told the Record at the time that his company was excited to be doing business in Chelsea.
They have more than 5,000 units in 13 states and specialize in affordable housing buildings.