‘Pretty’ big box not what they expected, city officials unhappy

The Saint ReportPlanning and Zoning, Property Development, Retail, saintblogLeave a Comment


Photo: The Patriot Ledger

By Stephen Shepherd
The Saint Consulting Group

Developers often tell local officials their community won’t get the usual (ugly and cheap-looking) version of a chain store’s standard big box. If you grant us permission to build, the pitch goes, your town will get a specially designed store, customized to match your very special community.

Most of the time, “customization” involves little more than color changes or cosmetic doodads to break up the long, bland façades. Opponents are never impressed by the blue sky and lush shrubbery in the slick renderings of the proposed store, but local officials will say they at least won some improvement from the chain’s prototype box — even if it is of the ‘lipstick on a pig’ variety.

In Quincy, Massachusetts, people are complaining they didn’t even get the promised lipstick.

The top rendering above shows what Quincy officials say they were promised when they approved a new BJ’s Wholesale Club. The photo below it — from The Patriot Ledger newspaper’s website — shows the nearly completed store.

“That building does not look like what was presented to us,” City Councilor John Keenan told the newspaper. “We were told that this building was going to be different from the other BJ’s, that it would be sensitive to the fact that it is at the entrance of the South Shore’s premiere office park.”

A partner in the firm that built the building said he and his team “haven’t violated any requirements by the city of Quincy.”

“It’s unfortunate that people can’t appreciate how pretty that building is,” Michael DiGuiseppe, a partner in QBJ Land Development LLC of Beverly, told The Patriot Ledger. “It blends nicely into the community. We went through extensive design efforts to make sure it does. We’re very proud of the building, it’s a very handsome building.”


Asked if the company built to the rendering, he said: “The rendering is just that, it’s a rendering. It was completed very early on in the conceptual stage.”

In other words, the city should have put it in writing.

Link: The Patriot Ledger story

Stephen Shepherd is vice president for communications of The Saint Consulting Group, email shepherd@tscg.biz phone 781 749 7920, ext 7121

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