Patricia Simboli, president of ACS Development Corpotation, hosted a tour of the city and reception for students and faculty from the Boston College Carroll School of Management and the Joseph E. Corcoran Center for Real Estate and Urban Action last Friday.
Simboli said the inspiration for arranging a visit by students from one of the elite colleges in the country was her meeting with a professor, Edward Chazen, senior lecturer in real estate at the Carroll School of Management.
Simboli also has a distinct connection to Boston College, which is located in Chestnut Hill. Her father, ACS Development founder Anthony Simboli, is a “Double Eagle” at BC, graduating with both a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and master’s degree in philosophy in 1950.
Last Friday Patricia Simboli and the students, accompanied by Deputy City Manager Ned Keefe, took a bus tour of the city highlighting such areas as Admiral’s Hill, the Chelsea waterfront district, Parkside Commons, and the Everett Avenue urban renewal area, including the MITC, the transformation of the Mystic Mall anchored by Market Basket, and the new hotels.
Another major site that was showcased was the FBI Boston headquarters, a project that was developed by ACS and underlines the Simboli family’s incredible vision for the area.
“We also highlighted what is happening in the city and how does everything fit together: the offices, the industrial, the residential components of Chelsea,” said Simboli.
At a reception and presentation at the Residence Inn by Marriott, Simboli talked about developments following the Second Great Chelsea Fire of 1973 that destroyed 18 acres of the city. One of the region’s most accomplished real estate executives, Simboli brilliantly complemented her presentation by showing photos of the city then and now, depicting an amazing contrast of a city that has sprung from the ashes to become a center of business and development.
The enlightened students engaged in a question-and-answer session with City Manager Thomas Ambrosino, Councillor-at-Large Leo Robinson, and Ms. Simboli.
One BC student asked, “What does it take to be a successful developer and win these contracts?”
“I have no idea what it means to be a successful developer – so I’ll leave that to Patricia,” said Ambrosino.
“I think of myself and our firm, and developers in general, more like producers of a movie,” said Simboli. “We’re not the actor. We don’t create the costumes. We don’t make the sets. We don’t write the story. But we bring all these people together. I’m not an expert in engineering, architecture, soil conditions, building constructional materials, or even zoning laws, but you have to have a mind that will push all that stuff together and be able to push all the pieces together. You have to be a collaborator and a visionary.”
Simboli praised her father as such “a visionary.”
“My father came to Chelsea because he saw its proximity to Boston, the airport, and the waterfront area and he met great people like Leo Robinson and the city councillors at the time,” said Simboli. “He had a vision for it and it took a long time for the vision to come to fruition.”
Anthony Simboli, a great role model for the BC students, delivered the final, inspirational message on what was a memorable and informative event for the Maroon and Gold delegation.
“The three words to remember are BC: ‘Ever to Excel’ – just keep that in mind,” said Mr. Simboli. “As a graduate you will realize what Boston College has done for you. It will give you a lot of support, more importantly it will give you confidence. Don’t underestimate yourself. Listen and go with your gut. Be honest about what you do and still be able to shake hands and when you do that, people say, ‘we shook hands on it,’ and that’s it. That’s the best advice I think I can give you.”