Redevelopment Plan for Quincy St.; Financial District Welcomes Gemvara

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor A plan put together by the Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corp. and some local development organizations aims to revitalize the Quincy Street neighborhood over the next two or three years. The corridor between Blue Hill Avenue [...]

A plan put together by the Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corp. and some local development organizations aims to revitalize the Quincy Street neighborhood over the next two or three years. The corridor between Blue Hill Avenue and Columbia Road, now a stark area facing gang problems and prostitution, will get a dramatic facelift: A two-acre vacant site will soon house a small business center, a 25,000-square-foot culinary arts job training and placement center. In addition, 48 new housing units will be built and 81 will be renovated, along with preservation of another 88 units, all part of a project known as Quincy Heights.

Dorchester Bay signed an agreement with the New England Center for Arts and Technology in April 2010 to build the training and placement center. The $10 million center at 259 Quincy St. is scheduled to open next year and is expected to help graduate and place 50 adults annually after a 10-month job training program. The center will also provide art programs such as digital media to more than 100 young people weekly.

The site is near the former Pearl Meat Packing plant at 196 Quincy St., which was bought by Dorchester Bay for $1 million in February 2010 and will be refurbished at an $8 million cost for use as a center for food processing and other businesses. In a recent interview for The Dorchester Reporter, Robert Weiss, project manager at Dorchester Bay, said that the businesses will have access to office support, copy machines and printers within the building, and will receive help with accounting and securing contracts.

Elsewhere, Gemvara Inc., a Lexington-based online retailer specializing in high-end customizable jewelry, is ready to move into Boston’s financial district in early June. The company has recently signed a lease contract for 15,000 square feet of space on the eighth floor of One Financial Center, across from South Station. In a recent press release, Matt Lauzon, founder & CEO of Gemvara, said the Boston relocation is a milestone that marks the company’s growth over the past year and a half. He added that One Financial Center was chosen for its accessibility from around the city and its various commuter options.