Quincy city councilors will vote on a special permit for the renovation and expansion of the motel on Hancock Street at their next meeting, after hearing an initial presentation and concerns from neighbors at a meeting Monday night.
Rina Inc. purchased the motel, which has operated next to the St. Anne’s school for over 50 years, in 2002 with plans for renovating the building.
In 2004, renovations to the interior of the building were conducted. In 2006, plans to redo the exterior into more of a hotel setting – which included added on a second floor to one of the buildings, connecting the two buildings, and enclosing the motel rooms with an interior hallway – were drawn up.
Shortly thereafter, owner Ashinsh J. Sangani learned that the site was near the proposed site for the relocated Central Middle School, so the development was put on a hold.
With Central Middle School now being constructed on the site of the former St. Anne’s School, land owned by Eastern Nazarene College, a private home, and a chiropractor's office, Sangani is prepared to move forward with his renovation plans, Attorney Edward Fleming told councilors.
The renovation would take the 55,000-square-foot parcel, which consists of 37 motel rooms and a 67-space parking lot, and add 22 hotel rooms through the addition of a second floor, reconfigure the parking lot with two less spaces, increased landscaping, and add additional square footage in interior hallways connecting the rooms.
Most likely, the property would become a Howard Johnson’s franchise, Fleming said.
The project has already received Planning Board approval and Zoning Board approval, Fleming said, and in numerous public meetings, residents have supported the project.
According to Fleming, the applicant has also worked with the peer review group to alter some of the engineering of the plans, primarily changing the drainage of the area.
One neighbor came out to support the project Monday night, saying that the motel was well run for the several decades he had lived on the street and he expected the same for the future.
“It’s not an easy business to run and I can honestly tell you I don’t remember any problem with people coming from the motel...," said J. Thomas Mullaney, who lives on Standish Avenue. "The key to me is [Sangani] wants extra capacity, fine. But he will have a controlled situation, which he didn’t have before.
"I think this is a win/win all around, and I was pleased with the Zoning Board who seemed to be very supportive…I hope you people will support it, and I wish Ashinsh good luck with his endeavors.”
Other residents, though supportive of the owner and his business, expressed concerns about the second floor addition.
“The construction of a second floor would block our view, and when we look out our window, we will see this building,” said Lisa Mui, who lives on Newton Avenue. “It will block some of our sunlight, decrease the property value of our home, because quite honestly, what homebuyer wants to have a hotel in their backyard…We think it will pass, so we’re trying to mitigate the negative impact it will have on our home and property value.”
As a result, Mui asked for increased landscaping to be a part of the project so as to adequately block the view of the second floor.
Councilors will review all the information at a subsequent meeting.
Councilor Brian Palmucci also asked for a log of police calls to the site over the years, reports from the city inspector and health department, an updated memo for the peer review, and franchise regulations for Howard Johnson’s.
The public hearing part of the process was closed Monday night, though councilors assured audience members that the process will remain transparent going forward.