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It’s official: Quincy’s massive downtown project is kaput

OK, normally we wouldn’t write so much about Quincy.

But this is big: The developer of Quincy’s massive downtown redevelopment project is pulling out.

That, in turn, is forcing the city to completely reassess how to go about finishing the project. They’re talking of breaking it up into more manageable sections.

Well, that’s a first logical step. The huge “magic wand” approach to any type of project — including construction — usually doesn’t work. They should have known this from the start. But at least they’re learning.

But here’s a more refined suggestion: Pick one or two projects within the overall project and focus on them first. It’s how they’re doing it in Seaport. It’s how they’re doing it in Kendall Square and Somerville.

The entire Quincy project reminds us of the old, government-driven West End and Scollay Square approaches toward development: big, ambitious, disruptive and … doomed.

Just because city officials can envision a new future on a blackboard or Power Point presentation doesn’t mean it can or should be done — and be done better than what’s already there. See photo above of Scollay Square. God, can you imagine how cool that neighborhood would look today if they had just tweaked it, instead of taking a wrecking ball to it?

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