New Hotel Planned at Wonderland

April 25, 2013
By

A development team has proposed putting a 12-story, 200-room hotel – dubbed preliminarily as the Ballroom Hotel – on the current site of the Wonderland Ballroom.

Attorney Gerry D’Ambrosio said the proposal is in the very early stages, and the development team is still not being identified publicly.

Other sources indicated that the team was based out of Newton.

“It’s in the early stages right now, but they’re making a lot of progress,” said D’Ambrosio. “The potential is for a 12-story structure just a little under 200 rooms with an attached garage. The attached garage is about seven floors. It’s definitely early on and the renditions speak to the potential of the site…They’re putting their money where their mouth is. They’re spending a lot of money to do the plans and to bring this all to fruition. If a casino comes in, that makes it all the better.

“It really is the perfect location,” he continued. “It’s on the ocean. It’s right on a highway. There’s a T stop. Hopefully it will also service a local casino. There’s a lot of promise here.”

The current ballroom, in the plan, would be demolished.

D’Ambrosio said the City has been excellent to work with so far – especially given that the site falls within the Wonderland Transit Oriented Development zone, qualifying it for expedited zoning and permitting.

“It’s been great working with the Mayor’s Office,” he said. “Developers really love to hear that the community and the Mayor’s Office is willing to work with them. It’s always good when the community realizes where development potential is and is willing to accommodate it.”

Ward 5 Councillor John Powers said he had been apprised of the proposal and supports it 100 percent.

“I’ve always been supportive of hotels,” he said. “The traffic is intermittent. We don’t pick up their trash. They don’t have kids that will go to the schools. They provide construction jobs and, after construction, permanent jobs for local residents. Hotels are a win-win for the City. I’m 100 percent for it.”

Right now, D’Ambrosio said they are working with the MBTA to secure easements, as access to the hotel would require travelling over T property.

“The Wonderland Ballroom goes from lot line to lot line and some egresses involve going over T property,” he said. “ We’re in discussion on that now.”

He said they are now working on the architecture, engineering, traffic studies and parking requirements.

As for a new ballroom, he said it’s still too early to tell.

“I guess that’s still up in the air,” he said. “It really comes down to the final determinations and we’re not there yet.”

  • drensber

    Why not build it somewhere within the acres of exiting empty parking lots instead? I’d always hoped that the Wonderland Ballroom would carry on but start to host a wider variety of musical styles. There is already a severe lack of things to do in this area of town and losing this venue will make that even worse.

  • Italod

    I agree. Also, why is there vacant lot space still owned and left undeveloped along Revere Beach Boulevard, which has been that way since friends and I used to bikeride as kids from the Pines, back in the 1970s? That seems an awfully congested area to put in a hotel. Why do Boston, and the cities around it, build first and then “worry” about the resulting traffic backups and infrastructures disruption, later on?

  • http://elmercat.org/ Elmer

    Thanks to the Blue Line, the Wonderland area is an ideal place for a hotel, especially for visitors who don’t want the hassle of driving in the Boston area.

    But I also agree that it makes no sense to tear down the Wonderland Ballroom– the ONLY active business in the neighborhood –when there are so many vacant parcels crying out for development.

    The story is extremely vague, and The Journal often gets details wrong. If it were talking about tearing down the Wonderland Dog Track instead of the Wonderland Ballroom, that would make more sense. (Alas, this is Revere, so logic isn’t necessarily part of the equation.)

  • SethJournal

    Thanks for the vote of confidence Elmer. Frequently is a little strong of a word there, in my opinion. But the facts are that the story is vague because details are still very vague. Usually, a story like this wouldn’t get out until later in the process, but we heard about and let you know. The owners are still working out the details. This is, in fact, the Ballroom site and is being developed by some owners of the Ballroom and unnamed partners. They are actually required to shut down the Ballroom venue and built on the parcel. That’s an agreement from several years ago, calling on them to develop the land when the pedestrian bridge/plaza is complete. The lots on the other side, by contract, must begin to be developed also. The entire area will be completely transformed in the next 10 years if plans continue. Who says we don’t know what we’re talking about? Stay tuned, you might learn something….

  • drensber

    Really? Why do all of the drawings of the “completed” Waterfront Square show the Ballroom remaining intact? Regardless of whatever backroom agreement was made by the dirty old men who run this city (and who usually seem to have the Journal in their back pocket), I agree that it’s completely crazy to tear down the only successfully operating business in the whole area when there are literally acres of lots in the area that are either empty or else contain a few decaying buildings.

    Why are the dirty old Italian men who run Revere (and presumably the dirty old people who keep them in power) always so hell-bent on tearing down the few remaining historic buildings in the town and replacing them with gaudy and/or bland new ones? It’s one of many reasons that the rest of the world thinks that Revere is so “tacky”.

  • drensber

    “The lots on the other side, by contract, must begin to be developed also.”

    What on earth does that mean? They aren’t going to be developed unless someone wants to spend the money to develop them.

  • SethJournal

    drensber, Waterfront Square actually has zero to do with the Ballroom property. Two different owners. Any drawings done for Waterfront Square are just assumptions about the Ballroom. The Ballroom has shaped up quite a bit, but when they made the agreement the business was Public Enemy #1. And by the way, you wanna talk “tacky,” take a close look at your lovely Ballroom. That lovely piece of stucco plays a key role in the ‘Revere Stinks’ argument as well.

  • SethJournal

    There is and has been a designated developer on those properties for nearly five years. Joe DiGangi of the Pines. He has a contract with the City and the state that clearly delineates a timeline for when he has to develop that land. So far, his company has only been coordinating the state projects. In just a little while, he HAS to develop the sites according to the Master Plan he has on file. If he does not, he will lose the ability to develop the site and a host of other developers (who are actually waiting in the wings to see if he’ll fail) will take the baton. DiGangi is already in this for quite a lot of money. There has been nearly a decade of groundwork going on there to get red tape cut.

  • http://elmercat.org/ Elmer

    My eagerness to know all the details left me a little disappointed with the original story, but please know that I’m a regular reader of The Journal and I appreciate any reporting you do about the Wonderland area. I never said you don’t know what you’re talking about, but I admit to being frustrated when there’s a lack of information.

    Your replies to Drensber and above filled in a few more missing pieces . Thank you for that! Knowing that the owners of the Ballroom are planning to build the hotel makes a big difference.

  • http://elmercat.org/ Elmer

    It’s not the most glamorous building in revere, but neither is it the most hideous. I’ve never been inside myself, though it’s obvious many other people enjoy the entertainment there. It’s a shame that the only bit of life in the neighborhood must close before anything new is built.

    BTW – Is there any update on your story from November 30th: “Bridge to Beach is Officially Open”? With the nice weather I’d expect the project to be bustling with activity to finish up and get the bridge “actually” open. Instead, all I see are one or two lonely workers doing a little painting; everything else seems to be stalled. Of course, all MBTA projects tend to play out like that, with some pieces never ever being finished properly, but I’m optimistically looking forward to using the new bridge. Is there any current projection of when it will be finished?

  • drensber

    I understand that they’re not technically related projects and I understand that the Ballroom has separate owners. I was just commenting that there’s something wrong with the overall situation when there is so much trashy looking empty looking space in the immediate area and the only property that’s evidently going for the right price is one that has a decent looking building that hosts a running business. There’s nothing wrong with stucco in a seaside environment (although it would look better with a ceramic shingled roof). I don’t think anyone who has aesthetic qualms with Revere minds these kinds of buildings. What they do find very tacky are these gaudy buildings placed right next to something resembling a toxic waste dump. The existing plans for the Suffolk Downs casino are case-in-point. I have a hard time believing that the ballroom was “public enemy #1″ in a town that is home to a dumpy looking dog track and The Squire.

  • drensber

    I’m very familiar with Mr. Digangi as I live in one of the buildings that his company built. I’m sure that he managed to turn a profit on that building (The Atlantica), as he managed to swindle a few people into paying ridiculously high prices, but in the 8 years since he built it, it has begun a transition into a low-cost rental building. It seems to be following the same trajectory that the Waters Edge towers did 20 years earlier. Part of this is due to some poor choices that Mr. Digangi made which make the building a maintenance nightmare. He also left the building with numerous liabilities, including artificially high insurance costs that are due to some damage that occurred as a result of his leaving one of the units that he owned empty. He has not accepted any responsibility for any of this as far as I know. It would be very hard to believe that people are lining up to buy much more expensive Waterfront Square “development opportunities” from him in this context in a city whose “leaders” have repeatedly made it clear that they don’t really want to be part of the “Greater Boston” area (and the money certainly isn’t going to be coming from Revere locals)!

  • Clifton Webb

    The joy of internet blogging.
    “He also left the building with numerous liabilities, including high insurance costs that are due to some damage that occurred as a result of his having left one of the units that he owned empty. He has not accepted any responsibility for any of this as far as I know. It would be very hard to believe that people are lining up to buy…”
    Ever hear of defamation there drensber?
    The level to which individuals will speak on subjects which we know little about is a curiosity.
    Why we hold others culpable for the poor decisions we make ourselves I will never know. But it speaks more towards the character of the one making the accusations than those which they are accusing.
    I enjoy reading the journal and one reason is Seth participates and elaborates on the comments which helps to further clarify the topic.

  • drensber

    Clifton: It isn’t defamation unless you say something that isn’t true. I am a member of the condo association that was involved, which is why I know the facts around the situation that I described. What makes you believe you are more qualified to comment on this?

  • drensber

    Think that no one reads the comments sections of newspaper articles other than the people who participate in them? Look at this:

    http://www.bostonhospitalityindustry.com/2013/05/hotel-planned-for-wonderland-ballroom.html

  • http://elmercat.org/ Elmer

    I see that now, a real estate company has plastered a huge “Available” sign on the building. I wonder how that fits in with this plan?

  • Atlantica

    If you are a member of the condo association you know the truth.
    You are writing something that is a LIE.
    I am a member of the Board and I know the facts.

  • Guest

    “I am a member of the Board and I know the facts.”

    Is that why you posted from an anonymous account?

  • drensber

    If you want to set the record straight, please do. I’m just going by what was discussed at the annual meetings.

  • drensber

    I would also avoid mentioning the condo building by name. Eurovest has been involved in many condo projects, and you don’t necessarily even know which one I’m talking about. The purpose of my post was not to air the dirty laundry of any particular condo association in a public forum, and if you are really a board member for one of the buildings that DiGangi or Eurovest developed, I’d think you’d not want to either.

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