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Dorchester’s Bayside Center site could host up to 3 million square feet of development

Developer planning nearly equal parts residential and commercial space near the JFK/UMass T stop

Construction equipment demolishing an old mall site. Boston Globe via Getty Images

The 20-acre site of the old Bayside Expo Center near the JFK/UMass Red Line stop in Dorchester could eventually host more than 3 million square feet of housing, retail, offices, and parks.

That is after the University of Massachusetts agreed in mid-February to lease the site to developer Accordia Partners for $235 million, including $192 million as soon as the proposed project receives state and city approvals.

The 99-year lease caps months of speculation about what would become of one of the choicest development sites in the Boston region, and it was not without controversy. Some worry that a major development there will drive up not only traffic but prices and rents in nearby enclaves of Dorchester and South Boston.

Others, though, see a much-needed windfall in the deal for a UMass that could really use the money for infrastructure upkeep and other projects.

As for Accordia’s plans, all reports indicate that things are still in motion, though the developer intends to build roughly the same proportion of housing as commercial space, and wants to include parkland in any project to better connect different parts of Dorchester.

The project would also be built with rising seal levels in mind and would include tens of millions in off-site transportation improvements. Things could take 10 years total to build out, after the necessary approvals. Stay tuned.