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Plan emerges to rehab building from Quincy’s granite era

Donald Hodgdon, director of the museum that once occupied the Incline Compressor Building, reviewed damage done by vandals to the vacant building last fall.

Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff/File

Donald Hodgdon, director of the museum that once occupied the Incline Compressor Building, reviewed damage done by vandals to the vacant building last fall.

A proposal for a zip line facility in Quincy’s historic quarries could soon include the renovation of a dilapidated historic building.

Since June, brothers Al and Walter Endriunas, owners of Quarry Canopy Tours Inc., have been trying to build such a facility, which would allow people to ride down a cable suspended over the Quincy quarries.

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The company has already received the go-ahead from the City Council to lease quarry land for that purpose.

However, the company still needs an OK from the state Department of Conservation and Recreation, which owns part of the land.

Discussions have been ongoing with numerous stakeholders in the project, including local climbing groups, the Granite Workers Museum, and Friends of the Blue Hills.

“It’s going forward, but slowly,” Al Endriunas said.

To win city approval, the project has promised to dedicate $50,000, or five percent of gross revenues, from the recreational program; give 24 hours of volunteer service a year to improve the Quincy portion of the Blue Hills, and dedicate 50 hours a year for whatever project the Quincy Parks and Recreation Department chooses.

Now, Al Endriunas hopes to sweeten the deal by raising the prospect of renovating and using the Incline Compressor Building on Mullin Street.

The building’s history goes back to the height of Quincy’s granite operation in the 1920s, but by 1942 the compressors were removed for the war effort, and operations came to a halt.

Since then the building’s ownership has continually shifted hands. It now sits in disrepair under the DCR’s ownership.

A recent story in The Boston Globe on the building caught Endriunas’s eye, and he contacted City Councilor Brian Palmucci, hoping to make some sort of arrangement for the building.

“I kind of had a knee-jerk reaction,’’ Endriunas said. “I saw the article, said it’s a shame it’s going in this direction. [We should] let someone know we have some interest.

“I know it has limited uses, given the fact that you have to access it through a residential neighborhood, but it seems something could happen there that could preserve the building,” Endriunas said.

According to Endriunas, preserving the building would go hand in hand with being good stewards of the property, and uses could range from making it the Granite Workers Museum to housing administration and storage facilities for the zip line tours.

The cost of any renovation isn’t known.

Palmucci said he sent a letter last week to the DCR, asking the agency to discuss its plans for property and offering to facilitate a solution.

“The ball will be in DCR’s court,” Palmucci said in a phone interview. “I’d be happy to broker some sort of arrangement whereby we make improvements to this site. . . . It’s unacceptable to just let it sit there and continue to deteriorate.”

According to DCR press secretary SJ Port, “We are absolutely open to a public-private or permitted partnership to rehabilitate the building and put it to good use. DCR is also in conversation with parties interested in offering recreational services in the quarries.”

But Port also noted that the issue is complicated by regulations governing the use of state land by for-profit businesses.

For Palmucci, the bottom line is that something needs to be done sooner rather than later.

“It’s a run-down building that isn’t aging well, and it’s not going to clean itself up, so unless we find a way to put resources towards improving it, nothing is going to change,” he said.

Jessica Bartlett can be reached at jessica.may.bartlett@gmail.com.

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