Has Quincy Center arrived at last? It’s sure starting to feel that way. The long-awaited revival of the Downtown of the South Shore finally hit its stride in 2016 with a redo of Hancock Street, the debut of several hip new restaurants, and the construction of a snazzy apartment complex that would fit comfortably in Southie or Somerville, complete with boutique gym on the ground floor.
It all comes after nearly a decade of fits and starts on a $1.6 billion plan covering 50 acres in the state’s eighth-largest city. When that cratered, Mayor Thomas Koch took a small-ball approach, launching nitty-gritty street improvements and finding builders for a bunch of sites. Now those efforts are starting to bloom.
Along with West of Chestnut, a 169-unit apartment complex that’s almost full despite near-Boston rents, there are 56 luxury condos under construction nearby and, in all, about 500 apartments and condos in the works. Another developer is eyeing as much as 1 million square feet of new office and commercial space. And Koch is planning a $16 million plaza — a “town square for Quincy Center” — on what used to be Hancock Street in front of City Hall. After that: a big development at the Quincy Center Red Line station and, potentially, East of Chestnut, which would turn a surface parking lot into more Southie-style apartments.
If all that comes to pass, Quincy Center could be changed completely. At last.