Waltham Residents Angry With Work At Polaroid Site

Also, developers named a new tenant for the site.

Abutters of the planned retail complex at the former Polaroid site loudly denounced the project during a Jan. 24 public meeting saying blasting at the site was causing damage to their homes.

Blasting company officials, however, said they are operating within the laws.

The brouhaha emerged during a Thursday, Jan. 24 meeting with project officials for the complex, currently known as 1265 Main St. The project will span 280,000 square feet with 100,000 square feet of office space. Construction at the site is slated to begin in May or June, according to J & Co. Project Manager Rick Vallarelli. Developers previously said they expect phase one of the build out, including the planned Market Basket, will partially open by the end of 2013.

As with many large projects, however, timelines for completion can change.

To date, have been announced as tenants for the site. 


  • Several project abutters angrily complained about recent rock blasting at the site, with one man claiming a blast had knocked a part of his ceiling to the floor, nearly hitting him. He said project officials are not giving him enough advance notice before blasts and that they were interrupting his lunch.
  • “You are driving me crazy. You’re killing me here. Stop it already,” the man said without identifying himself. He also claimed the blasting company, Maine Drilling & Blasting, had not been following blasting regulations.
  • Several other residents mentioned they had spotted cracks or other damage in their homes. 
  • A Maine Drilling & Blasting official told the audience the company had monitors at the site that they had not cited the project for violating blasting rules. The representative offered to settle disputes and potential damages with abutters individually.
  • Blasting methods could be altered to shorten the length of the explosions but that would mean more blasting overall, the MDB official explained.
  • Most of the blasting at the site should be done within six weeks, according to the MDB representative.
  • Another project abutter, Jennifer Patton, demanded the developers establish a mitigation fund to cover the costs of any damage caused by construction. She mentioned her office nearby has dirty water and that she was worried about the foundation in her home. Project officials offered to meet with her individually. 

UPDATES (Sources: Project engineer Jim Lamp of J & Co., Rick Vallarelli, J & Co. project manager, Kevin Dandrade, traffic engineer, TEC.)

  • A Verizon store will be coming to the store, but project officials offered no other details on it.
  • Site work update: Workers are currently completing site work for the Market Basket after spending months moving electrical transmission lines. 
  • Traffic plans: This spring, developers will begin work to widen Main Street (Route 20) in the area surrounding the site. They also plan to install new traffic signals and upgrade the current ones at Bear Hill Road and Stow Street. Pedestrian and sidewalk upgrades will also be done.
  • Traffic plans: Work to alter the two on/off ramps on Route 128 will include widening the northbound off-ramp to better push traffic onto Main Street. On the southbound side, changes will include widening the ramp to slow traffic before they get on the ramp.
  • The one former Polaroid building still standing could serve as an office building at the site, but no tenant has yet been signed.
  • Project officials showed renderings of what the site could look like when it’s completed. They showed a "town green" park along with outdoor seating for the restaurants.
Robin * I Love Waltham* January 25, 2013 at 02:17 PM
Hello, Thank you for being at the meeting. The Local Unions were represented and also spoke. Why was that not mentioned in the story?
charliemingus January 25, 2013 at 02:23 PM
My sincere condolences to the homeowners that lives have been disrupted over this project. The developers most certainly should establish a fund to compensate for any destruction of private property that occurs. However, once completed, the complex will be a boon to Waltham residents and fill a much needed void.
andipandi January 25, 2013 at 04:15 PM
A mitigation fund will be a magnet for scammers. How do you prove the crack in the wall wasn't there before blasting, or that the ceiling wasn't in bad shape already? Ryan, unlike print, the internet does not have limited space. A line or two about union concerns would have fit fine. Also, typo: Consturction
Ryan Grannan-Doll (Editor) January 25, 2013 at 04:19 PM
Hi Robin, Thanks for reading Waltham Patch. They are not mentioned in the story because it was a small sub-chapter of a much larger story that was too long to cover in this post.
walthamallmylife January 25, 2013 at 07:02 PM
main st is not rt.20 at that site,117
Jen P January 25, 2013 at 07:16 PM
This is a problem the developers themselves created. They should have announced when the blasting was going to start, offered to take pics of abutters foundations and then came back to evaluate once blasting and construction was complete. That's what happened when the Plympton School was rebuilt. By default a mitigation fund should have been started and even administrated by a 3rd party.
Barbara Brown January 25, 2013 at 09:36 PM
Jen P is correct. when the widening of Route 3 was going on, that company went to all abutters to take pictures of all properties commercial and private homes and then has monitors placed within the blast zone during blasting. I talk to one of the crew and he told me it was state law to have a fund for any damage caused by blasting. What happened here?
SCOWE DAVIDC January 25, 2013 at 10:26 PM
There is a fund. They have to have one. They also have insurance to cover damages associated with work performed. I'll bet the reason they want to meet with everyone individually is just for that purpose. You file a claim and an adjuster comes out and inspects the damage. You get an estimate, and a check is written. They can tell if the ceiling fell in because of blasting or because there was water damage from 5 years ago or how long that crack actually has been in the foundation. Its just like every other claim. It also gives them a record of who they pay and for what. I feel sorry for the people with actual damage. andi's right, your claims are going to be delayed until everyone gets checked out and theres going to be a lot of people trying to make a quik buck now that the story's out.
ij4239 January 26, 2013 at 03:48 AM
stop looking for free money!!!
Walthamguy January 26, 2013 at 04:52 AM
Hmm, "The brouhaha..."??? Was this article intended as "news reporting" or an "editorial opinion"?
Robert Norwood January 26, 2013 at 03:56 PM
I like the blasting company's response "we are operating within the law". So were the owners of Titanic.
Steven Cavaretta January 26, 2013 at 08:00 PM
Here we go again. Ryan does a great job and everybody plays critic. If you don't like the reporting ask the Patch to let you have your own personal Patch Blog and write about whatever you like then we can criticize the spelling and wording.
NonnyMus January 27, 2013 at 01:40 AM
Inspectors can usually tell if a crack is new or old. Same for water damage. The more likely reason they want to meet with people individually is the ol' divide-and-conquer routine. People together have much more clout than individuals do separately.
NonnyMus January 27, 2013 at 01:42 AM
Hey Steven Cavaretta, asking questions isn't the same as 'playing critic'! So far, you're the only critic on the thread, so kudos to you for a masterful job of psychological projection!
NonnyMus January 27, 2013 at 01:43 AM
Insurance adjusters can tell if a crack or other damage is new or old. I agree with you about the union concerns, though. Will there be a more extensive article about that issue, Ryan?
Kathy D'Agostino January 28, 2013 at 09:12 PM
Will there be additional ramps to route 128 closer to the Polaroid site or does the reference to a ramp above (under TRAFFIC PLANS) refer to the route 128 ramps at exit 26, route 20?
S.H. January 30, 2013 at 06:28 PM
If they don't build a new ramp. . I WILL be moving from Stow Street. I've had enough.
Breezer January 30, 2013 at 09:17 PM
Better start packing, S.H. I was at the meeting. No new ramps are planned for Phase One. Stow Street will experience an increase in traffic.


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